Wagner on song with six-wicket debut
Neil Wagner bowled himself into the Lancashire record books with a sensational six-wicket haul on his Red Rose debut at Emirates Old Trafford today.
The New Zealand international took 6-66 as Nottinghamshire were bowled out for 242 after electing to bat, and Lancashire ended the first day of this Specsavers County Championship match on 21-1 in reply.
Nottinghamshire waived their right to bowl first under the new rules this season and skipper Chris Read elected to bat after winning the toss. Lancashire also gave a first-class debut to batsman Liam Livingstone.
Openers Steven Mullaney and Greg Smith made a bright start, Mullaney cutting and driving successive deliveries from Kyle Jarvis to the boundary in the fourth over. Jarvis struck back to remove Mullaney for 19 when the batsmen pushed at a ball that left him off the wicket-the edge comfortably held by Alex Davies behind the stumps-to leave the visitors 31-1 in the 8th over.
The Notts batsmen were more circumspect against James Anderson whose first spell of eight overs yielded just 11 runs, with new batsman Michael Lumb greeted by a beauty from the England ace that just failed to find an edge. It was Jarvis who made the next breakthrough after replacing Anderson at the Pavilion End, nipping the ball back to trap Lumb lbw for 14 to make the score 48-2.
New overseas signing Neil Wagner was introduced to the attack in the 14th over, and the left-arm paceman immediately found a good line and length, starting with three consecutive maiden overs before claiming his first Red Rose wicket when Smith drove loosely to Livingstone at cover point to depart for 17 with Notts now 56-3 in the 24th over.
The New Zealand paceman found some swing to trouble the batsman and it was not long before he struck again. Smith had somehow survived a close call from a swinging delivery that missed his wickets by a fraction but he was not so fortunate two balls later, inside edging a full in-swinging delivery from Wagner on to his stumps to depart for 17 after a patient innings that had spanned 68 balls.
Riki Wessels nearly became Wagner’s third victim when inside edging the New Zealander for four, but he survived to reach lunch on 11 with Samit Patel 2 not out, and it had been Lancashire’s morning with the visitors on 73-4 at the break.
Wessels punched a lovely back foot drive for four off Jarvis at the start of the afternoon session before Notts were rocked by the loss of two further wickets in five balls. First, Jarvis trapped a static Patel lbw for 11 to claim his third wicket, before Wagner beat Wessels’ hesitant push to also claim his third victim of the day, the batsman lbw for 27.7
From 98-6, Read and Stuart Broad staged a recovery during the middle part of the day. Broad indulged in some uncomplicated hitting, riding his luck at times when edging over the slips, but his 45-ball innings included some fine strokes through cover. Broad finally departed when he was bowled for 43 after missing with a huge swing at a Simon Kerrigan delivery, having added 74 runs in 17 overs for the seventh wicket with Read.
Jake Ball then continued to attack, cutting an astonishing six off Jarvis over wide third man-with a fielder in position if the ball had fallen short-and later pulled the same bowler over the mid-wicket rope for a second maximum as the score rattled along at a merry pace with Notts 215-7 at tea. Ball also hit three boundaries before his enterprising 38-ball innings came to an end at 33 when he edged an attempted steer over the slips from a short ball from Wagner to wicketkeeper Davies instead.
Jackson Bird had made just 1 when he gloved an attempted pull to Davies to give Wagner his fifth wicket, and Chris Read was the last man out for a fine 52 when he top edged a pull off Wagner to Kerrigan on the fine leg boundary.
Wagner’s 6-66 is the ninth time a Lancashire bowler has taken six wickets or more on his Red Rose first-class debut, and the first since Ted McDonald in 1924. They are also the best Red Rose figures on debut since Alf Hall took 6-23 in 1923.
With 19 overs to bat, Lancashire lost Karl Brown, lbw to Ball for 0, but Luke Procter (17 not out) and Haseeb Hameed (6 not out) defended stoutly to reach the close on 25-1, 215 runs in arrears, on a hugely entertaining and absorbing day’s cricket.
“It was a great day, and obviously I’m quite pleased with the result,” he said. We’re in a pretty good position, and it’s been quite a good day. Kyle (Jarvis) and Jimmy (Anderson) bowled well up front this morning and it made my job a bit easier coming on after them. “It’s a good pitch, it didn’t do as much as we thought it would so you have to be patient and put the ball in the right areas. We did that, and got the right rewards. You can try too hard sometimes and leak some runs, so you had to stay patient.
“There was a little bit of swing today, it’s something I’ve worked on and it was lovely bowling with a Duke’s ball!
“I was a little bit rusty this morning, it’s my first game for about seven weeks, but I’m pretty happy with how it went.”