Lancashire’s Steven Croft hits 100 but rain helps Surrey

19:49 12 July 2012

Lancashire

Lancashire's Steven Croft made a century against Surrey

EMPICS Sport

LV= County Championship Day 2: Lancashire 425-7

Rain denied Lancashire the chance of racking up a huge total against Surrey on day two of their visit to Guildford. But thanks to an unbeaten 104 off 167 balls from Steven Croft, the red rose county made good use of the 47 overs that were possible to be 425-7, having resumed on 245-3.

In the fourth over of the day Murali Kartik justified Surrey’s decision to spurn taking the new ball by having Ashwell Prince caught on the deep midwicket boundary for 34.

When it was taken, Tom Smith greeted the new cherry by driving Jon Lewis straight down the ground. Steven Croft then cut Chris Tremlett to the backward point boundary, following it up, two overs later, with a cover driven four; though not before Smith, attempting a quick single to mid-off, had been beaten by Zander de Bruyn’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

Gareth Cross got off the mark with a cut four off Lewis, but perished when pulling Stuart Meaker straight to Zafar Ansari at square leg. Croft was joined in the middle by Glen Chapple and together they added 121 in 29 overs for the seventh wicket.

In the 101st over, Chapple flicked Meaker off his legs for four before pulling him for a maximum three balls later.

Shortly before lunch Croft went to fifty, which came off 94 balls, with his seventh boundary - a glanced to four off Meaker.

Having been 356-6 at the break, Lancashire really put their foot down after lunch.

Croft despatched the first delivery of the afternoon session, bowled by de Bruyn, to the rope at deep midwicket. After crossing, Chapple repeated the dose four balls later.

Surrey, who bowled just one further maiden, seemed incapable of stemming the flow.

In the 125th over, Croft brought up his fifth first-class hundred with an extra cover drive off Meaker. It had taken the 27-year-old three and a half hours and 160 deliveries.

Chapple departed moments later, lbw to Lewis for 46, but before Croft and Ajmal Shahzad could strike up an alliance rain stopped play at 3.00pm. The rest of the day was eventually written off at 4.20pm.

Speaking afterwards, Croft said: “I’m really pleased. Coming off the Twenty20 has helped. It helped a bit last year as well. It just got me going a bit. I felt confident out there. I just tried to play my natural game, which is to be positive. It’s a solid benchmark. I don’t know if we’re going to bat again and put on some quick runs, or whether we’ll pull out and look to bowl Surrey out. It did turn a bit out of the rough into the right-handers. They’ve got three or four lefties, so Simon Kerrigan will be in the game.”

Asked if Kerrigan will fancy bowling to Kevin Pietersen, Croft said: “He’s dying to bowl at him, but with the weather I think he’d just like to get a bowl.”

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