Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince and Kyle Jarvis finish off Leicestershire
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Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince and Kyle Jarvis finish off Leicestershire

Posted on - June 16 Tuesday, 2015

Leicestershire 207 and 119; Lancashire 483
Lancashire win by an innings and 157 runs

This time next year, Ashwell Prince could be sat at home in South Africa with his feet up as a retired man. It does not bear thinking about for Lancashire supporters, who have been treated to a particularly prolific two years of run making. On Tuesday he scored his fourth County Championship hundred of 2015 and is now on the verge of becoming the first man in this summer’s competition to pass 1,000 runs.

The 38-year-old’s efforts – 939 runs from nine matches with three hundreds, one double century and three further fifties – have also helped put Lancashire within touching distance of a return to Division One even at this early stage in the season. Here, they sealed a sixth win thanks to a dominant display with bat and ball against Mark Cosgrove’s Leicestershire strugglers.

Prince had intended to retire at the end of 2014 but his team-mates tried to convince him to delay those plans, with a determination to right the wrong of relegation tipping the balance. The left-hander, who scored 3,665 runs in 66 Test matches during a nine-year period from 2002, is the only championship batsman to have scored more than 2,000 runs since the start of last season. It will be of no surprise to learn that the campaign to persuade him to play on is in full swing.

He scored only 30 runs during the third morning to advance from 74 overnight to 104 off 171 balls before being stumped off Jigar Naik’s off-spin in the search for quick first-innings runs. But he shared in half-century stands for the fifth wicket with Alex Davies and for the seventh with Arron Lilley, who was particularly adventurous as Lancashire secured a lead of 276 on the stroke of lunch. The off-spinner Lilley hit two sixes in a 41-ball 59 as 169 runs came in 29 overs before lunch. Naik ended up with a career best eight-wicket haul, including six of them before lunch, but it was very much bittersweet given he conceded 179 runs in his 44.3 overs.

Not only do Lancashire have the leading run-scorer in either division of the championship, they also have the leading wicket-taker in Kyle Jarvis, with 55. Like Prince, the Zimbabwean is also qualified under the Kolpak ruling. Jarvis, 26, picked up his 50th wicket of the season in the first innings, and he claimed five for 44 from 15.4 overs in the second, including two with the new ball and three at the death.

It was Lilley who broke the back of Leicestershire’s innings with three wickets in 13 balls shortly before tea, including Ned Eckersley and Ben Raine caught in the slips in the 32nd over to leave the score at 90 for six. He also had Umar Akmal caught behind off an inside edge to leave Ashley Giles with a selection headache, given he also took five wickets in his only other championship appearance of the season against Derbyshire at Southport last month.