Keaton Jennings, George Balderson miss milestones but Lancashire are sitting pretty

Surrey 123 for 5 (Steel 29*, Clark 4*, Bailey 2-30, Williams 2-32) trail Lancashire 512 (Jennings 199, Balderson 97, Croft 86, Moriarty 5-163) by 389 runs

Keaton Jennings and George Balderson both narrowly missed out on personal landmarks but Lancashire are sitting pretty at the end of a rain-effected day two of this final match of the County Championship against title winners Surrey.

Jennings fell agonisingly short of double century after he was dismissed lbw by a brilliant Jamie Overton inswinger for 199 before Balderson was the last man out four runs away from his maiden first-class century.

But after reaching 512 in their first innings, Lancashire took five Surrey wickets for 123 to put them firmly in the box seat at a damp Emirates Old Trafford.

The day began full of anticipation for Jennings, who needed just 10 runs to reach 200 and become the first Lancashire player to hit three double tons in a season since Frank Watson in 1928. But Overton produced a vicious delivery which swung into Jennings’ pad to leave the opener out for 199 and Lancashire 430 for 6.

Balderson, meanwhile, passed his personal-best first-class score of 77, but when Tom Hartley was bowled by an excellent turning delivery from Dan Moriarty for seven, it became clear holding on to partners might be a problem.

Hartley was replaced by Tom Bailey whose free-scoring style was easy on the eye but probably not on Balderson’s nerves. When Bailey charged down the wicket and holed out to Kemar Roach at mid on off Moriarty for 22, Balderson was in the 90s with only Will Williams and Matt Parkinson left to help.

In the end Williams lasted 15 balls for his seven before edging Cameron Steel to Rory Burns at slip leaving Balderson to decide he couldn’t trust Parkinson as the young allrounder opted instead to try and hit Moriarty out of the ground and succeeded only in finding Overton at deep midwicket for an excellent 97.

Moriarty finished with 5 for 163 and Steel 3 for 65 but the spinners’ figures were the only real highlights in a lacklustre bowling display from the visiting champions who are perhaps suffering a little for motivation after last week’s celebrations.

Batting for a solitary over before lunch, Surrey continued after the break with Burns and Ryan Patel instantly on the back foot when faced with Bailey’s accurate opening spell.

Bailey would claim his 50th wicket of the season soon after when Patel edged to Jennings at second slip for 19 before Burns fell to Will Williams in the next over as the New Zealander got one to jag back and hit the skipper’s off stump.

Surrey were 37 for 2 and that quickly became 38 for 3 after Jamie Smith was trapped in front by Bailey who was putting the seal on an excellent season with the ball.

The prize dismissal of Hashim Amla came courtesy of Balderson who shrugged off his disappointment at missing out on a century by dismissing the South African for 29 with Jennings pouching another sharp chance at slip.

A succession of showers and subsequent breaks late in the day made for an even harder session for Surrey’s batters and Williams struck again when he cleaned bowled Tom Curran for 11.

It was left to former Lancashire player Jordan Clarke and Steel to see things through to the end as Surrey closed on 123 for 5 still trailing by 389.

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