Lancashire bottom of Division One after chastening defeat at hands of Kent

Former Lancashire spinner Matt Parkinson took three wickets as Kent beat their hosts at Old Trafford
Former Lancashire spinner Matt Parkinson took three wickets as Kent beat their hosts at Old Trafford - Getty Images/Gareth Copley

Few tipped well-resourced Lancashire for a relegation scrap but after four matches they sit bottom of Division One having been well beaten by Kent.

After Lancashire were drubbed by Essex last month, Kent ensured they became the first top-flight team to lose two matches this season. Kent had not won at Old Trafford since 1997, but dominated proceedings thanks to bowling out Lancashire for just 92 on day two when Wes Agar and Nathan Gilchrist shared all 10 wickets.

Lancashire’s young middle order responded well to being asked to follow on, but a target of 164 was never likely to be enough – even with Nathan Lyon and Tom Hartley in their attack on an excellent pitch taking turn.

Kent resumed on the final day on 71 for one and were guided to victory by their outstanding captain Daniel Bell-Drummond, who finished unbeaten on 79. Lyon picked up the wickets of Ben Compton and Jack Leaning, but both men – as well as Joe Denly – built handy partnerships with Bell-Drummond to help Kent to their first victory of the season.

Lancashire have not won a Championship match at Old Trafford since September 2022, and their new coach Dale Benkenstein was keen to put a positive spin on things, praising the “very good cricket” his team played in the second half of this match. He did bemoan “too many dismissals where we were giving our wicket to them” and the “need for senior players to step up”. Kiwi overseas player Tom Bruce is averaging 10, senior batsmen Luke Wells and Josh Bohannon have also been quiet, while stalwart seamer Tom Bailey is averaging 84 with the ball.

Lancashire’s situation is made more painful by losing a number of players to the Indian Premier League, such as Phil Salt, Luke Wood and even Liam Livingstone. To make matters worse for fans, a number of players Lancashire produced are thriving elsewhere, such as Warwickshire captain Alex Davies, Sussex all-rounder Danny Lamb, and Kent spinner Matt Parkinson, who took three for 70 in the second innings of this match.

In better news, Saqib Mahmood is set to return to first-team action against Nottinghamshire (who are captained by another former Lancashire man, Haseeb Hameed) this Friday. Mahmood has endured two years of injury hell, but will add some spark to Lancashire’s attack, even if he has to be used sparingly. James Anderson, though, is unlikely to be seen for a few weeks yet as he gears up for the Test summer.

In Division Two, Yorkshire also remain winless, after a combination of poor weather and stout Glamorgan batting ensured they drew at Headingley. The country’s leading run-scorer Sam Northeast and Colin Ingram both made hundreds to help Glamorgan bat out 138 overs in their second innings to overturn a deficit of 298 on first innings. On a turning pitch, all four wickets Yorkshire took on the final day fell to part-time spinners Joe Root and Adam Lyth.

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