Lancashire seal ten wicket victory against Northants
Lancashire took 8 minutes and 2.4 overs to score the sixteen runs they required for victory against Northants this morning to make it two wins from two games in the Specsavers County Championship and go second in the Division Two table.
Haseeb Hameed straight drove Luke Procter for four to clinch victory and be not out on 13 while Keaton Jennings scored four as Lancashire finished on 17-0.
The 21-point victory sets up next week’s visit by early leaders Worcestershire, who also clinched their second win in two matches today, as an early season ‘top of the table’ clash in Division Two.
That game starts on Monday (20th April) at Emirates Old Trafford.
A “delighted” Dane Vilas hailed an emphatic win by his Lancashire side today.
“It was another good team performance,” said the Red Rose captain. “And that’s important for both me and the whole squad.
“I’m glad everybody got a good run and that there were some good individual performances in a comprehensive win.
Team work has been the difference for Vilas so far this season.
“We had a lot of good individual performances last year,” he reasoned. “But we couldn’t string them together. Either the batsman did well or the bowlers did well but not at the same time.
“The last two games we’ve played, here and at Lord’s, the bowlers have set it up, the batsmen have done their job, and then the bowlers have finished it off.
“So it’s been good and there have been some encouraging signs for us. There’s a good buzz in the squad and everyone is happy and challenging each other. We’ve had someone sticking their hand up at the right time for the team which is perfect.”
Vilas was delighted for Richard Gleeson getting ten wickets on his home debut saying: “His passion and desire to do well for us is really good. The most impressive thing was to follow his performance in the first innings with another ‘five-for’ in the second where he bowled incredibly well in a long spell.
“I kept asking him if he wanted another one (over) and he didn’t want to let the ball out of his hand, which was really good to see and encouraging. Hopefully he continues that form throughout the season.”
And as skipper Vilas couldn’t be more delighted with the bowling options available to him.
“You look at guys like Bunny (Graham Onions) and Bails (Tom Bailey) who both got fifty plus wickets last year and were our standout bowlers. Then there’s Saqib (Mahmood) who bowled well in the one-dayers and has come into the side and push for a place.
“It means we have a four-pronged attack and also a guy like Jimmy Anderson in the wings. We are spoilt for choice and it’s good we have this competition.
“It’s a long season and we may have a bit of rotation where we have to try and get the guys at their peak at the right times for the team.
Vilas was also pleased with the discipline shown by the batsmen.
“There were probably a few questions when we won the toss and bowled, but we knew how we wanted to go about it. The best chance for us to win the game on that wicket was to bowl first and then bat well.
“We knew it would be a long hard slog and we only wanted to bat once. So the way Keaton Jennings controlled the innings at the start was impressive and his partnership with Rob Jones set it up for those of us further down the order.
“We had a bit of a wobble but the way Bails came in and batted, I was really impressed. The partnership we had to take us beyond Northants first innings and then the way Saqib batted after that was really good.
“There was good focus and a ‘team first’ approach which helped to make the bowlers job a little bit easier by having that big lead.
“Scoreboard pressure on a wicket like that, where scoring quickly wasn’t easy, put a lot of pressure on their batters.”
Two wins out of two in the Championship is the perfect start, but Lancashire’s captain isn’t about to get carried away.
“We’ve been encouraged by the way we have played this last six weeks and the standard of cricket we are setting,” he said.
“We want to take it one game at a time though. We know our goals at the end of it, but we know it’s a long competition. We’ve got nine weeks of Championship cricket now and some big games so we need to make sure we focus on the next game.
“I think the most important thing is keeping our standards high and doing what we need to do in order to play our best cricket.”
Photos: Barry Mitchell
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