AN UNBROKEN 90-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Karl Brown and Steven Croft blunted Worcestershire’s fightback and left Lancashire with a substantial advantage at the end of a sternly-contested second day of the LV= County Championship match at Blackpool.
Building on a useful first innings lead of 80, Lancashire reached the close on 167 for three, a lead of 247. Brown was unbeaten on 55 and first innings centurion Croft was on 39 not out.
The pair helped Lancashire recover after two Gareth Andrew strikes had reduced the home side to 77 for three early in the evening session.
Andrew had Paul Horton caught at slip for 35 and trapped Tom Smith lbw for just four to jeopardise Lancashire’s hopes of setting a big target in the fourth innings.
However, Croft and Brown both batted with polished ease in poor light, Brown reaching his half-century off 71 balls having hit seven fours.
In Worcestershire’s first innings Andrew made 61 and wicketkeeper Ben Scott a resilient 117-ball 65 not out as Daryl Mitchell’s side built on an overnight 77 for five to post a respectable 202.
Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple took four for 47 from 15 overs while Sajid Mahmood claimed three for 39 and Kyle Hogg two for 29.
In the first session Lancashire encountered stiff resistance as Worcestershire saved the follow-on and added 87 runs for the loss of three wickets.
The loss of Aneesh Kapil to Chapple’s fifth ball had been followed by a 67-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Andrew and Scott which saw the visitors pass the follow-on target.
Both batsmen were given lives, Andrew being reprieved on 28 when Croft grassed a difficult diving slip catch off Kyle Hogg.
Scott then skied Gary Keedy to deep mid-on 14 overs later, but Stephen Moore could not cling on to the testing chance.
Andrew eventually fell for an impressive 94-ball 61 when he sliced a drive to Croft in the gully, and Shaaiq Choudhry was caught for nine on the stroke of lunch when he edged a lifting Mahmood delivery to Horton.
Despite that last reverse, though, Worcestershire’s batsmen had done well to go into lunch on 164 for eight. Although Richard Jones played on to Mahmood for seven in the fifth over after lunch, Alan Richardson hung around for half an hour to add a further 24 runs for the last wicket.
Scott had another life when he inside-edged Smith wide of Cross but had hit six boundaries when Richardson guided Mahmood to Brown at backward point.