County Championship: Steven Croft helps Lancashire stifle Hants spinners to draw

Lancashire captain Steven Croft
Lancashire captain Steven Croft made 100 runs in over six hours at the crease spread over two days
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Ageas Bowl
Hampshire 548-6 dec: Smith 210, Adams 88, McLaren 81*
Lancs 387: Petersen 98, Hameed 89, Croft 78; Dawson 3-63 & 102-3: Dawson 3-22
Hampshire (9 pts) drew with Lancashire (7 pts)

Lancashire were made to follow on by Hampshire on the final day of their Championship match at Southampton, but escaped to force a draw.

Division One bottom side Hampshire sensed possible victory when Lancashire slumped from their overnight 310-4 to be bowled out just after lunch for 387.

But, still trailing by 161, visiting skipper Steven Croft, who had hit 78, made a further 22 opening the batting.

Haseeb Hameed batted over three hours for an unbeaten 57 as Lancs made 102-3.

In only 11 Championship matches in his first full season, teenager Hameed has now gone past 50 eight times, to total 812 runs for the campaign, at 47.76.

Slow left-armer Liam Dawson (3-63) and leg spinner Mason Crane (3-87) had taken five of the final six Lancashire first-innings wickets to fall.

Dawson (3-22) then doubled his match haul on the wearing pitch, including captain Croft, to end his 70-ball resistance second time around. But, despite getting Luke Procter and Alviro Petersen cheaply, there were no further Lancashire alarms.

Hampshire are now four points adrift at the foot of the table, while Lancashire, in sixth, are 29 points clear of safety with five matches left, and are now 23 points off top spot.

Lancashire now face the Roses match against Yorkshire, starting at Old Trafford next Saturday (13 August), while Hampshire are back in action the same day with a trip to Trent Bridge to meet eighth-placed Nottinghamshire.

Hampshire stand-in skipper Will Smith told BBC Radio Solent:

"I don't think we could do any more. In terms of the effort and desire to win that was all we could ask. We probably created enough chances but we have fielded for 210 overs in a row.

"Liam Dawson and Mason Crane bowled nearly 100 overs between them and they did particularly well. At times, the pitch appeared docile but all of a sudden it would come to life.

"Every game is important now. We have to approach the next five with a winning mentality. If we can come out with two wins we can climb the table. If we continue like this we are confident things will start going our way."

Lancashire director of cricket Ashley Giles told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"We are disappointed to only come out with seven points but drawing was the most important thing, particularly against Hampshire. We wanted to win but we were on the wrong end of the toss.

"The conditions on the last day were a bit more challenging. The ball started to spin and bite so we knew it would be challenging.

"All our focus was getting over the follow-on target. We didn't, but we were fine. We could have been more ruthless to get there but that is my only complaint from the four days."