Lancashire 22 for 0 trail Glamorgan 344 (Lloyd 78, Douthwaite 61, Taylor 58) by 322 runs
It has been a chastening day for the Red Rose, with Labour suffering humbling defeats across the country as results trickled in from Thursday's elections. It will be mid-afternoon on Saturday before it becomes clear whether the same is true in Manchester, as Andy Burnham discovers if he will continue as the city's mayor; one suspects he would happily accept a similar result to the one likely at Emirates Old Trafford, where Lancashire should retain their position as Group Three leaders in the County Championship despite being frustrated by Glamorgan's resolve.
Rain has already had a significant impact on this match, with the first four sessions lacking any sense of rhythm or flow, and is set to wipe the third day out altogether. As a result, Lancashire needed to run through the lower order after reducing Glamorgan to 153 for 5 and then 190 for 6 on Friday morning if they had any realistic chance of forcing a win, but they were held up by the doughty efforts of Dan Douthwaite and Callum Taylor, who made contrasting half-centuries and ensured a first-innings total of 344.
Glamorgan are a team filled with batters who would ideally come in at No. 6, and while that may be damning on some members of their middle order, it also means an impressive level of batting depth. Douthwaite, in particular, looks a far better player than both his role at No. 8 and his middling first-class record might have you think, and he made batting seem remarkably straightforward during an innings of 61 off 104 balls.
Douthwaite's method is uncomplicated: he is watchful against good lengths, but punishes anything overpitched or too short. He took a particular interest in Luke Wood, twice pressing him for four through mid-off and pulling him for six over square leg, and twice clubbed Matt Parkinson back over his head for six. Douthwaite's success since signing his contract early in the 2019 season is a reminder of the value of the MCCU (now UCCE) system: but for his runs and wickets against Glamorgan while studying for a sports management degree at Cardiff Met, he may never have turned pro.
He scored three-quarters of the runs in an 81-run stand with Taylor for the seventh wicket, which demoralised Lancashire's attack as they waited for the new ball to arrive. Taylor, a Newport-born strokemaker who struck 106 off 94 balls on first-class debut last summer, has an impish manner about him, but was happy to bide his time during a restrained innings of 58 that lasted more than three hours.
Both men were eventually trapped leg-before against the new ball, and despite Timm van der Gugten's best efforts to smite quick runs from No. 11, Glamorgan fell six runs short of a fourth batting point. Every dismissed batter made double figures, though only David Lloyd threatened to reach three.
There was a brief injury scare for Saqib Mahmood in mid-afternoon, as he left the field two balls into an over with a left ankle complaint. Josh Bohannon finished his over and had Chris Cooke caught at gully with the third ball he bowled, but Mahmood was fit enough to bowl again after tea. "Pretty sore" was his evaluation of the injury at the close, as he prepared to have it iced by the physio, but Lancashire have a week off following this game which will give him the chance to rest it. The club have employed a rotation policy in any case, with Tom Bailey missing out in this fixture.
James Anderson, in his first outing of the season, bowled 11 overs on top of the 13 he had managed on the first day, and figures of 3 for 40 were testament to his control of line and length. After dismissing Marnus Labuschagne on Thursday, he trapped Root lbw early in the piece; that it was Billy rather than Joe means no bragging rights in the England dressing room.
Lancashire were left with the prospect of an awkward 18 overs to face as the sun went down behind the glaringly empty temporary stand, and it took every ounce of Alex Davies' and Keaton Jennings' resolve to ensure they reached the close unscathed.
On the BBC's coverage of last weekend's World Championship final, Stephen Hendry described Mark Selby as a "snooker vampire" who "sucks all the life and adrenaline out of you". The same is true of Michael Neser, the Australian seamer on Glamorgan debut, whose six bloodthirsty overs with the new ball yielded a solitary run and drew plenty of interest from the slip cordon as Jennings left on length and played inside the line.
As Davies defended cautiously into the off side shortly before the close, a cry went up in the press box from an acquaintance of the ward's victorious Labour candidate: "I can't believe it; we've won West Didsbury!" There will be cause for similar commotion if Lancashire can defy the weather and force another Red Rose win this weekend.