County - Cross and Croft hit tons as Lancashire draw with Hampshire

Middle-order batsmen Gareth Cross and Steven Croft each scored rare centuries as they benefited from the decision of stand-in Lancashire captain Glen Chapple to bat through the final day of the LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

PA Sport
County - Cross and Croft hit tons as Lancashire draw with Hampshire
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Steven Croft scored 100 from 147 deliveries for Lancashire

When Chapple eventually declared Lancashire were 410 ahead and there was no time for a Hampshire response, the match ending a draw after 88 overs were lost to rain over the first two days.

Cross's century was his third in first-class matches and Croft's was his sixth as the match meandered towards its inevitable conclusion once Chapple had decided against offering Hampshire a target.

While a draw always seemed the most likely result, there was the possibility of a run chase when Lancashire began the last day 63 for three in their second innings, a lead of 100. But Chapple, perhaps mindful of the destruction by Hampshire opener Michael Carberry a few days previously in the Yorkshire Bank 40 fixture, decided to settle for bonus points.

The pitch, which had posed all kinds of problems for batsmen over the previous three days with its swing and movement, was docile in the sunshine and only three wickets fell all day. First innings century-maker Andrea Agathangelou went at 126, Karl Brown departed at 137 and Cross was removed at 298 soon after completing his ton.

Chapple waited until Croft had reached three figures before putting the small crowd out of their misery. Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams used nine bowlers including himself in a bid to undermine the Lancashire batting, but for Cross and Croft in particular it was all too comfortable.

Agathangelou and Brown put on 99 for the fourth wicket before Agathangelou edged Sean Ervine to George Bailey after making 49. Brown hit 10 fours in his 58 before Ervine stuck again by having him caught at the wicket, but that was Hampshire last success for 43 overs.

Cross twice struck sixes and also hit 12 fours on his way to 100 in the 93rd over, but five balls after reaching the landmark he lofted the occasional medium pace of James Vince to Chris Wood. Cross and Croft put on 161 in 43 overs and by then Hampshire had long given up hope of taking part in a late flurry of run-chasing.

Croft, in the company of Wayne White, plodded on, reaching his century off 147 balls and hitting eleven fours and a six. White was unbeaten with 29 when Chapple called his players in.

At that stage Lancashire were 373 for six in the 109th over, each side having to be content with eight points.

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