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Lancashire produce champion fightback

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Simon Kerrigan

Three late wickets from left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan allowed Lancashire to move into a promising position against MCC in Abu Dhabi

Lancashire produced an outstanding fightback on day two of the Champion County match against MCC in Abu Dhabi.

After resuming on 38 for two in reply to MCC’s 266, the Red Rose lost wickets at regular intervals and were dismissed for just 199, captain Glen Chapple top-scoring with an unbeaten 42.

Experienced seamer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan returned figures of 3-31, while Lewis Gregory and spinners Ian Blackwell and Gareth Batty claimed two wickets apiece.

But two breakthroughs each from Sajid Mahmood and Tom Smith swayed the game back in Lancashire’s favour and England Lions spinner Simon Kerrigan then struck three times in seven balls as MCC slumped to 81 for eight. They will begin day three leading by 148.

After the day's play, Gregory said: “While we've probably not got as many runs as we'd have liked, it’s not an easy wicket to bat on and we’re still in a decent position despite the late wickets.

"If we can dig in to get to a lead of 200 tomorrow then we should back ourselves to defend that lead.”

The county champions lost nightwatchman Gary Keedy without adding a run this morning as he became Alan Richardson’s sole victim, but Karl Brown and Luke Procter added 44 for the fourth wicket.

Lancashire were soon struggling on 87 for five, though, as Brown was trapped in front by Rana for 39 and Steven Croft was bowled by Gregory.

Peter Moores’ side fell into further trouble when Procter and Smith were dismissed in the space of five balls.

But Chapple led from the front and was accompanied by Gareth Cross, the pair standing firm with a solid alliance of 54 in 19 overs.

However, Durham’s Blackwell, who struck a century yesterday, returned to remove Cross for 30, while Batty dismissed Mahmood, who struck two fours before falling to the third ball he faced.

Chapple hit a quartet of fours in his 84-ball innings, but was left stranded when Rana bowled Kerrigan for eight.

MCC were soon pegged back in their second innings as former England seamer Mahmood struck twice in the first six overs.

The 30-year-old pinned Gareth Rees lbw first ball and had captain Mark Ramprakash caught by Chapple to reduce MCC to 10 for two.

Gloucestershire’s New Zealand batsman Hamish Marshall showed signs of early-season form, striking five fours in his 41-ball 31 before being trapped in front by Chapple.

Mooen Ali scratched around in making two from 24 balls, before Smith bowled the Worcestershire all-rounder and removed dangerman Blackwell in consecutive overs.

Kerrigan then ensured Lancashire finished the day on a real high, the Preston-born 22-year-old having Niall O’Brien and Batty caught by Smith either side of ousting Stephen Peters, who faced 90 balls for 28.

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