Wickets tumble on 'substandard' Cardiff pitch but Glamorgan well-placed against Lancashire
"It's not a good enough pitch for four-day first class cricket," Alex Davies fumes
Glamorgan 150 (Labuschagne 44) and 137 for 3 (Labuschagne 32*, Lloyd 41, Cooke 38) need 51 runs to beat Lancashire 173 (Bailey 31, Neser 3-46) and 164 (Davies 47, Neser 4-53)
15 wickets fell on the second day at Cardiff to follow 19 on the first, leaving Alex Davies, Lancashire's opener, to berate a "substandard" pitch that he claimed was "not good enough for four-day first-class cricket".
Glamorgan left themselves well-placed to complete a win after Lancashire, the happier of the two teams at the start of the day, collapsed to be bowled out for 164 in their second innings.
Joe Cooke and David Lloyd put on the highest stand of the match so far as Glamorgan reached the close at 137 for 3 with 51 runs needed for victory, leaving Lancashire staring down the prospect of a first defeat of the season.
"It's a substandard pitch," Davies, whose second-innings 47 was the highest score across the first two days, said at the close. "It is not a good enough pitch for four-day first-class cricket. I think that is quite evident with the scores. We've got 50 runs to play with tomorrow so we will come and fight for every run and try and beat them.
"We were also 130 for 3 before a couple of bad decisions came in - make of that what you will. We had a little collapse there with some wickets that were our fault and some that weren't, but ultimately we have to take responsibility for them. We've seen how badly that pitch can play so there's no reason why we can't get these seven wickets."
While Glamorgan will feel that victory is not too far away the regularity with which wickets have fallen in this match means that an unlikely Lancashire win cannot be ruled out.
Their first innings lasted just two balls on the second morning with Michael Hogan run out without any addition to the overnight score. A
total of 150 all out gave Lancashire a lead of 23 on first innings and with the difficulty of run scoring throughout this game that seemed significant.
Throughout the Lancashire second innings batters were once again getting out almost as soon as it looked like they were set with Davies making the only significant contribution.
Lancashire had taken the lead to 132 when that dramatic collapse of 5 for 15 set them back. This period included two fantastic fielding moments. First Michael Neser took an outstanding diving catch at third man to dismiss Liam Livingstone, who was aiming for somewhere over the midwicket boundary. Then Marnus Labuschagne ran out Luke Wood, who had yet to face a ball, with a direct hit from cover point.
Lancashire had gone from 109 for 3 to 124 for 8 but thanks to some late-order runs from Saqib Mahmood and Danny Lamb they managed to reach 164 all out, setting Glamorgan 188 runs to win. Neser was the pick of the Glamorgan bowlers, claiming 4 for 53.
This left Glamorgan with the task of making the highest total of this match to secure victory, but the stand of 72 between Cooke and Lloyd made that look achievable. Cooke made a career-best 38 as the bowlers struggled to find wickets for the first time in this match. Both were dismissed before the close, but Labuschagne was 32 not out and Kiran Carlson was unbeaten on 14.
"It's been a strange game," Neser said. "I feel we're on top at the moment, but there's plenty of cricket still to go. At times the batters have been dominant but all of a sudden wickets fall in clumps so we've got to be wary about that."
"It would be great to be the first team to beat Lancashire, especially at our home ground which would make it even sweeter."