Friday 27 - Monday 30 April 2018
It was a case of 'deja vu all over again' to quote the famous baseball player Yogi Berra after the first day of the Lancashire-Surrey Specsavers County Championship match fell foul to the weather, just like the opening day of the championship season two weeks' ago.
Rain started falling at Emirates Old Trafford about one hour before the start of play and it continued to rain steadily throughout the day with play finally abandoned just before 2.30pm.
With a better forecast for Saturday, we will hopefully get under way tomorrow with the start scheduled for 11am and extended play until 6.30pm or when 104 overs have been bowled.
Lancashire stage a good fightback against Surrey
Lancashire staged a great recovery after being put in to bat, reaching the close of the second day of this Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey on 352-8 thanks to three half-centuries from Jordan Clark, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Steven Croft.
In damp and seaming conditions, the Red Rose made a poor start with the first three wickets falling for 15 runs in the space of 18 balls. Haseeb Hameed edged Jane Dernbach to Dean Elgar at second slip for 4 while Alex Davies departed for the same score to a superb diving catch by Matt Dunn at short midwicket after the batsman had driven forcefully at a Dernbach half volley. Keaton Jennings had essayed two lovely cover drives for four during the opening half hour before he became the third man out falling lbw to Sam Curran for 15 two deliveries later with Lancashire in peril at 23-3.
Three consecutive boundaries off Dernbach by Liam Livingstone were the first stirrings of a fightback, followed swiftly by Shivnarine Chanderpaul who stroked a further three fours from Ryan Patel's first over. A cut for four by Livingstone brought up the fifty partnership and Lancashire went in to lunch in a much happier state on 94-3, but that mood was soon punctured after lunch when Livingstone was lbw to Dernbach for 48 to end an 88-run partnership.
Dane Vilas responded with three consecutive boundaries off Matt Dunn but then fell to a quite brilliant one-handed catch by Scott Borthwick at second slip, diving low down to his right off Sam Curran-brought on to replace Dunn, for 13 with the score a precarious 128-5 in 44th over.
Steven Croft, who had replaced Matt Parkinson in the only change from last week’s match against Essex, helped to rally the innings, sharing a gutsy 78-run partnership with Chanderpaul across the rest of the afternoon. Chanderpaul had looked fairly untroubled throughout, reaching his half century off 123 balls, and he brought up Lancashire’s first batting point of the season with three boundaries in four balls off Patel just before tea. Unfortunately the Guyanan left-hander departed for 65 in the last over before the break when his mistimed lofted drive off spinner Amar Virdi found Borthwick at mid-off to leave Lancashire on 206-6.
Croft, with two centuries to his name already this season, had driven Curran for consecutive fours before tea and he went on to reach an 81-ball half-century with a six over mid-wicket off Virdi in the second over of the evening. However, he became the seventh wicket to fall with the total on 252, after making 62 when edging an attempted sweep off Virdi that was well caught by wicketkeeper Ben Foakes running round to the leg side.
Having joined forces with Croft straight after tea, Jordan Clark produced a hugely impressive innings batting from the number 8 spot. A couple of crunching boundaries off Dunn in the first over of the evening session set the positive tone that persisted through the final part of the sunny but chilly day with Curran, having taken the new ball, later despatched for consecutive fours. The fifty partnership arrived from 98 balls when Clark drove Virdi through extra cover for four, with Joe Mennie contributing only eight runs but invaluable support at the other end.
The pair had extended their alliance to 69 runs with seven overs of the day left when Surrey produced the third great catch of the day, Ollie Pope somehow diving to his left and holding on to a fiercely struck slog/sweep from Clark off Virdi; the bowler delighted, the batsman disbelieving but out for an otherwise excellent 78.
Mennie followed his innings of 56 at Chelmsford last Monday with another nicely judged innings of 35 and he will resume tomorrow morning with Tom Bailey (15 not out), the pair steering Lancashire to a third batting point just before the close, with the Red Rose on 352-8.
A flurry of wickets late in the evening have put Lancashire firmly on top after three days of this Specsavers County Championship match, with Surrey losing seven batsmen during the final session to reach the close on 231-9, still 208 runs behind to leave the match intriguingly poised going into the final day.
Joe Mennie and Tom Bailey produced a memorable hour of batting when play got under way in bright sunshine at eleven o’clock. The pair hammered the Surrey bowlers to all parts of Emirates Old Trafford, adding 87 runs to Lancashire’s overnight total of 352-8 during 15 exhilarating overs and breaking a 135-year record with their ninth wicket partnership of 118 runs bettering the previous highest of 96 set by Alex Watson & John Crossland in 1882.
Mennie struck 7 fours in his unbeaten 68-his second consecutive half-century following 56 against Essex last week-while Bailey posted a career-best 66 with 8 fours and a six scored from the ball before he was dismissed, as the pair hit out knowing the declaration was imminent. Amar Virdi picked up Bailey’s wicket from a catch on the mid-wicket boundary to finish with 4-80 with Lancashire calling a halt on 439-9 to make it a demoralising start for visitors.
Their day worsened when Graham Onions dismissed Mark Stoneman, bowled leg stump after moving too far across his stumps, for a duck in the second over but Scott Borthwick survived a big lbw appeal to help Rory Burns steady the innings by adding 98 runs for the second wicket either side of lunch.
The afternoon proved to be tough one for the bowlers with the wicket continued to flatten out and the batsmen playing cautiously, scoring 71 runs from the 33-over session, as the Red Rose attack probed for a breakthrough. The only success, from a Lancashire perspective, was enjoyed by Bailey when he found some movement and the outside edge of Burns’ bat to give Alex Davies a regulation catch to remove the visitors’ skipper for 28.
A third wicket arrived soon after tea when Borthwick’s determined three-hour stay ended when he edged Onions behind for 79 to leave Surrey on 131-3 while Davies, who had appeared to be in some discomfort when catching the ball earlier, was forced from the field for treatment with Dane Vilas taking over behind the stumps for the remainder of the day.
And the perseverance of the Red Rose attack was rewarded with late wickets on a blustery and cold evening.
Overseas batsman Dean Elgar, who made a century here last season with Somerset, had played some attractive strokes before edging behind to stand-in keeper Vilas off Bailey for 34 while Ben Foakes made the same score but was trapped lbw by Jordan Clark. When Liam Livingstone followed with the wicket of Sam Curran, lbw for 9, and Bailey cleaned up Ollie Pope with the first delivery using the new ball, the visitors’ were suddenly in a spot of trouble on 218-7 still 221 runs behind.
Their plight worsened when Jade Dernbach drove loosely at Bailey but found to Keaton Jennings at gully for 7 and Onions trapped Matt Dunn lbw for 1, with the last five wickets falling for 29 in 14.1 overs.
It was a remarkable conclusion to the day and Tom Bailey thinks there is every chance that Lancashire can push for victory tomorrow.
Lancashire's bowlers produced a valiant effort to push for victory on the final day of this Specsavers County Championship but came up against determined, and occasionally fortunate, Surrey resistance with the visitors, having followed-on, holding out for a draw with six wickets down in their second innings.
Graham Onions snapped up the final wicket of the first innings at the start of the day to finish with 4-49, with Surrey 235 all out and 204 runs behind. But the rest of the morning was one of frustration for the Red Rose attack as opening pair Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman survived several scares to reach lunch on 53-0. All the Lancashire bowlers came agonisingly close to making a breakthrough, Onions in particular when Burns bottom-edged a delivery that bounced just over the stumps. It was slow going with Stoneman taking 18 balls to get off the mark and just 11 runs scored in the first eleven overs.
Tom Bailey, who reached 100 first-class wickets during this match, struck in the first over of the afternoon when Stoneman feathered a catch to stand-in wicketkeeper Dane Vilas after making 29. And with no addition to the score Bailey removed Scott Borthwick’s off stump with a beautiful delivery which nipped back, the batsman playing no shot.
The visitors continued to defend stoutly, Burns and Dean Elgar scoring 15 runs in 12 overs until the Surrey captain inside-edged a Liam Livingstone delivery onto his pads, the ball looping up to Keaton Jennings at slip, for 33 with the score 68-3 at the halfway stage of the day.
Elgar-who had his bat snapped in two by a Joe Mennie delivery-was the next batsmen to go after making 14 in one hour of resistance, dabbing at a fairly full delivery from Jordan Clark and edging behind to Vilas, but Ben Foakes and Ollie Pope succeeded in reaching tea without further mishap on 103-4, still trailing by 101 runs.
Pope, dropped when on 12 five overs after tea, lent good support to Foakes as the pair batted steadily for 31 overs before being parted at the start of the final hour; Foakes reaching his half-century from 100 balls but then edging Bailey down the leg side to Vilas for 57 in the first over with the new ball. Pope followed two overs later, edging Bailey (4-13) to Livingstone at second slip for 41 with eight overs left to briefly raise Red Rose hopes.
Sam Curran and Ryan Patel held out to take Surrey safely through to the draw on 199-6.
Glen Chapple hailed the performance of his team-and the groundstaff-at the close.
“It was a brilliant performance on a good pitch,” he said.
“There was a bit in it on the first morning when we were asked to bat first-predictably-and after the first half hour I thought we played magnificent cricket, as good as you will see in this division.
“The effort from the lads was superb throughout, we controlled virtually every session of the match. There were some top-class performances, great partnerships and some real resilience and effort over the three days. It would have been an unbelievable effort to win in three days on that pitch. If it had gone the four days I think we would have come out on top.”
The Lancashire Head Coach was delighted with the efforts of the bowling unit.
“To a man I thought they were superb,” he said “It’s not an easy pitch to bowl on but they kept pressure on the Surrey batsmen. They asked questions, were aggressive but controlled at the same time.
“The purpose they’ve all shown and the fight to try and win the game, and the high skill levels is very pleasing.
“Anyone who has watched that game from start to finish knows we are playing well. We are here to fight for everything we can get in this division and we’ve shown we are a match for anybody.
And Chapple hailed Tom Bailey’s performance this week, adding: “To finish with figures like Tom has (8-67 in the match) is an unbelievable achievement to be honest. It just shows how much he is improving. Hopefully this is going to be a big year for him.”
Chapple also was full of praise for the efforts of the groundstaff.
“If you get bad weather early in the season, the team’s playing at home are going to be exposed. Matt (Merchant) did a great job with this pitch, he had two days of drying weather last week that enabled him to get a hard pitch together. In the first game of the season we didn’t have the weather to do that, it was a bit sticky, so the scores were low and not batter-friendly. This one was a great pitch. Credit to Matt and his team for producing it.
“I bet this pitch is probably most like a mid-season pitch and the best in the country at the moment. We’ve had a proper game of cricket here (this week).”
Looking over the season so far, Chapple said: “Everybody knows that all teams in this division are strong, I don’t think you can learn too much from early season results. Anyone who comes here will have to play good cricket if we keep those levels up.
“All we can control is our performances and this game we’ve got to be happy with. We’ve got to look to get points and it’s a very competitive division and we have to be focused on playing good cricket every day.
Alex Davies and Shivnarine Chanderpaul were injury absentees today and Chapple said: “Injury-wise fingers crossed Alex Davies is okay. He took a nasty blow on the thumb and stayed off as a precaution but he would have struggled to keep wicket. It hasn’t got worse which is a good sign.
“Shiv Chanderpaul will have to be looked at over the next few days. He’s got a very tight groin but we’ll see how he comes round into the middle of the week.
Points: Lancashire 12 Surrey 8