Clark and Chanderpaul lead Lancs fight back against Essex
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 9th wicket 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.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh