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Croft ton undermines Surrey riposte

Lancashire CCC

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A Steven Croft hundred helped Lancashire reach 425 for seven and maintain their grip on events in Guildford where Surrey remain under the cosh at the mid-point of the LV= County Championship Division One clash.

Croft, the 27-year-old batting all-rounder, hit the fifth century of his first-class career and was unbeaten on 104 from 167 balls when rain arrived at 3pm to force the players from the field.

The showers intensified, forcing umpires Peter Hartley and Neil Mallender to abandon play for the day soon after 4:30pm.

Having been twice dropped from half-chances on the first evening, Croft duly made the most of his good fortune by cracking a dozen boundaries in his second hundred of the season.

He went on to feature in a seventh-wicket stand worth 121 with his captain Glen Chapple that also put an abrupt end to Surrey’s resurgence in the match.

Steven Croft

Steven Croft underpinned a fine batting performance by Lancashire at Guildford, contributing 104 not out to a score of 425 for seven

The hosts hit back in the first session of day two by claiming three wickets inside 12 overs, though all three Lancashire batsmen were guilty of having a hand in their own demise.

Ashwell Prince started the rot with an ill-judged attempt at a lofted straight drive against Murali Kartik that ended up in the hands of Zander de Bruyn at deep midwicket and sent the left-hander packing for 34.

Tom Smith then called for a single to mid-off only to see the same fielder, de Bruyn, pick up and throw down the non-striker’s stumps and effect a spectacular run out.

The slide continued when Gareth Cross pulled half-heartedly at a Stuart Meaker bouncer only to pick out Zafar Ansari positioned at square-leg.

Surrey’s riposte ended then as Croft and Chapple went on the counter attack in a bright partnership that left Lancashire in the ascendancy again.

Chapple dealt with another Meaker bouncer by rocking back to dispatch the ball into the public seats for the first six of the game.

He and Croft posted a fifty stand in 61 balls and had taken their alliance past three figures when Chapple perished just four short of a deserved half-century.

Playing across the line to Jon Lewis, the Lancashire skipper went leg before after hitting seven fours to go with his maximum.

Croft would not be dislodged, however, and was still at the crease when the rain arrived to force an early tea for the second day running.

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