Southport game evenly poised after engrossing second day
Southport provided a second day of engrossing cricket in this Specsavers County Championship match with the game evenly poised. Lancashire on 59-1 in their second innings are only 28 runs behind.
Durham were indebted to Scott Borthwick and Paul Collingwood who both made half centuries to help their side establish a first innings lead of 87, while James Anderson signed off with three wickets before departing for England duty tomorrow with Nathan Buck coming in as his replacement.
Durham resumed their first innings on 88-3 but it proved to be a morning of frustration for the Lancashire attack with Anderson, Luke Procter and Kyle Jarvis inducing several false strokes from Borthwick and Ben Stokes as the Durham duo rode their luck to add 43 crucial runs in 24 overs.
Stokes edged Anderson between third slip and gully and then saw Anderson, diving low to his left, get a hand to another edge off Procter but fail to hang on to what was a difficult chance.
When Borthwick edged between the slips and gully moments later, you could forgive Procter for cursing his luck and lack of reward during an outstanding 9-over spell that yielded 14 runs and probably the same amount of false shots.
Anderson, who took 1-10 from 6 overs yesterday, was equally unfortunate not to add to his tally today conceding ten runs from his first six over spell, and when Borthwick twice inside edged past leg stump during the first over from Kyle Jarvis it seemed all the fortune was with the visitors.
After ninety minutes Steven Croft turned to spin and was immediately rewarded when Matt Parkinson struck with his first ball.
Stokes, having made 21, pushed forward only to give a bat/pad chance back to the 19 year-old leg spinner who took a smart catch diving forward.
Simon Kerrigan followed that with an absolute beauty of a ball that beat Borthwick in the flight before turning to knock back off stump and leave Durham 149-5 still 55 runs in arrears.
Borthwick’s obdurate 64, the highest innings in the match to date, had been instrumental in guiding the visitors towards parity, but they suffered a further blow on the stroke of lunch when Michael Richardson edged Jarvis to Croft at first slip for 28 to leave the score on 169-6 and the game finely poised.
Collingwood and Coughlin swung the match back firmly Durham’s way during the afternoon with a gritty partnership of 71 in 30 overs, although Coughlin had a moment of fortune on 19 when his edge off Kerrigan went between wicketkeeper and slip for a boundary that also took their alliance past fifty.
Collingwood, playing with split webbing on his left hand that was damaged when dropping a catch yesterday, produced a typically determined innings in making 50 off 104 balls, including one straight six off Kerrigan and a second off Anderson that landed on the adjacent railway lines at mid-wicket.
It was Jarvis who made the breakthrough with the new ball when bowling Coughlin for 26 with a delivery that seamed away to clip off stump.
Anderson then struck twice in quick succession on his way to figures of 3-58 with Adam Hickey (0) and then Collingwood both edging behind where Tom Moores took two fine diving catches.
At that point Durham were 250-9 and leading by 46, but last pair Chris Rushworth, with 30, and Graham Onions (15 not out) proceeded to add 41 extremely valuable runs before Rushworth swept Richardson to Procter at deep backward square leg to end the innings at 291 with a lead of 89.
In the context of the game, it was a sizeable advantage and Lancashire suffered an early blow when Tom Smith nicked Onions to wicketkeeper Richardson for 1, with just 3 runs on the board.
Haseeb Hameed and Luke Procter fought back well during the final hour with an unbroken partnership of 56 runs to put the Red Rose right back in contention on 59-1 at the close just 28 runs behind.
Hameed is 24 not out and Procter has 22 and with the wicket continuing to offer assistance throughout to both seamers and spinners while rewarding good batting, we look set for another exciting day tomorrow.
“It’s quite well poised,” agreed Simon Kerrigan.
“We’ve batted well this evening and it was important. It was a big session. Hass and Proccy played really well and we’ve got a lot of fight left now for tomorrow.
Kerrigan feels that this is not quite like the usual Southport pitch, saying “it’s a good pitch. The (wet) weather last week meant it wasn’t really possible to get a flatter pitch with more spin. But it has ended up being a really good cricket wicket.
“If you bat well you can get runs, but you watch someone like Jimmy (Anderson) bowl with the new ball it’s nearly always going past the bat.
“The wicket is turning now but there’s still plenty in it for the seam bowlers, which we didn’t see last year.”
“They have got a lead and our first task is to get level. But you never know with this pitch.
“Last year it deteriorated quite quickly so you don’t know what a good score is going to be, 150 might be a tough chase if you get wickets early on.
“It’s what you get with outgrounds you get good pitches with something in it for everyone and it makes for exciting games.”
Kerrigan was understandably happy to be back in the side.
“I’m really happy to be back and bowling well,” he said.
“I didn’t get much of a bowl in the seconds in the last few weeks due to the weather.
Kerrigan produced a great delivery to dismiss Borthwick earlier but admitted he hadn’t seen the video but added, “it came out nice and our analyst has said it’s a good ball so I’ll be having a look tomorrow!”
“Coming to Southport it’s usually a two spinner pitch, so I’m looking to prove my worth in the side by bowling well in the second innings.”
Photo: Matt Parkinson catches Ben Stokes of his own bowling (c) Simon Pendrigh