Dazzling Davies leads Lancashire fightback at Northamptonshire

Alex Davies made up for lost time with a precious century for Lancashire at Wantage Road
Alex Davies made up for lost time with a precious century for Lancashire at Wantage Road
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Alex Davies made his first century of the season to provide some much-needed resistance for Lancashire on the second afternoon at Wantage Road. Davies’ 124 not out glued together the visitors’ reply to Northamptonshire’s 442 as they closed day two 211-4.

Alex Davies made his first century of the season to provide some much-needed resistance for Lancashire on the second afternoon at Wantage Road. Davies’ 124 not out glued together the visitors’ reply to Northamptonshire’s 442 as they closed day two 211-4.

Davies’ season has been badly interrupted by a finger injury picked up while keeping wicket in the opening match at Middlesex.

This is his fifth match of the summer but he immediately looked in good touch went on to make a fifth first-class hundred.

It was a vital innings, with Lancashire forced to battle back after conceding by far their highest total of the summer.

That pressure only increased when the Red Rose slipped to 2-2 in the fifth over, but Davies found his touch with a smart cover drive against Brett Hutton and then tucked into some loose bowling from Nathan Buck, scoring 10 fours as he passed 50 in only 59 deliveries.

Luke Procter regained control against his old county and created a sharp chance from Davies, on 70, who miscued a straight drive back to the bowler but the ball went through his hands above his head.

After tea, Davies was quick to capitalise on anything slightly wide from Rob Keogh’s off-spin and it was a cut stroke against Keogh that brought his century and 17th boundary in 151 balls.

For much of the afternoon, Davies had Rob Jones for company. Jones never settled as well, played and missed regularly and was also dropped, on 27, gloving a hook against Procter that Adam Rossington couldn’t gather leaping behind the wicket.

Jones did not want Keogh to settle at the start of his spell, but in the off-spinner’s second over he advanced down the wicket and dragged a lofted drive to mid-on, where Procter dived to his right to take a fine catch. It ended a stand of 127 for the third wicket.

Josh Bohannon edged Keogh to first slip soon after as Lancashire slipped to 131-4 but Steven Croft calmly steered his side to the close, unbeaten on 38 in a stand of 80 for the fifth wicket with Davies.

Lancashire were plunged into deep trouble at the start of their reply, losing two wickets in the opening five overs. Keaton Jennings edged Ben Sanderson to second slip for a nine-ball duck before Haseeb Hameed fell for an eight-ball nought, dragging Sanderson into his leg stump.

It continued an excellent opening period for the home side, who took their overnight 334-5 to 442, despite slipping to 352-8, with Procter making 48 not out as Lancashire missed out on maximum bowling points for the first time in 2019.

Davies said: “I’ve obviously missed quite a bit of the season, so to come back and get a few on the board is nice. Losing those early wickets focused me a bit more and made my role even more important.

“I’ve maybe tried a little too hard over the last few games, having missed so much cricket. Going into this game I knew I was playing well and just needed to relax a bit. I always love batting with Crofty.

“We’re behind the game, which we haven’t been this season, so it’s a test of what we’re made of from here.”