Twin tons keep Lancashire unbeaten
Lancashire 283 and 351 for 6 dec drew with Hampshire 369
Tom Smith and Gareth Cross both hit centuries as Lancashire preserved their status as the only side not to have lost a match in the County Championship when their match with Hampshire petered out into a draw at the Rose Bowl.
Each recorded their personal-best scores along the way as an easy-paced wicket undid Hampshire's valiant attempts to force a victory. Lancashire began the final day in a precarious position, only 20 runs ahead at 106 for 1 in their second innings.
The Rose Bowl wicket that had posed so many problems on the first day, when Lancashire chose to bat, had flattened out and Lancashire made the best of it to earn their draw. When Glen Chapple declared, Lancashire had batted through the day to reach 351 for 6 from 127 overs, and with a lead of 265, which Hampshire had no chance of chasing.
Smith made 128, and Cross was 100 not out when the declaration came. Opening batsman Smith, whose previous best was 108 not out, was the mainstay of the Lancashire resistance, batting for six hours and 41 minutes to blunt the Hampshire attack.
His mammoth innings occupied 306 balls and included 14 fours and two sixes. Smith and Mark Chilton, the overnight batsmen, made their second-wicket stand worth 134 by the time Chilton edged pace bowler David Balcombe to wicket-keeper Michael Bates for 47.
First-innings centurion Shivnarine Chanderpaul made only 11 this time before spinner Danny Briggs induced him to edge a catch to Michael Lumb in the slips, and the same combination accounted for Steven Croft at 212. But by then Hampshire were running out of time and wickets, and Smith made sure his team escaped from a difficult position with his century.
Smith departed in the 105th over, lifting Briggs to the deep, where Jimmy Adams held the catch.
Hampshire captain Dominic Cork, a former Lancashire player, called part-time bowler Michael Carberry into the attack in a desperate attempt to claim a few wickets, and the England batsman responded by dismissing Luke Sutton at 312, but it was all far too late. Cross was an aggressive contrast to Smith, and reached his century off 134 balls, and hit 16 fours along the way.
Cross, normally a wicket-keeper but in the side as a specialist batsman, had a previous best of 70, and was quickly past that landmark as the Hampshire attack wilted. Briggs was the pick of the Hampshire bowlers, getting through 47 overs to finish with figures of 3 for 142, but the rest of the attack was blunted by the conditions and the determined Lancashire batting.