Cam Bancroft notches second successive country century

Ian ChadbandAAP
Cam Bancroft is in top form.
Camera IconCam Bancroft is in top form. Credit: Steve Bell/Getty Images

Marnus Labuschagne has made only a fleeting attacking cameo on his return to county cricket while another Australian Test stalwart Cameron Bancroft showed him the way with a second straight hundred.

Labuschagne, an ever-popular figure with Welsh county Glamorgan for whom he’s made a sackful of runs, missed out in his first appearance of the season in Cardiff on Friday, much to the locals’ disappointment.

Having been put in to bat by Middlesex, the Australian star was asked to take up an unfamiliar spot as opener and evidently decided the best policy to counter the early movement was to go on the offensive.

He clouted five boundaries on his way to a swift 23 off 31 balls, before driving airily off Tom Helm (4-44) to give Middlesex their prize wicket. He was caught behind as Glamorgan were dismissed for 183, before the visitors made 0-62 in response.

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Meanwhile, Bancroft was enjoying another banquet at Leicester’s Grace Road, following up his 53 and 130no for Gloucestershire in their previous match with a handsome 160 against Leicestershire.

His 28th first-class ton came amid a record-breaking opening partnership with Ben Charlesworth as the pair, who had also been asked to bat, made the hosts pay by putting on 316.

It beat the previous record for the highest first-wicket stand ever made against Leicestershire in first-class cricket, the 315 compiled by Yorkshire greats Herbert Sutcliffe and Len Hutton in 1937.

Bancroft got dropped on 84 by his former Aussie teammate Peter Handscomb and went on to bat for over five and three-quarter hours, making his runs off 267 balls with 18 fours, before playing on to Ben Mike.

With Gloucestershire moving to 2-385, as Charlesworth eventually departed for 126, it looked set to be a tiring baptism - with the ball at least - for Leicester’s Tasmanian debutant, allrounder Beau Webster.

Australian bowler of the day, not for the first time, was Dan Worrall, who again helped champions and leaders Surrey into a strong position with a superb opening spell against Worcestershire as 17 wickets fell on day one at The Oval.

After Surrey had been bowled out for 213, rescued only by a 148-run stand between England duo Ollie Pope (63) and Dan Lawrence (84), the hosts hit back strongly.

The in-form 32-year-old Worrall produced a magnificent opening salvo, taking 3-17 to leave the visitors tottering at 7-112 at stumps, while Sean Abbott also chipped in with a wicket for Surrey.

At Blackpool, the eagerly awaited Ashes battle between Durham’s Ben Stokes and Lancashire’s Nathan Lyon will have to wait for the second day.

England captain Stokes kicked off the match by taking 2-70 on his first county championship appearance in two years, getting through an encouraging 17 overs without any alarms after playing the majority of last year as a specialist batter.

His former England teammate Keaton Jennings was the stand-out player on day one with his 115 in Lancashire’s 9-350.

With PA

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