Dent century edges day for Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire 322 for 7 (Dent 116, Marshall 58) v Lancashire
Chris Dent's second County Championship hundred of the season ensured Gloucestershire had just the better of day one against Lancashire at Old Trafford. Dent added 116 off 247 balls to his opening round 104 not out against Northamptonshire by batting through almost 86 overs of a day which started with Geraint Jones electing to bat.
Dent, the 24-year-old left-hander shared in half-century partnerships for the first four wickets. He shared 81 inside 24 overs with opening partner Will Tavare, 78 inside 28 either side of lunch with Gareth Roderick, 58 inside 16 with Peter Handscomb either side of tea and 81 inside 20 with Hamish Marshall.
Tavare and Marshall added 53 and 58 apiece, while Dent and Roderick, who made 31 went beyond 4000 and 2000 first-class career runs respectively during their innings - played on a pitch with few demons.
Lancashire's new ball pair Kyle Jarvis and Peter Siddle built pressure, asked questions at either end of the day and were the pick of the bowlers. Australian Siddle only conceded 10 runs in his first seven overs, and both seamers equally shared four wickets inside the last 11 overs of the day, including one for Siddle with the fourth ball of the day's final over.
The Division Two leaders generally bowled too short or too full, with Dent's cut and drive proving particularly prolific. Left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan took two of the seven wickets to fall as the hosts struck once in each of the first two sessions and five times after tea.
Before lunch, Jordan Clark had Tavare caught behind to end Gloucestershire's third successive opening partnership above 50. Dent and Roderick took their side beyond 150 midway through the afternoon before the latter was trapped lbw playing back to Kerrigan's 10th ball, leaving the score at 159 for 2 in the 51st over.
Kerrigan's second wicket came in the third over of the evening, the 67th of the innings, when Handscomb miscued an attempted lofted drive, only to see Ashwell Prince complete a superb diving catch running towards long-on from mid-off. That left the visitors at 217 for 3.
Bristol-born Dent reached his seventh first-class century off 199 balls shortly afterwards, with this innings his fifth score of 50 or more in first-class cricket this season.
Dent and Marshall, in particular, upped the ante during their fourth-wicket stand. Marshall's fifty came off 56 balls with 10 fours, but both fell against the second new ball as the score slipped to 298 for 5 in the 87th over. Dent was caught behind off Siddle in the 86th before Marshall fell the same way to Jarvis, who also bowled skipper Jones in the 93rd - 313 for 6. Siddle then trapped Tom Smith lbw as Lancashire ended the day on a high.
"We've had a good day," Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson said. "I've just said to the lads, don't be disheartened. We did a lot of very good things there. They bowled well in the last hour, which was tough, and they got three or four. As a general rule, we fought hard there.
"We need to add to that score in the morning. We've just spoken about getting as many as we can first innings and then we'll see. History suggests it spins here later in the game, so there should be a bit there for Tom."