Honours even after Anderson five-wicket blast
A five-wicket haul by James Anderson, his 18th for Lancashire and 46th in first-class cricket, helped bowl Worcestershire out for 172 on the opening day of this Specsavers County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford.
But the visitors fought hard to recover from a disastrous start of 38-7 and stay in the game with a lower order rally, and the day ended with Lancashire’s reply struggling at 88-5 and still 84 run in arrears.
Anderson (5-25) and Graham Onions (3-52) found conditions to their liking, with the ball nipping around, and the pair combined to produce an astonishing clatter of wickets when play began as Worcestershire, who had turned down the opportunity to put Lancashire in to bat first by opting to toss, found themselves seven wickets down inside the first eighty minutes.
It was Onions who struck first removing Daryl Mitchell, caught at slip for 1, and Tom Fell lbw for 3. Anderson backed that up with three more; George Rhodes bowled for 1 with Riki Wessels and Callum Ferguson both lbw for 8 and 6 respectively. Onions then bowled Ross Whiteley for 10 and Anderson had Ed Barnard well caught at second slip by Liam Livingstone for a duck to leave a stunned Worcestershire on 38-7.
Two fifty partnerships helped the Division Two leaders fight back. Ben Cox and Wayne Parnell fashioned an initial recovery either side of lunch with a 52-run stand in 20 overs as conditions eased in the afternoon sunshine. But the ball after Cox had posted the half-century alliance with a nice cover drive the visitors’ wicketkeeper inside-edged Ric Gleeson behind to Vilas after making 32.
Joe Leach then helped the recovery prosper further with a series of counter attacking shots in a 59-run partnership with Parnell for the ninth wicket that spanned 13 overs, before the Worcestershire skipper nicked a bottom edged cut to Dane Vilas to give Anderson his fifth wicket after making a run-a-ball 36.
Parnell went on to reach his half century before he was the last wicket to fall having made a patient 63 off 132 balls with Worcestershire 172 all out on the stroke of tea.
But Lancashire had early struggles of their own, losing Keaton Jennings for 3 to an excellent, leaping, catch by Fell at fourth slip off Leach, and Jake Lehmann, making his Red Rose first-class debut having replaced Joe Burns in the overseas spot, for 8 after the left handed batsman edged Parnell to first slip.
Haseeb Hameed had played nicely in making 29 before falling lbw to Morris and the same could be said of Rob Jones who had scored 25 before departing to a juggling catch at second slip by Mitchell off the bowling of Parnell just before the close.
That brought Anderson to join Livingstone (17 not out) at the crease but Parnell rounded off a good day following his earlier half-century by trapping the nightwatchman lbw from the fourth ball of the final over, leaving Lancashire on 88-5 and still 84 runs in arrears.
“It’s a tricky day to assess,” said James Anderson.
“Obviously we’re hugely disappointed to lose those two wickets at the end of the day. I thought we were in a decent position at 82-3 but they are right back in the game.”
The day got off to a remarkable start with seven early wickets and Anderson said: “I thought the pitch did enough with the new ball. We bowled really well and once the newness of the ball goes and the pitch got flatter, it felt slower and it got easier to bat on.
“When they were 38-7 we could have potentially bowled them out a lot cheaper than we did.
“But that’s the nature of the game. I thought Parnell batted really well to get them up to a decent score.
“We were pretty happy to bowl them out for 172. After winning the toss on an Old Trafford wicket that looked really good this morning we thought it was a good effort. “
Lancashire had their own struggles with the bat, and Anderson admitted: “We felt that once you get through the new ball the pitch is pretty good. So we are a bit disappointed with the way we batted today.
“Every time we showed signs of building a partnership we lost a wicket at an inopportune moment so it was a bit frustrating.
“The wicket is going to stay pretty good and a lead in the first innings will be crucial.
“It’s down to the guys that are left but we bat quite deep.
“It’s a lot of pressure on them, but we need them to come through tomorrow.
Anderson started the day with a long 12 over spell.
“It was a good test for the bruised knee,” he grinned.
“I enjoyed that first partnership with Graham (Onions) at the other end.
“I thought we asked a lot of questions and got the rewards towards the end of the spell.
“But I probably wouldn’t want a 12 over spell every time I open the bowling!
“Today was one of those days where you get into a rhythm and get on a roll and it was right I kept going.
And Jimmy was delighted to get another ‘five-for’ for Lancashire.
“It’s my job to get wickets,” he said, “and to take a five-wicket haul is always special.
“I don’t feel like I’ve done a lot for Lancashire in recent times because I’ve not played that much so it was nice to contribute.
“If we are going to be successful in this division we need everyone to chip in at times. Last week it was Richard Gleeson with the ball, today it was me. We’re going need everyone to contribute.”
Photo: Barry Mitchell
Sponsored by C&C Insurance