Parkinson enjoys a day to remember
A day of fluctuating fortunes in which twelve wickets fell provided some excellent, absorbing cricket in this Specsavers County Championship match against Warwickshire, and a day to remember for young leg spinner Matt Parkinson who claimed two important wickets on his debut.
Halfway through this contest, the game is intriguingly poised with the visitors closing on 202-6 in reply to Lancashire’s first innings 308.
Resuming Lancashire’s first innings on 196-4 Steven Croft and Karl Brown steadily added 38 runs to their fifth wicket partnership on the second morning with Brown twice cutting Patel for four to reach his half century while Steven Croft reverse swept Jeetan Patel for four on his way to a 199-ball hundred, the eleventh of his career.
The introduction of the new ball after 80 overs brought immediate success for Warwickshire who brought themselves right back into the game with two key wickets for two runs in three overs.
Brown was the first to go when he was lbw to Barker for 61 from the last ball of the 81st over after adding 143 with Croft in just under 46 overs.
Croft departed moments after reaching three figures, and the Red Rose skipper was somewhat unfortunate when his flick at a wayward leg side delivery from Rikki Clarke found a nick to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose having made exactly 100 and leave Lancashire on 236-6.
It left two new batsmen, Liam Livingstone and Arron Lilley, at the crease facing the new ball and Lilley was the next go for 12 when his fiercely struck drive was caught at the second attempt by Boyd Rankin off his own bowling to deepen Lancashire gloom at 253-7 in the 89th over.
Neil Wagner made 5 but just before lunch glanced Oliver Hannon-Dalby down the leg side with wicketkeeper Ambrose making good ground to take the catch as Lancashire reached the break on 278-8 from 96 overs.
Kyle Jarvis was lbw to Rankin for 8 soon after the resumption, but debutant Matt Parkinson lent good support to Livingstone to help Lancashire go past the 300 mark and claim a third batting point.
Parkinson was the last man out, bowled by Patel (3-87) for 9 as Lancashire ended their first innings on 308 all out.
Livingstone finished with 34 not out to take his tally of runs batting at number 7 this season to 383 at an average of 76.59.
Warwickshire replied with an opening partnership of 54 between Varun Chopra and Andy Umeed before Jarvis struck with two wickets in two balls in the 14th over to take his season tally to 30 wickets.
Umeed had made 18 but playing forward edged Jarvis to second slip where Tom Smith took an excellent diving catch to his left. Ian Bell then pushed at a delivery that swung away enough to find an edge that was well taken low down by Livingstone at first slip to leave the visitors on 54-2.
The score had moved on to 67-2 when Parkinson was brought in to the attack for the first time, but the leg spinner had only bowled three deliveries when play was stopped due to loud interference from the PA system. An early tea was taken while the fault was rectified with Parkinson concluding an unusual debut over 20 minutes later.
Smith then had Chopra dropped on 47 off his first delivery but Lancashire were soon celebrating again as Parkinson struck twice.
The leg spinner’s second over will live longer in the memory than the bizarre first as the youngster took his first wicket, Jonathan Trott pushing towards the leg side but deceived by the spin and edging instead to Livingstone at slip for 3.
Parkinson, who had set off in the general direction of Stretford when celebrating his first wicket, was being mobbed again when Chopra, having made 59, gloved an attempted sweep off the leg spinner that was caught one-handed by Croft to leave the Bears on 90-4.
The drama of an absorbing afternoon continued as Smith struck twice in two balls to leave Warwickshire reeling on 94-6 in the 28th over.
Sam Hain, playing back, edged to Croft, the wicketkeeper taking a great diving catch in front of first slip, and Rikki Clarke was lbw to the following delivery meaning six wickets had fallen for 40 runs in 14 overs.
Tim Ambrose and Keith Barker steadied matters with 15 runs from the following 10 overs before Ambrose doubled that tally somewhat fortuitously from one Jarvis over with four fours, one off the outside edge past slip followed by an inside edge past his stumps plus a couple of more authentic glances to third man and fine leg.
Barker also put bat to ball in decisive fashion, reaching fifty from 72 balls including one six and 7 fours, in an unbroken partnership of 106 to revive the Warwickshire innings as the fortunes of the two sides took another twist during the late part of the evening session.
Barker was 57 not out and Ambrose unbeaten on 48 at the close with the visitors on 202-6, trailing by 106 runs.
Matt Parkinson admitted to having a dream debut, despite an unusual start to his bowling spell.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” he said. “It was a dream start (for me), although I was gutted when we came off after three balls.”
A faulty Emirates Old Trafford P.A. system was to blame for the stoppage, and Parkinson said, “I’ve never had that happen before, noise stopped play!
“I think we would have carried on playing, but Jonathan Trott didn’t want to continue as it was disturbing him and I’m not sure how we would have reacted in his position. It was a bit confusing but I was just glad to get back on after the interval.
“To get Trott out in my second over was amazing and I kept going from there.
Parkinson’s celebration was memorable with the young off spinner admitting, “It was a proud moment but I didn’t know what to do! I ran off like a madman really towards the boundary and then realised there was no fans in that stand, so I ran towards the first player I saw! It was good.”
The unscheduled break did help Parkinson settle his nerves.
“I think it did in a way because after bowling the first three balls I had to start all over again,” he said.
“It made me focus a bit more having to come off. I don’t think it will ever happen again in my career, bowling three balls and having to wait 20 minutes to bowl the next three.
“I was itching to have a bowl having seen their spinner bowl 30 overs. With both me and Arron (Lilley) playing we knew it was going to spin. I just waited for my chance and was pleased I took it.
Before getting on to bowl, Parkinson had to perform with the bat, joining Liam Livingstone with nine wickets down and 11 runs required to secure a third batting point.
The pair achieved that goal with Parkinson saying: “I enjoyed batting earlier in the day. I’m working hard on my batting and trying to improve all the time. It was quite nerve-wracking facing someone like Boyd Rankin but I felt I did okay to get us over the 300 runs.”
The 19 year-old only found out he was definitely in the side yesterday morning.
“I had an inkling on Sunday that I might be in with a chance, but got told yesterday morning,” he revealed.
“I wasn’t expecting to play in Championship cricket just yet as I’ve only been in the one-day squads so far.
“Having been in the squad for a number of one-day games I’m targeting that side as well.
“I’m lucky in that Keggsy is not fit to play (in this game) but it does create opportunities for me and Arron and I’ve just got to push now to play in all formats.
“But today is a day I will not forget.”
Photo of Matt Parkinson by Simon Pendrigh