Dane Vilas backed up his 74 in the first innings with 92 to put Lancashire close to victory against Essex in their season opener.
It’s been a prolific start to Vilas’ career in England. He scored 58 and 42 not out in the warm-up game against Cambridge University last week, before top-scoring with 74 in the first innings.
Young wicketkeeper Alex Davies stole the show with 140 in the second innings, but it was his 183-run stand with Vilas, who fell eight runs short of a century, that got them to 317-3 dec. Lancashire, boasting Ryan McLaren in their ranks too, set Essex a near-impossible 478 runs to win. Essex will go in to day four on 89-2. Some rear-guard action from Simon Harmer might be required at some point in the day.
Perennial powerhouses Yorkshire meanwhile have lost their opening game against Hampshire by four wickets, after Kyle Abbott‘s 7-41 blew them away on day two.
Abbott earned Man of the Match plaudits by opening his County account with match figures of 9-105. Teammate Rilee Rossouw might not have had quite the impact he would have hoped for in the first innings with 23, but his 47 in the second innings proved vital to the cause.
Hampshire were set 320 for victory after Zimbabwean-born Gary Balance scored 175 runs in the match for Yorkshire, and Rossouw’s score was only bettered by experienced campaigner Jimmy Adams, who scored 72. Lewis McManus (30) and 36-year-old Capetonian Gareth Berg (33) managed to peel off the remaining runs.
Photo: PA Photos/Cricinfo