A commanding, high class century from Temba Bavuma helped Northamptonshire to a strong position by the close on Day 1 against Lancashire.
Alex Wakely was one of two changes announced by Adam Rossington at the toss. Having split the webbing in his left hand on the final day against Sussex, Wakely was replaced by Richard Levi on the back of strong form in the second eleven, Saif Zaib the other change replaced by Matt Coles. In clear, warm conditions Lancashire decided not to contest the toss and put Northamptonshire in to bat.
Lancashire found assistance from the conditions early on, the ball moving around violently at times. Vasconcelos and Newton battled through the opening 10 overs, taking the score to 36 before Newton edged Onions to the keeper. In his first Specsavers County Championship match of the season, Richard Levi looked in good touch. Fresh off scores of 131* and 82* in the Second XI against Derbyshire last week, Levi was positive from the outset as he and Vasconcelos countered the moving ball to hustle along at just under 4 an over.
Ricardo Vasconcelos passed 2,000 first class runs as he posted his fifth half century of the season, going on to reach 77 before his leading edge found midwicket. After a partnership of 98, Northamptonshire lost 3 wickets in quick time. Vasconcelos followed by Levi in the next over, slashing a drive to point for 38 and Keogh not long after, bowled by an excellent delivery from Onions for 6. This left Northamptonshire 154/4 and in a delicate position having been 134/1, Temba Bavuma and Adam Rossington still having to deal with a moving ball.
The afternoon session proved fruitful for Northamptonshire as Rossington and Bavuma both showed their class. Continuing to rotate the strike while regularly finding the boundary, the pair kept the scoring rate up. Temba Bavuma moved to his second half century for Northamptonshire with the final ball before tea, punching powerfully to the boundary to raise his 50 in 69 deliveries. The partnership having passed 50, Northamptonshire went into the break 215 for 4.
Bavuma showed every inch of his class in the evening session as the partnership passed 100 and the total 250. Lancashire took the new ball immediately in the hopes of finding the breakthrough but Bavuma had other ideas. The South African international hammering Onions audaciously over cover for six with two of the most extraordinary shots in the same over. A clip off his legs in the next over took Bavuma to a wonderful century in just 125 deliveries. His innings ended the very next delivery though, inside edging a drive behind. Rossington slashed hard behind point to go to his half century before toning things down to join Procter in safely negotiating to the close.
Northamptonshire 334/5 (Bavuma 103, Vasoncelos 77)