County Championship: Lancashire salvage draw with Northamptonshire to return to top of Division Two table
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, County Ground, Northampton (day four):|
|Northamptonshire 442 & 263-9 dec: Keogh 74, Newton 48: Parry 3-59|
|Lancashire 315& 275-4: Bohannon 65*, Hameed 55, Vilas 53*, Davies 53|
|Northants (12 pts) drew with Lancashire (10 pts)|
Lancashire returned to the top of Division Two in the County Championship after escaping with a draw against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Resuming on 214-6, Northants batted on before declaring on 263-9, setting a notional 391 to win in 89 overs.
But they could prise out just four wickets as four Lancashire batsmen posted half-centuries.
England opener Haseeb Hameed went past 50 for just the second time this season as the visitors reached 275-4.
After failing to make any further breakthrough with the new ball, Northants skipper Adam Rossington shook hands with opposite number Dane Vilas at 18:00 BST.
Vilas, who was dropped by Matt Coles at third slip off Brett Hutton, was on 53, having shared a 90-run unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Josh Bohannon, who was on 65.
First-innings centurion Alex Davies earlier added 53 to his first-innings career-best 147 to end up with 200 runs in the match.
How things stand
Lancashire, who are now seven points clear of Glamorgan at the top, host Sussex in their next match, beginning on Saturday.
But the Red Rose have been hit by another injury, Saqib Mahmood having suffered an abdominal problem which will force him out of this Sunday's England Lions game against Australia A at Canterbury.
Mahmood is due to go for a scan on Thursday, while England T20 all-rounder Liam Livingstone will still be out with an intercostal muscle injury.
Lancashire also went into the match at Northampton without Jimmy Anderson and Tom Bailey, although spinner Matt Parkinson is now fit for selection again.
Northants are now sixth, but just 12 points off the third promotion place, now occupied by Derbyshire, who they face in their next fixture, starting this Sunday.
Just 29 points separate the bottom eight clubs in Division Two, in a real scrap for the three promotion places, with just one round of fixtures to go before the T20 Blast break.
Northants head coach David Ripley:
"Once we came through that first morning, we controlled the game and I'm very proud of our efforts.
"The wicket lost a bit of its pace but our endeavour remained high. We found edges that didn't quite carry, we had a couple of tight umpiring calls and they also played well.
"Given the stage of the season, we're not in a position where we desperately need a win.
"So to get a decent haul of points against a side who are definitely going to be up at the top of the table come the end of the season is a very good result."
Lancs all-rounder Josh Bohannon told BBC Radio Lancashire:
"The lads built partnerships really well in both innings. It was tough against the new ball.
"Overall, it's been a great team performance from the batting unit. It's always nice to do the job you set out to do.
"We talk about being there at the end and that's quite pleasing for me. Getting a chance up the order was a big thing for me this week.
"Things are looking good. We've been a bit unlucky with the weather with some matches but we are still top of the table."
First Northants contract for Gay
Northamptonshire have awarded a first professional contract to teenage left-hand batsman Emilio Gay.
The 19-year-old, who went to Alastair Cook's old school, Bedford School, has come through the county's youth development system.
"I'm really pleased one of our own has got his chance to become a professional," said head coach Ripley. "You get a lot of young players who doubt themselves and think 'Am I good enough?', but Emilio's attitude is very good."