Lancashire 112 for 4 (Saini 3-45) vs Kent

Lancashire endured a difficult start to their innings at Emirates Old Trafford as Kent took two wickets in each session played during a rain-affected first day of this LV=Insurance County Championship Division One clash.

After last week’s heatwave, Manchester reclaimed its reputation for inclement weather with rain and a strong wind battering the ground for most of the morning ensuring no play was possible until 3pm before which the visitors had won the toss and elected to bowl.

It seemed an obvious decision in the conditions and Lancashire’s in-form openers Keaton Jennings and Luke Wells faced a tough examination early on from Matt Henry and Navdeep Saini who repeatedly passed the outside edge of both batters.

Just as the first wicket pair looked to have weathered the storm, Saini produced a fine delivery to Jennings which was edged to Zak Crawley at second slip with the opener departing for 14 and the score 24 for 1.

Runs were at a premium but Wells was determined and the incoming Josh Bohannon full of energy as the second wicket pair scampered between the wickets and looked to have gone someway to rebuilding the innings as Henry and Saini were replaced by Nathan Gilchrist and Grant Stewart.

Bohannon had just produced the shot of the day and reached 27 with an exquisite cover drive to the boundary when Gilchrist’s next delivery rose on the Bolton-born batter who edged to gully where Jack Leaning took a brilliant diving catch.

It was a major blow for Lancashire who could not break free from Kent’s tight and accurate bowling after tea with Wells the next to fall for 35 from 80 balls to the returning Saini who induced another edge to the grateful Leaning.

A moment later and Saini was on a hat-trick with Rob Jones pinned in front first ball by an inswinger to leave Lancashire 97 for 4 and right up against it.

Steven Croft, who is leading Lancashire in this game with Dane Vilas suffering from a fractured finger, steadied the ship and he and Washington Sundar took the home side to 112 for 4 before the rain returned. Play was abandoned for the day at around 6.15pm.

Lancashire made a surprising call to omit Matt Parkinson, the England legspinner, from their squad and instead pick Jack Morley, the 21-year-old slow left-armer, to complement Washington’s offbreaks.