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David Lloyd at the Ageas Bowl
May 24, 2013
Hampshire 7 for 1 trail Lancashire 295 (Agathangelou 121, Procter 53, Balcombe 5-104) by 288 runs
It sounded rather more like a plea for help than a genuine vote of confidence. But Andrea Agathangelou was absolutely right last night to back Simon Kerrigan's ability with the bat as he contemplated finding another seven runs to complete a maiden Championship century.
Lancashire's No. 11 not only helped Agathangelou to reach three figures but he also showed resilience above and beyond the call of duty as the visitors' final pair put together what could yet be a crucial stand of 70.
Roughly a third of those runs had been made on the first evening so Agathangelou knew Kerrigan was well and truly up for it when he expressed confidence. But both men had to battle extremely hard on the second morning as they faced a nearly new ball being made to zip around by James Tomlinson and David Balcombe.
The outside edge was passed on a regular basis and it looked odds against Lancashire being able to celebrate their first individual century of what has so far been an up and down season for them on the batting front.
Not a bit of it, though. Agathangelou, who was on 69 yesterday when the ninth wicket fell, didn't go out of his way to shield Kerrigan and it was not until he glided his 20th delivery of the day to third man that the hundred was reached.
Thereafter, runs came much more freely than Hampshire would have wanted and the morning was 17 overs old by the time the two batsmen finally got themselves in horrible mess over a 'shall we, shan't we' single to square leg - a mess which ended with Agathangelou being run out, for 121, by Danny Briggs' direct hit.
Bearing in mind the Agathangelou only played because Simon Katich was felled in the nets before the start of play yesterday his innings was a classic case of making the very most of an unexpected opportunity. And, having made it into the team for the first time this campaign, he ought to have earned an extended chance.
There are openings in Lancashire's top order - even assuming Katich is able to make a quick return. Opener Paul Horton, replaced here by Stephen Moore, seems likely to be out of action for several weeks because of a finger injury while Steven Croft does not look fireproof in the middle order.
"It's great to have options," said captain Glen Chapple after rain, which arrived during the lunch interval, finally caused play to be abandoned for the day with Hampshire having lost Jimmy Adams. "We know we have more competition for places this season and that is what you want.
"Aggers played exceptionally well and paced his innings superbly. Although he came into the side at short notice he seemed very positive and confident yesterday - and that's the kind of individual he is."
Chapple reckons that Lancashire's total of 295 is "decent." But if the temperature warms up a bit and the ball starts to swing then decent could become daunting from a Hampshire perspective.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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