County Championship: Keogh stars as Northants look to force win against Lancashire

Graham Onions bowling for Lancashire
Former England bowler Graham Onions has match figures of 7-119 so far
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, County Ground, Northampton (day three):
Northamptonshire 442 & 214-6: Keogh 74, Newton 48: Onions 2-42, Gleeson 2-66
Lancashire 315: Davies 147, Croft 78; Sanderson 4-62, Keogh 3-43, Hutton 3-77
Northants (7 pts) lead Lancashire (5 pts) by 341 runs with four wickets remaining

Rob Keogh scored a vital half-century as Northants built a 341-run lead to set up an intriguing final day against Lancashire at Wantage Road.

Lancashire added 104 to their overnight score of 211-4, but, despite Alex Davies scoring 147, they conceded a first-innings deficit of 127.

Northants were in trouble at 14-3, but Rob Newton (48) and Keogh put on 96 to steady the home nerves.

Keogh was run out for 74 but his side reached 214-6 at the close of play.

With Luke Procter (25 not out) and Brett Hutton (23 not out) at the crease and four wickets still in hand, the hosts have the initiative and a realistic chance of forcing a crucial win that would provide a huge boost to their promotion hopes.

Second-placed Lancashire and leaders Glamorgan are strong contenders for the top three, but any one of the remaining eight teams could still sneak into third place.

Northants batsman Rob Keogh told BBC Radio Northampton:

"We knew that they have quite a long lower order and we had the new ball coming so it was ideal to bowl them out and get a good lead. I managed to burgle Alex Davies and to have a new batsman facing the new ball was crucial.

"It's very tough against the new ball. Me and Rob Newton had to rebuild and our partnership has helped but us in a really good position.

"If we can come out in the morning and score some quick runs hopefully we can give ourselves 90 overs to try and bowl them out."

Lancs all rounder Steven Croft told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"Obviously we want to try and save the game. We haven't been quite right with bat or ball but if we save the game we can show what good scrappers we are.

"When a partnership has formed on this pitch, it's been fast scoring so if we can get in it's our responsibility to go big. If we can build a foundation then you never know.

"We've dominated most games this season to keep our loss column at zero would be a good achievement."

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