Lancashire looking for last-day heroics


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The Independent Online

Lancashire have had to pick themselves off the floor more than once this season. And they did it again yesterday, at Liverpool, to put themselves back in the hunt for a potentially vital victory over equally determined Hampshire.

Sean Ervine's first century of a disappointing summer scuppered the hosts' hopes of a decent first-innings lead. Indeed, by the time he was last out, for 128, Hampshire were only seven behind and hoping once more for the win that would allow them to retain realistic hopes of avoiding the drop.

Lancashire, though, set about re-establishing control – and with openers Paul Horton and Stephen Moore putting on 168, they can make an attacking declaration today.

Yorkshire, meanwhile, are just about down and out. Their failure to secure a batting point after being dismissed for 195 at Headingley, by Somerset, means that even a victory today, in their final match, would leave them needing help of miracle proportions next week to avoid relegation.

Middlesex are still sitting pretty at the top of division two. But the second promotion place might not be decided until the final ball of the season.

Surrey will close the gap on long-time leaders Northants to a single point if they knock over Essex at Chelmsford today while Gloucestershire can close to within catching distance provided they show Leicestershire no mercy, having already made the wooden spoonists follow on at Bristol.

Strange goings-on at Pallekele, meanwhile, where an unbroken century stand between Shaun Marsh and Mike Hussey so flummoxed Sri Lanka that former Test keeper Kumar Sangakkara – who has a career haul of one first-class wicket – was thrown the second new ball. It didn't work.