Foxes take seven wickets on day one
DAY 1 | Lancashire CCC 347 for seven v Leicestershire CCC
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
REACTION | Leicestershire CCC debutant wicket-keeper Harry Swindells spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE
REPORT | Leicestershire CCC got off to a flying start before leaders Lancashire CCC recovered to post 347 for seven on the first day at Aigburth.
A brilliant piece of fielding from Hassan Azad saw the home side lose a wicket in the first over, and Dieter Klein and Muhammad Abbas built on that wicket with a brace apiece to leave the Red Rose county at 128 for five.
Liam Livingstone led the fightback by posting a fine century, and there were also useful contributions from half-centurion Steven Croft, captain Dane Vilas and all-rounder Josh Bohannon as Lancashire CCC closed at 347 for seven.
Leicestershire CCC handed a first-class debut to young wicket-keeper Harry Swindells, who became the 483rd person to represent the club in the Specsavers County Championship.
Neil Dexter and Callum Parkinson also came into the side, with Ateeq Javid, Lewis Hill and Will Davis coming out of the team that lost to Derbyshire CCC.
The hosts rested England international James Anderson as part of their rotation policy with Graham Onions returning after having a breather when the team drew at Cheltenham last week.
Paul Horton opted against a toss upon returning to his former county, and Keaton Jennings (0) was dismissed after three balls courtesy of an incredible piece of work by Azad at short-leg.
The fielder latched on to a Jennings shot off the hips, gathered quickly, and smashed down the stumps as the batsman understandably thought that he had done enough to get off the mark.
That play left the Aigburth ground stunned but in came Australian Jake Lehmann, whose father Darren had a huge impact as the overseas player across the Pennines, and he began to create a meaningful partnership with Haseeb Hameed.
Their alliance was approaching the half-century mark during the 13th over - Dieter Klein’s first - before the duo were broken up with the dismissal of Lehmann (22).
It initially appeared that Lehmann was going to play a shot, but he had second thoughts and the result was the off stump coming out of the ground as the ball angled into the left-hander.
Klein had the first bowling wicket of the game from just his fourth ball, making the same sort of impact as he did against Derbyshire CCC at the FCG last week.
The left-arm seamer then doubled his tally for the morning when claiming another important wicket, that of Hameed (30).
Lancashire CCC’s opener had played well before edging a delivery that was pushed across him, and it presented a lovely moment for Academy graduate Swindells, who watched the ball into the gloves for his maiden first-class catch.
The Red Rose county were at 55 for three just over the hour mark and the pressure was not letting up as claimed his first wicket of the day.
It was the same manner of dismissal, this time Rob Jones (11) held at the wicket by a diving Swindells following a thick outside edge.
Lancashire CCC lunched at 102 for four with Livingstone and Vilas at the wicket and it was an alliance that needed to be broken quickly.
Vilas played some fine strikes through the off-side but it did not take long before the 44-run partnership was broken up following the interval.
Pakistan international seam bowler Abbas claimed his second of the day, with Harry Swindells catching the Lancashire CCC wicket-keeper and captain Vilas for 34.
With the score on 128 for five, Livingstone was joined by Croft, and the two enjoyed a fruitful hour against the seamers and the slow left arm of Parkinson, counter-attacking in fine style.
Livingstone was the more forceful of the pair with his innings including one extraordinary shot off Klein which saw the batsman execute a forearm smash to an accidental looping beamer that bounced once before reaching the point boundary.
The batsman posted a 106 ball half-century during an innings that got his side back into the game, but with Lancashire CCC at 211 for five, the Foxes had a chance to claim his wicket.
Colin Ackermann came on to bowl for the first time adding to the spin of Parkinson, and from his first ball Livingstone skied a shot to deep mid-wicket.
The ball bounced out of the fielder’s hands though, and to add to the frustration, Livingstone went on to hit a six and four off two consecutive balls as the session progressed.
By tea, he and Croft had added an unbroken 110 and both batsmen were closing in on landmarks with Livingstone on 96 and the Blackpool-born batsman on 40.
Livingstone came back out for the final session of the day and soon reached his century (148b, 12x4, 2x6), as he went on to make 114 from 149 balls before being caught by Mark Cosgrove at mid-on from the bowling of Neil Dexter.
The Foxes followed this big wicket up with another one as Croft played Parkinson on to his wicket for 51, as the former Lancashire CCC man took his first wicket of the day.
County had certainly improved their situation with the wickets of Livingstone and Croft and Lancashire CCC now found themselves sitting on 283 for seven.
But another valuable partnership developed at the back end of the day with Bohannon (41no) and Tom Bailey (29no) putting on an unbeaten stand of 64 runs for the eighth wicket.
FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 22-3-74-2, Wright 21-2-66-0, Klein 18-3-70-2, Dexter 22-6-69-1, Parkinson 10-0-40-1, Ackermann 3-0-17-0.
TEAM | Horton (capt), Azad, Dexter, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Dearden, Swindells (wk), Parkinson, Klein, Wright, Abbas.
Lancashire CCC | Jennings, Hameed, Davies, Livingstone, Croft, Lehmann, Vilas (capt & wk), Jones, Bohannon, Parry, Bailey.