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White leaves promotion rivals poised

Australia international Cameron White struck an unbeaten half-century on an even first day of Northamptonshire's top-of-the-table LV= County Championship Division Two clash against Lancashire at Wantage Road.

The Red Rose failed to take a wicket in the morning session after winning the toss and putting the hosts in to bat but captain Glen Chapple's 3-60 led a strong fightback after lunch.

Northants eventually closed on 275 for seven, with White making 61 not out off 149 deliveries on his championship debut for the hosts. Opener James Middlebrook earlier added 57 off 112 balls.

Chapple’s decision to field - perhaps motivated by Lancashire's efforts in dismissing their opponents for 62 when the sides met at Emirates Old Trafford last month - appeared set to majorly backfire as Northamptonshire openers Kyle Coetzer and Middlebrook piled on 90 between them.

The duo carried their bats to lunch but Coetzer perished on 38 when his middle stump was sent tumbling by Kyle Hogg from the third delivery after the resumption.

Middlebrook went past 50 off 106 balls with a four struck through the covers off the in-form Lancashire seamer’s next over.

But Middlebrook threw his wicket away on 57 when he attempted to run a quick single off Hogg, only to be sent back by stand-in captain David Sales and run out by Luis Reece at point.

Lancashire continued to claw their way back when Chapple dismissed his opposite number for 18, Sales slashing to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross.

Cross almost claimed another victim when he just failed to gather a difficult low chance, diving to his right after White edged Chapple with five to his name.

But another wicket fell moments later as 18-year-old Ben Duckett walked on 29, a terrific swinging delivery from Chapple taking out his off stump.

Three balls later, the veteran struck again when Andrew Hall tamely chipped him to former Australia batsman Simon Katich at square-leg, reducing Northants to 159 for five.

England Lions spinner Simon Kerrigan then got in on the act in the eighth over after tea, Matthew Spriegel being sharply taken at short-leg by Andrea Agathangelou for 20.

David Willey soon followed as Karl Brown took a good low catch at first slip to give Wayne White his first wicket.

Northamptonshire wicketkeeper David Murphy was then dropped at first slip by Brown off Chapple on 19 before White completed a patient half-century off 125 balls.

He and Murphy were able to bat out the rest of the day, with the latter resuming tomorrow on 28.

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