At the double Vilas the standout man for Lancashire, as Anderson shows signs of his best

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Paul Edwards

Overseas players arrive in England in many shapes and displaying various levels of commitment but Lancashire look to have signed a jewel in Dane Vilas.

As Steven Croft’s players pressed for what had seemed an unlikely victory over Hampshire at Emirates Old Trafford, one of the architects of their dominance offered a fascinating insight into his approach to batting long, a skill of which he seems a master.

“When you get a hundred you want to go on and get a big hundred,” said the former South African wicketkeeper after batting 434 minutes and making 244 against George Bailey’s flagging attack.

“We have a saying that when it’s your day, make sure you dig deep and go as big as you can. I’ve seen guys get hundreds and lose concentration and that makes it difficult for the next guy. I don’t want to be the guy who puts pressure on the next man coming in.”

Vilas’ career-best score was the centrepiece of what may turn out to be the best day of Lancashire’s season. In company with Ryan McLaren, who also made his first century for Lancashire on Wednesday, he helped his side establish a 198-run first-innings lead before Jimmy Anderson went to work on a steamy Manchester evening.

“It’s scary how well Jimmy is bowling at the moment,” said Vilas. “I had a great view at first slip and it’s so nice to see his passion and see what he brings to the club.”

Understandably, the Hampshire coach, Craig White, had a rather different perspective on Anderson’s three-wicket spell and another view on a day when his players had been more or less annihilated after dropping Vilas twice off successive Brad Taylor deliveries

“We let ourselves down there and we looked very, very average,” said White. “You can’t drop catches at this level but we did and we got punished massively.  All I ask the boys is that they be switched on when we go out into the field and it didn’t look as though we were.

“When the ball swings or seams, we seem to lose wickets in clumps. It was pretty disappointing and pretty hard to watch.”

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