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Lancashire beat defiant Hampshire

Lancashire's bowlers were made to fight on the final day of the LV= County Championship clash with Hampshire at Southport but the Division Two leaders eventually completed , 90 minutes into the afternoon session.

Simon Kerrigan took two of the day's three wickets to extend Lancashire's lead over Northamptonshire at the top of the table to 33 points and reinforce their position as hot favourites to win the title in September.

However, the fourth day of the game will be remembered for the 191-run eighth-wicket stand between Adam Wheater - who made 140 - and loan signing and Matt Coles, who contributed 68 to a partnership which frustrated Lancashire's expected stroll to victory.

The partnership established a new eighth-wicket record for matches between Hampshire and Lancashire and it also put the efforts of the visitors' established batsmen yesterday afternoon in a far from favourable light.

The duo added 145 runs in 38 overs during the morning session and were scarcely troubled by the six-man Lancashire attack.

Wheater reached his first championship hundred for his new side in 182 balls while Coles got to 50 off 101 deliveries immediately afterwards.

Steven Croft, who was skippering Lancashire in the absence of the injured Glen Chapple, opted to take the new ball as soon as it became available but his seamers enjoyed as little success as his spinners had.

Indeed, Lancashire had to wait until nearly an hour into the afternoon session for their first breakthrough, Wheater edging Kerrigan to Gareth Cross behind the stumps. The former Essex wicketkeeper-batsman had faced 232 balls and hit 22 fours and a six.

Two balls later Coles' cross-batted swipe at Luis Reece's medium pace resulted in the loss of his middle stump but even that dismissal did not end the entertainment for the Southport crowd.

James Tomlinson and 16-year-old debutant Brad Taylor added 53 for the last wicket in just seven overs before Taylor was stumped by Cross off Kerrigan for 20.

Tomlinson was left unbeaten on 30 and Kerrigan finished with 4-79 in the second innings and seven wickets in the match.