Smith and Cross repel Hampshire

Lv County Championship

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Gareth Cross

Gareth Cross, above, followed Tom Smith to three figures as Lancashire staved off the threat of a first defeat, to Hampshire

Tom Smith and Gareth Cross hit centuries as Lancashire preserved their unbeaten record in the LV= County Championship courtesy of a draw with Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.

Each recorded their highest scores along the way as an easy-paced wicket undid Hampshire's valiant attempts to force a victory.

Lancashire began the final day in a precarious position, only 20 ahead at 106 for one in their second innings.

The surface that had posed so many problems on the first day, when the visitors chose to bat, had flattened out and Lancashire made the best of it to stave off the threat of defeat.

When Glen Chapple declared, Lancashire had batted through the day to reach 351 for six from 127 overs - a lead of 265. Smith made 128, and Cross was unbeaten on 100 when the declaration came.

Opening batsman Smith, whose previous first-class best was 108 not out, was the mainstay of the Lancashire resistance, batting for six hours and 41 minutes over two days to blunt the Hampshire attack. His innings occupied 306 balls and included 14 fours and two sixes.

Smith and Mark Chilton, the overnight batsmen, extended their second-wicket stand to 134 before Chilton fell for 47, caught behind off David Balcombe.

First-innings centurion Shivnarine Chanderpaul made only 11; he was caught at slip by Michael Lumb off left-arm spinner Danny Briggs, the same combination that accounted for Steven Croft.

Smith finally departed in the 105th over, skying a sweep off Briggs to Jimmy Adams at midwicket.

Hampshire captain Dominic Cork, a former Lancashire player, called part-time bowler Michael Carberry into the attack in a desperate attempt for further wickets, and he responded by dismissing Luke Sutton.

Cross served as an aggressive contrast to Smith, reaching his century off 134 balls and hitting 16 fours along the way.

Cross, a wicketkeeper playing as a specialist batsman, had a previous best of 70, and was quickly past that landmark as Hampshire wilted.

Briggs was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers, getting through 47 overs to finish with 3-142, but the rest of the attack was blunted by the conditions and Lancashire’s determined batting.

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