Nine wickets for Lancashire on a day of fluctuating fortunes
Report from Day One of Lancashire's LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Sussex at Emirates Old Trafford
Tom Haines rescued Sussex with a fine century after the Lancashire bowling attack had enjoyed early success on the opening day of the 2021 LV= County Championship campaign at Emirates Old Trafford.
The 22 year-old, who survived two difficult chances early in his innings, made an excellent career-best 155 to follow the century and 76 he made in Sussex’s pre-season friendlies with the visitors reaching 291-9 by the close.
Tom Bailey led the way with 3-43 for the Red Rose attack who persevered on a good wicket that offered some early assistance but played well throughout. Saqib Mahmood, Luke Wood and Danny Lamb each picked up a brace.
Lancashire’s bowlers made early inroads after visiting skipper Ben Brown had won the toss. Mahmood produced a beauty of a delivery that nipped back sharply to rip out Aaron Thomason’s off stump after the Sussex opener shouldered arms to the last ball of the fourth over. Bailey followed that by trapping overseas batsman Stiaan van Zyl lbw for 0 from the final ball of the seventh.
On a chilly and blustery day, catching a sharply travelling delivery was probably not the easiest skill to execute and Mahmood was a touch unlucky not to add to his tally when Haines, on 3, survived a difficult chance to slip. The left handed batsman had some more fortune when on 9 after his edged drive off Lamb flew wide of second slip where Steven Croft nearly pulled off a brilliant diving grab that almost rebounded to Rob Jones at gully.
Despite those setbacks Lancashire continued to prosper with the ball. Wood-on his Red Rose Championship debut-claimed the third Sussex wicket when Tom Clark swung the left-arm seamer’s fifth delivery straight to Lamb at fine leg to depart for a duck.
It was a testament to the accuracy of the Red Rose attack that more than an hour had passed before the first boundary of the day was struck by Haines who drove nicely through cover in the 15th over.
We were to see more of those strokes as the day progressed with the Sussex opener continuing to play his shots, adding a further seven boundaries to his tally on his way to a half century before lunch despite receiving treatment to a blow on the hand just before the break after being hit by a sharply rising delivery from Lamb.
By then he had lost the support of Brown who edged the second ball of Bailey’s second spell to Croft in the slips for 4, leaving Sussex struggling on 40-4.
Haines continued to prosper after the break, defending the good balls and cashing in on anything over pitched or wide. And having scored a century in a pre-season friendly, he moved remorselessly on to reach three figures once again from 177 balls when hitting his 16th four through backward square.
Lancashire hit back with two wickets; Delray Rawlins perishing for 18, lbw playing no shot to Wood, while George Garton edged Lamb to Keaton Jennings at slip for 10 to leave the visitors on 127-6.
But the best partnership of the day then followed with Ollie Robinson, who thumped the first six of the season over long-on off Hartley, batting with some freedom and lending great support with a contribution of 59 to a seventh wicket alliance of 126-a new record for the Sussex 7th wicket against Lancashire-that doubled the visitors’ score.
Robinson edged behind off Mahmood and was followed by Haines shortly after he had posted his 150 when pulling Mahmood for four to square leg just after the new ball had been taken but he finally departed for 155 after edging a drive off Bailey to wicketkeeper Davies just before the close.
There was time for Lamb to take his second wicket, Jack Carson lbw for 4, as Sussex ended a day of fluctuating fortunes on 291-9.
Tom Bailey felt overall it hadn’t been too bad a start today. “I think we are just about on top,” he reflected.
“We knew it was a good wicket coming into this game and we would have batted first as well,” he revealed.
”It’s a good pitch, especially for this time of year. We played on even better pitch last week against Derbyshire (in a pre-season friendly). I can’t wait for these green seamers to appear”, he laughed.
It was decidedly cold today at Old Trafford and Bailey added; “It was about five degrees, blowing a gale on a flat pitch! It’s not a bowler’s dream.
“But (joking aside) I thought the lads put in a really good shift. It was a solid day’s work. I thought we all put a good stint in.
“I’ve had a few niggles coming into this game so it was nice to get 20 overs in today and feel fresh.”
It was the first time Bailey had shared the new ball with Saqib Mahmood in over two years and the pair produced a fine opening spell.
“Yes, I thought we bowled really well,” he agreed, “and could have taken a few more. We were right on it from ball one.
“When their guy gets 150 and you drop him a few times before he gets thirty, you are battling a little bit.”
“But overall, we are happy (with how it went) today.”
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