Battling Haseeb Hameed keeps Essex at bay as Lancashire fight back after poor start

Lancashire's Liam Livingstone is bowled by Essex's Jamie Porter, during the Specsavers County Champi

Lancashire's Liam Livingstone is bowled by Essex's Jamie Porter, during the Specsavers County Championship, Division 1 match at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester today. - Credit: PA

Lancashire 222-8 v Essex, close day two

Essex's Sam Cook (second left) celebrates taking the wicket of Lancashire's Liam Livingstone. Photos

Essex's Sam Cook (second left) celebrates taking the wicket of Lancashire's Liam Livingstone. Photos: PA - Credit: PA

Haseeb Hameed’s unbeaten 85 helped Lancashire battle back from a vulnerable position on day two of their Specsavers County Championship clash with title rivals Essex at Old Trafford today.

Three wickets either side of lunch had Lancashire struggling on 92-6 on what was effectively the first day of this match after a complete washout yesterday.

But Hameed produced the kind of resilient batting display that he became renowned for last season to notch his highest score of the campaign and just his second Championship fifty of 2017 to guide Lancashire to 222-8 at the close.

His half-century took 188 balls and arrived after 244 minutes at the crease but Hameed provided the only real resistance in the first two sessions for Lancashire after Essex elected to bowl first, negating the need for a toss.

After brief but persistent showers delayed the game by a further 75 minutes at the start of the second morning, it took just three balls for league leaders Essex to strike, Alex Davies edging Jamie Porter to Simon Harmer at second slip.

Hameed received a life on one as Dan Lawrence put down a tough chance at gully.

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Sam Cook, making his Championship debut, produced a beauty to rip out Liam Livingstone’s off-stump before Porter struck again when Dane Vilas played all round a straight one and was trapped lbw – both batsman departing for just seven runs.

That left Lancashire 22-3 with the leaders smelling blood. Shivnarine Chanderpaul joined Hameed at the crease and in the spell before lunch the veteran West Indian made it look like an entirely different game. He made his way to 22 as Lancashire were 45-3 at lunch with Hameed there on five.

Chanderpaul would add just one more run, falling in the second over after the interval to the most uncharacteristic of shots as he gloved a hook shot through to James Foster to give Paul Walter his first wicket.

Jos Buttler and Ryan McLaren both threatened to offer support to Hameed, but the pair fell for 13 and 22 respectively as Porter and Harmer took a wicket apiece in their battle to be the Division One’s leading wicket-taker.

In the afternoon session Hameed had a spell where he scored one run in 54 deliveries, but began to look increasingly fluent as he made his way to tea unbeaten on 30 from 146 balls guiding his side to 115-6. Of the 300 balls bowled before tea, 250 were dot balls.

Hameed was the glue that had held the innings together and, post-tea, he shared 50-partnerships with Jordan Clark and Stephen Parry as Lancashire continued their impressive fightback.

Clark was 20-year-old Cook’s second victim but the day belonged to Lancashire’s 20-year-old opener. Hameed launched Harmer down the ground for six in the next over and looked the most confident he has at the crease all season.

He batted through the day, guiding Lancashire past 200 and their first batting point, which was an achievement that looked unlikely midway through the afternoon.

Hameed’s 77-run stand with Parry was broken with the first delivery with the new ball, as Porter picked up his fourth wicket before bad light ended play three overs early.

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