Saturday 9 - Tuesday 12 June 2018
MATCH REPORT: Lancashire v Essex, Day One
Honours were just about even after the first day of this Specsavers County Championship match against Essex with Lancashire fighting back from a poor start to reach 297-9 thanks to a century partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jordan Clark.
Essex would have been delighted by their start after taking advantage of the toss regulations and putting Lancashire in to bat in humid and overcast conditions. The visitors’ bowlers found swing and seam movement to trouble all of the Red Rose top order and were quickly celebrating the wicket of Alex Davies, caught by Simon Harmer at second slip for 2 off Jamie Porter. Keaton Jennings twice drove Sam Cook for four through cover in the opening overs but became Porter’s second victim when caught at gully for 19 by Dan Lawrence. Porter concluded a fine 8-over opening spell from the James Anderson end with the excellent figures of 2-8.
Haseeb Hameed, having defended stoutly in scoring one run from his first 33 deliveries, made 5 before gloving a sharply rising delivery from Neil Wagner to wicketkeeper Adam Wheater in the 16th over and Lancashire were in further trouble at 40-4 when Liam Livingstone followed for 11 after edging Sam Cook to Harmer at second slip.
Dane Vilas pulled Warner to mid-wicket for his first four to bring up the fifty in the 26th over while Shivnarine Chanderpaul registered his first boundary off the 32nd ball he faced by clipping Ravi Bopara to fine leg in the last over before lunch which Lancashire reached on 59-4.
The afternoon started badly when Vilas was lbw to Cook for 10 without any addition to the score but as conditions eased Chanderpaul and Jordan Clark then fought back with a vital century partnership.
Two driven fours by Clark off Porter in third over of the afternoon were followed quickly by four boundaries in 7 balls shared between the two batsmen, with their early attack soon taking the score past the one hundred mark.
Suitably established the pair then settled in to take Lancashire into a much better position, Clark powerfully striking anything wayward but also solid in defence. Chanderpaul produced a typical innings of defence mixed in with his ability to put away any bad deliveries while also manoeuvring the ball around adroitly with nudges and glances to keep the score ticking over.
Clark was the first to reach a half-century, taking just 58 balls with 8 fours, while the hundred partnership arrived from the third ball after tea from 212 balls before Chanderpaul then reached his own half-century from a much more sedate 173 balls with 8 fours moments later.
It was a good fightback that had taken Lancashire to the much healthier position of 190-5 but two wickets in three balls by Harmer first broke the 131-run partnership when Chanderpaul was bowled for 58, and the off-spinner followed that with the wicket of Clark who bottom edged a cut shot onto his stumps after making a season’s best 79.
And a position of 229-8 when Joe Mennie was lbw to Cook for 15 meant the visitors still had the better of things before a 9thwicket partnership of 52 off just 40 balls between Tom Bailey (36 not out) and Graham Onions, whose rapid 41 off 32 balls was his highest first-class score for Lancashire, then added some very useful-looking runs during the final hour to leave honours much more even than seemed likely earlier in the day.
Jordan Clark led the Red Rose recovery today along with Shiv Chanderpaul and he was pleased how the day had finished.
“I think at 50odd for five to be just short of 300 nine down is obviously a good recovery,” he said.
“If we can try and grind out 30 or 40 more runs tomorrow morning that will put us in a decent position.
“At lunch I was just trying to get myself in the right frame of mind (knowing I was next in), working out what would be the best tactic to score runs on that pitch.
“When I came in it wasn’t doing too much and that helped with the way I play which is to be positive.
“I’m there to score runs, and you have to back yourself by using the best tactic for yourself which for me is being positive.”
On his partnership with Chanderpaul, Clark said: “Shiv is quite focussed and doesn’t say much but that helped me focus and keep my head on the game.”
And looking ahead to tomorrow Clark added: “It’s a good pitch, especially when you see off the new ball.
“There were a few balls that did quite a bit so I think there could be a few demons in it on days three or four, which emphasizes the importance of spending time at the crease now and getting as many runs as possible.”
Match Report: Lancashire v Essex, Day Two
Lancashire and Essex conjured up another fascinating day of Specsavers County Championship action at Emirates Old Trafford with the visitor’s closing the rain-shortened proceedings 80 runs behind with four first-innings wickets remaining.
At the start of the second day Lancashire, looking to build on their overnight total of 297-9, achieved their first objective by scoring the three runs they needed for a third batting point from the first over of the day bowled by Simon Harmer. But Harmer then finished the innings two overs later when Tom Bailey swept the spinner to Neil Wagner at deep backward square leg to be out for 38 with Lancashire having only added four runs to be 301 all out.
Graham Onions struck early in the Essex reply with a beautiful delivery that nipped back sharply to bowl Varun Chopra for 3, the batsman playing no shot.
But that was the only Red Rose success before lunch as Alastair Cook and Tom Westley fought back with an excellent second wicket partnership, although Cook was fortunate to survive a chance at slip when on 18 with the score 50-1. The England opener went on to compile a lovely half-century from 91 balls striking 9 fours with Westley also looking in good touch with a series of crisply struck boundaries.
The break for lunch seemed to do the trick for Lancashire with four wickets falling soon after the resumption for the addition of just 11 runs.
Joe Mennie made the breakthrough when Cook edged behind to Dane Vilas for 58 to end a 110-run partnership, with Westley following one run later after the batsman was deceived by a beautifully flighted yorker from Mennie to depart for 41.
Dan Lawrence played across the line to be lbw to Onions for 2 and Mennie took his third wicket when Ravi Bopara edged an away swinger to Liam Livingstone at second slip for 6 to leave Essex 130-5 in the 35th over. Mennie’s post lunch spell of 3-8 from 8 overs had turned the innings on its head.
But the visitors rallied with another healthy partnership as Ryan ten Doeschate and Adam Wheater combined to frustrate the Red Rose attack by adding 81 runs in 21 overs, although Wheater was twice dropped on 1 and 25.
It took a sensational run out by Vilas to break the alliance just before tea. Ten Doeschate, on 43, pushed Matt Parkinson towards short cover and set off for a quick single. The wicketkeeper, celebrating his 33rd birthday today, raced from behind the stumps and his accurate pick up and mid-air throw found the Essex skipper just short of his ground at the bowler’s end. It was an astonishing piece of work by Vilas who was rightly mobbed by his team-mates in celebration.
That left Essex on 211-6 and they had added ten runs to that total before rain ended play for the day seven balls after tea.
Joe Mennie hailed a good couple of days at the end of the second day’s play with Essex.
“The boys showed real fight after the start yesterday,” he said.
“Shiv and Clarky batted really well and then Bunny (Onions) slogged a few at the end! It capped a good fightback.
“Today we started well with the ball but then started going both sides of the wicket. They got a few runs on the board pre-lunch but after that we bowled a lot better.
“We had a good chat (at lunch) and spoke about what we needed to do. So to go out and execute that was really nice. The calibre of players we got out was nice and it has put us in a good position.”
Looking ahead to the third day Mennie added: “Ideally we want to take four quick wickets and give ourselves a bit of a lead.
“They’re going to try and get close to our total or maybe past it with who they’ve got in the shed. So it’s evenly poised.
“The first session tomorrow morning is going to be a big one.”
And Mennie was full of praise for the run out executed by Dane Vilas this afternoon.
“You’re not going to see many better (than that),” he said. “To throw the ball in mid-air and hit the stumps, it was an unbelievable run out.
“You’ve got two blokes batting who are very quick between the wickets and for Dane to get that run out was something we needed. They had a good partnership going and were doing it pretty easily so it was very crucial for us to get that breakthrough.”
And Mennie is thoroughly enjoying his first season of county cricket.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “The lads have been really good and the cricket has been really high standard.
“To come up against other players has been good for me. I’ve done a bit of homework and watched some footage on players I don’t know a lot about. It’s been a good learning experience.”
Match Report: Lancashire v Essex, Day Three
Lancashire fell to a five-wicket defeat against defending champions Essex after being shot out for 105 runs in their second innings at Emirates Old Trafford today.
After two evenly contested days in this Specsavers County Championship match, the Red Rose were undone by Essex duo Jamie Porter, who took 5-30, and Simon Harmer with 4-34 during the third afternoon.
Lancashire’s bowlers then had Essex in early trouble at 41-4 before the visitors eased to their target late in the evening session.
The day got off to an unexpected start with a medical emergency after a spectator was taken ill outside the pavilion during the fourth over of the morning. A dramatic landing on the outfield by the air ambulance meant play was suspended while treatment was administered by the medical crews that had arrived both by ambulance and by the helicopter.
When play restarted 35 minutes later it was Tom Bailey who made the breakthrough with an outstanding spell of three wickets, all lbws, for 4 runs in 14 deliveries. Harmer was the first to go, ending a 42-run partnership for the 7th wicket, before Adam Wheater (41) and Porter departed within the space of three balls during the 77th over to leave Essex on 260-9.
Neil Wagner and Sam Cook then combined to rally the visitors with a 42-run alliance for the last wicket, Wagner hitting one six and 3 fours in making 29 as Essex, somewhat unexpectedly, ended up with a one run lead, all out for 302.
With 12 minutes to bat before lunch Lancashire made a dreadful start to their second innings losing both Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies to catches in the slips before a run had been scored.
Haseeb Hameed followed soon after the break edging behind off Porter for 4. And matters got worse very quickly as Liam Livingstone was lbw to Porter for 17, to a delivery that kept low, Dane Vilas drove Harmer to Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg for 4 and Jordan Clark fell to a second ball duck lbw to Porter whose initial 10-over spell of 4-22 was quite outstanding.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul became the seventh wicket to fall when he was lbw to Harmer for 10 with the score on 41 and it looking distinctly likely at that point that Lancashire might not reach their lowest total against Essex of 70 set at Southport in 1978.
An attacking partnership of 34 runs in 8 overs between Bailey and Joe Mennie ended that possibility before Bailey fell to a bat/pad catch at short leg off Harmer for 16.
Graham Onions made 13 and Matt Parkinson was last man out for 1, leaving Mennie unbeaten on 32 in a total of 105.
Onions then took three early wickets in a fine spell from the James Anderson End sending back Varun Chopra, Alastair Cook and Tom Westley. And when Mennie castled Dan Lawrence the visitors were 41-4 still needing 64 more runs for victory.
But Ravi Bopara and ten Doeschate settled any nerves with a 52 run partnership to take their side to the brink of victory, the Essex skipper skying a catch off Parkinson with just twelve runs required, before Bopara (36 not out) and Wheater finished the job.
Liam Livingstone admitted that Lancashire were “beaten by the better team” following the loss to Essex.
“I don’t think we’ve played enough good cricket over the three days to warrant winning the game,” he said. “You can’t be 40 for 4 and 40 for 7 and expect to win.
“I think we’ve been out-batted and out-bowled.
“We’re obviously disappointed and it hurts to lose. But we’re not halfway through the season yet and there’s still a lot of cricket to be played. It’s up to us as players to start winning games. We haven’t been good enough, especially in this game.
“We’ve got to learn quickly and come back better against Worcestershire.”
And Livingstone did not shy away from where he feels the side are coming up short.
“Our bowlers have taken wickets this year which has been good,” he said.
“I don’t think we can blame our bowlers for losing this game. It’s on our batsmen to start standing up and getting some runs.”
“I’m one of the batsmen that’s struggling,” he added. “But I don’t feel like I’m out of nick. It’s about trying to find the balance of playing your own natural way and also giving yourself a chance.
“And I think we’ve got a lot of talent in our top five. It’s about time we started turning that talent into big scores and winning some games for Lancashire.
“I don’t think we are a million miles away from doing that. We’ve got the quality to do that. We have shown it at different parts of the year but we haven’t clicked at the same time yet.
“Hopefully in the second half of the season we can all start scoring some runs and winning some games.”
Livingstone will be handing over the captaincy for the next two Championship games while he’s on England Lions duty along with Matt Parkinson, and reflecting on his first year in the job he said: “I knew it was going to be tough when I took over as captain.
“It’s my first season and I’m not going to be the perfect captain in two months. So to go away and freshen things up (with the Lions), I’m sure I’ll be raring to get back to do well for Lancs.
“The games (against Worcestershire and Hampshire) are two big games. Hopefully we can start putting in some good performances in those games. If we win them it will put us back in a good position.