Lancashire in command in Liverpool thanks to Liam Livingstone and Steven Croft

Liam Livingstone scored a century in Aigburth
Liam Livingstone scored a century in Aigburth
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Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone’s seventh first-class century put the Division Two leaders in a commanding position at the end of the first day of the Red Rose’s clash with Leicestershire at Liverpool.

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone’s seventh first-class century put the Division Two leaders in a commanding position at the end of the first day of the Red Rose’s clash with Leicestershire at Liverpool.

Lancashire closed on 347-7 on a day which was dominated by a sixth-wicket stand of 136 between Livingstone and Steven Croft as the hosts recovered from a poor first session which left them 102-4 at the lunch break.

Returning to Aigburth for the first time since 2014 and missing the services of the rested James Anderson, Lancashire struggled following an uncontested toss which saw them bat first and almost immediately lose opener Keaton Jennings, who was run out off the third ball of Muhammad Abbas’ first over, after short leg fielder Hassan Azad gathered a strong shot off Jennings’ hips and instantly threw down the stumps, with the batsman stranded outside his crease.

Haseeb Hameed and Jake Lehman began patiently rebuilding the innings, with Abbas and Chris Wright keeping things tight until South African Dieter Klein struck in his first over, bowling Lehman for 22 after he was deceived by a delivery that kept low.

Hameed had looked the part and had just struck Klein down the ground for a boundary when he became the South African’s second victim, edging behind to debutant keeper Harry Swindells for 30 to leave the score 55-3.

Rob Jones and Livingstone, who hit an all-run four, proceeded to add 29 more before Jones became Abbas’ first wicket when he also nicked off to Swindells for 11.

Runs were scored freely after the lunch interval, with Red Rose skipper Dane Villas taking the attack to the Leicestershire bowlers with a number of hefty blows through the off-side until the South African edged Muhammad Abbas behind to Swindells for 34.

Then came the fightback as Livingstone and Croft came together on 128-5 and proceeded to counter-attack to such an extent that the pair had put on 110 for the sixth wicket by the time the players departed for the tea interval.

Croft went into the break unbeaten on 40 but it was Livingstone who took the lead, eventually scoring 114 runs from 171 balls in an innings that included 14 fours and two sixes and one extraordinary shot off Klein – a forearm smash to an accidental beamer that bounced once before reaching the point boundary.

The 25-year-old all-rounder also reached the milestone of 2,500 first-class runs before he was dropped by Callum Parkinson off Colin Ackermann’s first delivery just before tea.

The carnage continued after the break until Livingstone holed out to Mark Cosgrove at mid-on off Neil Dexter.

Croft followed soon after for a painstaking 51 off 100 balls as Parkinson picked up his first wicket with a ball that spun back onto the stumps via the bat.

Another valuable partnership developed at the back end of the day, with Josh Bohannon (41no) and Tom Bailey (29no) putting on an unbeaten stand of 64 runs for the eighth wicket to leave Lancashire in complete control.

Livingstone said: “I’ve worked hard on trying to build my confidence back up for red ball cricket, and thankfully today I got in and found my rhythm and played nicely.”