County Championship: Lancs on top at Cheltenham after Miles Hammond finds top form

Miles Hammond had not previously gone past 36 in five Championship innings this season
Miles Hammond had not previously gone past 36 in five Championship innings this season
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, College Ground, Cheltenham (day one):
Gloucestershire 205: Hammond 82, Taylor 42; Mahmood 4-48, Livingstone 2-23, Anderson 2-25
Lancashire 47-2: Jennings 26*
Lancashire (3 pts) trail Gloucestershire (1 pt) by 158 runs

Gloucestershire opener Miles Hammond hit a season's best 82 at Cheltenham College, but Lancashire pacemen Saqib Mahmood and James Anderson dominated.

After a competition-best 28 wickets in the One-Day Cup, Mahmood came in to take 4-48 on his first Championship start of 2019, supported by Anderson, who claimed 2-25 and a run-out.

Spinner Liam Livingstone weighed in with two wickets as the hosts made 205.

England's Keaton Jennings then made an unbeaten 26 as Lancs closed on 47-2.

After England Lions seamer Mahmood - in for the rested Graham Onions - claimed the first three wickets of the innings, Livingstone ended a dangerous 84-run stand between Jack Taylor (42) and Hammond.

After finding Taylor's edge, he bowled Ryan Higgins first ball before Graeme van Buuren drove the hat-trick ball to the cover boundary.

Having opened with a tidy four-over spell for the Division Two leaders, England star Anderson came back before lunch for a further eight overs, again unrewarded.

He then did not return until after tea and, with his fifth ball, he bowled Hammond, to start a collapse, adding another as the last four wickets went down for 16 runs.

By the time bad light brought an early close, to lop three overs off the day, Lancashire had lost discarded England opener Haseeb Hameed to a run-out and Jake Lehmann, bowled by left-armer David Payne in an eight-over opening spell which conceded just four runs.

Gloucestershire opener Miles Hammond:

"It's always nice to do well here as I was born only just down the road. I loved the battle with Jimmy Anderson, who is ridiculously skilful with the ball and makes it such a test.

"It's a good pitch, not much different to the ones we usually play on at the Festival. This is always a fast-scoring ground where you get full reward for your shots.

"Both teams have bowled well. David Payne was excellent for us in the final session and having them two down should make it interesting."

Lancashire paceman Saqib Mahmood told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"We have five really good seamers, which enables us to rotate and guard against tiredness. That makes it important to take opportunities and I was relieved to get my first wicket.

"The other guys had bowled well and there were a lot of half-chances. There wasn't a lot of movement in the air or off the seam so I just concentrated on running it across the left-handers.

"The quality of our bowling this season has been immense and when I get the chance I just try to match the other guys."

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