Sam Whiteman passed 50 for the fourth time in Championship cricket this season but self-inflicted wounds meant Northamptonshire again failed to raise a batting point on day one of their game with Lancashire at Wantage Road.
In his last game this season for Northamptonshire before returning to Western Australia, Whiteman proved the mainstay of the home side’s total of 232, hitting 79 with a six and 12 fours after they lost the toss and were put in.
A lapse of concentration cost him the chance of a third hundred of the campaign and two unfortunate run outs meant their batting bonus point total for the season remains stuck on three. Wickets were shared around, Tom Hartley, George Balderson and Will Williams claiming two apiece.
Northamptonshire though struck back with the ball, Lancashire losing openers Luke Wells and Keaton Jennings both lbw to Ben Sanderson and Jack White respectively. Nightwatchman Williams was dropped at second slip by Gay in the final over as the visitors closed on 54-2, 178 runs in arears.
Whiteman was at the crease early, opener Hassan Azad having been pinned lbw playing no shot during a probing opening spell from Tom Bailey.
As with any batter faced with a 10:30am start, the left-hander needed his share of good fortune, inside edging on numerous occasions, three times seeing the ball bounce over the stumps. However, two fours in one over from Williams got him up and running before an almost head high no-ball from Jack Blatherwick was despatched over the short boundary into the West Stand.
These shows of aggression were the exception where he was concerned, any fluency there was coming from Emilio Gay. The young opener was looking to recapture the form which saw him make 144 and 61 against the Red Roses in the reverse fixture back in July.
Save for an early vociferous lbw shout from Bailey the signs were good, the left-hander creaming several dreamy drives through the extra-cover mid-off region in moving elegantly to 35. However, with lunch approaching, confusion over a second run saw Gay sent back by Whiteman with no hope of making his ground thanks to Dane Vilas’s arrow-like throw from the deep.
To rub salt in Northamptonshire wounds, skipper Luke Procter was also out prior to the adjournment, Blatherwick getting one to lift from not far short of a length, the ball taking the glove and flying head high to Williams at third slip.
Whatever Whiteman had for lunch he emerged from the dressing-room with more intent, sending three deliveries from one Blatherwick over to the fence as he moved to 50 in 71 balls. Soon afterwards the bowler was forced from the field with a niggle.
Keogh kept Whiteman company through the early afternoon, without finding any real fluency, before inside edging one from Williams into his off stump.
The injury to Blatherwick forced Lancashire skipper Jennings to turn to the spin of Hartley and he would prove the undoing of Whiteman, who, in a loss of concentration played across a straight one and was adjudged lbw.
The loss of their anchor proved the cue for a slump, Saif Zaib who had played nicely to that point, driving at Balderson and inside edging onto his stumps, the bowler then accounting for Justin Broad caught behind by Phil Salt, the batter somewhat surprised to be given out with no deflection visible either.
The second comical run out of the day accounted for Tom Taylor and despite some late hitting from wicketkeeper Lewis McManus and Jack White, the hosts came up short in their quest for a first batting point at Wantage Road this season.