County Championship: Lancashire left with difficult chase to beat Worcestershire
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Southport (day two):|
|Worcestershire 222 & 252: Parnell 50; Bailey 3-53|
|Lancashire 161: Tongue 5-63 & 8-0|
|Lancashire (3 pts) need 306 more runs to beat Worcestershire (4 pts)|
Lancashire have been left a testing victory target of 314 to beat fellow Division One strugglers Worcestershire.
The hosts ended day two on 8-0, needing 306 more to win at Southport.
Lancashire conceded a deficit of 61 runs when they were dismissed for 161 in their first innings, with Josh Tongue taking 5-63, with the visitors bowled out for 252 in their second.
But valuable lower-order runs from Ben Cox (40) and Wayne Parnell (50) pushed Worcestershire into a strong position.
Fifteen wickets have fallen in each of the first two days and a result in this low-scoring contest is likely to come on day three, barring bad weather.
The day began well for Worcestershire, taking Lancashire's five remaining first-innings wickets before lunch, with Tongue and South African paceman Parnell (3-42) doing the majority of the damage.
Tom Bailey then reduced the visitors to 31-3 in their second innings before a recovery from Worcestershire, who steadily built a healthy lead despite only Parnell reaching a half-century.
Lancashire's South Africa spinner Keshav Maharaj snared his fellow countryman at short leg as he took 3-64, his first wickets in English county cricket.
Lancashire began the game bottom of Division One, having played one match more than all of their relegation rivals, including second-bottom Worcestershire.
Lancs fast bowler Graham Onions told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"This morning obviously didn't go to plan. It would have been nice to have batted at least a session. All the bowlers applied themselves to try and give us a chance to bowl them out.
"I back our batters to go out there and chase this down. We haven't had a particularly great season with regard to scoring heavy runs but we have got to believe that we are going to score those runs.
"We have the attack. If we scored a large volume of runs we would win games. It is what it is, I know a lot of the members and supporters are disappointed but we are trying very, very hard."
Pears wicketkeeper/batsman Ben Cox told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"Throughout the game so far, every innings has been hard work for batters. It's one of those pitches where you've never felt in, always felt there's one around the corner with your name on.
"It's still a seamer-friendly pitch. It's a typical club wicket. First innings it nipped slowly and it's dried out and we felt that it's nipping quicker, which makes it harder for the batters. That happens with the new ball.
"I haven't contributed the way I would have liked to this season with the red ball. It's nice to do that. I know it was only 40 but hopefully it's put us out of reach of Lancashire."