Lancs fall to a five wicket defeat against Essex
Match Report: Lancashire v Essex, Day Three
Lancashire fell to a five-wicket defeat against defending champions Essex after being shot out for 105 runs in their second innings at Emirates Old Trafford today.
After two evenly contested days in this Specsavers County Championship match, the Red Rose were undone by Essex duo Jamie Porter, who took 5-30, and Simon Harmer with 4-34 during the third afternoon.
Lancashire’s bowlers then had Essex in early trouble at 41-4 before the visitors eased to their target late in the evening session.
The day got off to an unexpected start with a medical emergency after a spectator was taken ill outside the pavilion during the fourth over of the morning. A dramatic landing on the outfield by the air ambulance meant play was suspended while treatment was administered by the medical crews that had arrived both by ambulance and by the helicopter.
When play restarted 35 minutes later it was Tom Bailey who made the breakthrough with an outstanding spell of three wickets, all lbws, for 4 runs in 14 deliveries. Harmer was the first to go, ending a 42-run partnership for the 7th wicket, before Adam Wheater (41) and Porter departed within the space of three balls during the 77th over to leave Essex on 260-9.
Neil Wagner and Sam Cook then combined to rally the visitors with a 42-run alliance for the last wicket, Wagner hitting one six and 3 fours in making 29 as Essex, somewhat unexpectedly, ended up with a one run lead, all out for 302.
With 12 minutes to bat before lunch Lancashire made a dreadful start to their second innings losing both Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies to catches in the slips before a run had been scored.
Haseeb Hameed followed soon after the break edging behind off Porter for 4. And matters got worse very quickly as Liam Livingstone was lbw to Porter for 17, to a delivery that kept low, Dane Vilas drove Harmer to Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg for 4 and Jordan Clark fell to a second ball duck lbw to Porter whose initial 10-over spell of 4-22 was quite outstanding.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul became the seventh wicket to fall when he was lbw to Harmer for 10 with the score on 41 and it looking distinctly likely at that point that Lancashire might not reach their lowest total against Essex of 70 set at Southport in 1978.
An attacking partnership of 34 runs in 8 overs between Bailey and Joe Mennie ended that possibility before Bailey fell to a bat/pad catch at short leg off Harmer for 16.
Graham Onions made 13 and Matt Parkinson was last man out for 1, leaving Mennie unbeaten on 32 in a total of 105.
Onions then took three early wickets in a fine spell from the James Anderson End sending back Varun Chopra, Alastair Cook and Tom Westley. And when Mennie castled Dan Lawrence the visitors were 41-4 still needing 64 more runs for victory.
But Ravi Bopara and ten Doeschate settled any nerves with a 52 run partnership to take their side to the brink of victory, the Essex skipper skying a catch off Parkinson with just twelve runs required, before Bopara (36 not out) and Wheater finished the job.
Liam Livingstone admitted that Lancashire were “beaten by the better team” following the loss to Essex.
“I don’t think we’ve played enough good cricket over the three days to warrant winning the game,” he said. “You can’t be 40 for 4 and 40 for 7 and expect to win.
“I think we’ve been out-batted and out-bowled.
“We’re obviously disappointed and it hurts to lose. But we’re not halfway through the season yet and there’s still a lot of cricket to be played. It’s up to us as players to start winning games. We haven’t been good enough, especially in this game.
“We’ve got to learn quickly and come back better against Worcestershire.”
And Livingstone did not shy away from where he feels the side are coming up short.
“Our bowlers have taken wickets this year which has been good,” he said.
“I don’t think we can blame our bowlers for losing this game. It’s on our batsmen to start standing up and getting some runs.”
“I’m one of the batsmen that’s struggling,” he added. “But I don’t feel like I’m out of nick. It’s about trying to find the balance of playing your own natural way and also giving yourself a chance.
“And I think we’ve got a lot of talent in our top five. It’s about time we started turning that talent into big scores and winning some games for Lancashire.
“I don’t think we are a million miles away from doing that. We’ve got the quality to do that. We have shown it at different parts of the year but we haven’t clicked at the same time yet.
“Hopefully in the second half of the season we can all start scoring some runs and winning some games.”
Livingstone will be handing over the captaincy for the next two Championship games while he’s on England Lions duty along with Matt Parkinson, and reflecting on his first year in the job he said: “I knew it was going to be tough when I took over as captain.
“It’s my first season and I’m not going to be the perfect captain in two months. So to go away and freshen things up (with the Lions), I’m sure I’ll be raring to get back to do well for Lancs.
“The games (against Worcestershire and Hampshire) are two big games. Hopefully we can start putting in some good performances in those games. If we win them it will put us back in a good position.
Points: Lancashire 6, Essex 22.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh