Parkinson’s ‘ripper’ heads Lancs victory charge
Lancashire’s bowlers produced a great display with both bat and ball to claim the advantage at the halfway stage of this LV= Insurance County Championship match with Northamptonshire.
Saqib Mahmood (20), Tom Hartley (25) and Matt Parkinson (21 not out) combined effectively to add 41 very useful runs during the first hour of play, the latter two both making career-best scores.
Then the Red Rose attack combined to put Northants in big trouble on 87-8 by the middle of the afternoon with a fine display before captain Adam Rossington and former Red Rose spinner Simon Kerrigan revived the visitors innings with a solid 82-run partnership across almost 30 overs.
It took a quite magical delivery from Parkinson, (“I decided I was going to try and rip it”, he confessed) to break that alliance as Northants were eventually 177 all out with Lancashire reaching the close on 60-0 and holding a 188-run advantage going into the third day.
Lancashire’s first innings ended on 305 after that early success with the bat when Kerrigan collected a fourth wicket having Hartley caught at deep square leg, and it was a nice touch by the Northants team to insist the former Red Rose player lead the team off the field with Tom Taylor-who also took four wickets-joining the applause.
Mahmood returned with ball in hand to produce a hostile spell of fast bowling that accounted for two Northants batsmen in the remaining 45 minutes before lunch. Opener Ben Curran was the first to go for 9 after the left handed batsman edged into the slips where Steven Croft at second slip parried the ball to Hartley at third.
Emilio Gay fell for 7 in similar fashion after nicking a quick delivery low to Keaton Jennings at first slip, who made a superb catch to his left, to leave the visitors in early trouble on 35-2 at the interval.
Luke Wood made the next breakthrough, firing in a couple of short balls and then pitching up the next delivery which Ricardo Vasconcelos drove to Tom Bailey at midwicket to depart for 15.
That was the first of six wickets to fall for 42 as Northants’ afternoon fell apart in the face of some excellent Lancashire bowling.
Parkinson, turning his arm in a first-class game for first time since 2019, had Luke Procter caught for 6 after the former Red Rose man attempted to clear Josh Bohannon at mid-on. The leg spinner then snapped up a second wicket, Saif Zaib well caught by Croft at the second attempt at backward short leg after top-edging a sweep.
Bailey piled on the pressure with three wickets in 10 balls during a superb spell from the Brian Statham end; Rob Keogh lbw for 29 and then two in two balls when Taylor offered no shot but found his off stump cartwheeling away followed by Nathan Buck lbw first ball, leaving Northants in disarray on 87-8.
Kerrigan and visiting skipper Adam Rossington battled hard to successfully stop the rot, reaching a fifty partnership off 81 balls and steering their side to 144-8 at tea, and their determined, solid performance with the bat then prospered well into the evening session.
It was eventually broken by a quite outstanding delivery by Parkinson that pitched outside leg (“about five inches or so,” was the bowler’s assessment) and spun viciously to hit off stump with Rossington out for 49 and quite possibly as surprised as Mike Gatting was on this ground against another leg spinner in 1993.
Parkinson’s stunning delivery had ended a fine 82-run partnership and the visitors’ innings soon folded on 177 with a run out, Ben Sanderson beaten by Croft’s throw from square leg after setting off for second run, leaving Kerrigan unbeaten on 40.
That left Lancashire 18 overs to negotiate and Jennings (23 not out) and Davies batted with purpose to build the Red Rose lead, adding 60 runs by stumps with Davies thumping two straight sixes in his 36.
But everyone fortunate enough to be covering the game at the ground, and hopefully those watching the live stream, were left talking about one particular delivery.
Matt Parkinson admitted it was “good to be back playing,” after having a day to remember on his return to four-day action.
“It’s nice to be playing Championship cricket for the first time in a while. It’s been a long time coming,” he said.
“The last game that I played was in September 2019. I’ve played a few warm-up games in between but it was lovely to put the Red Rose on again.
Parkinson was called into action quite early in the Northants innings and he said: “Me and Tommy (Hartley) knew we’d have a role to play. It’s not a typical April pitch. It’s quite dry and there’s decent footholds as well so it’s lovely to bowl a decent chunk of overs at the stage of the season.
“I feel I’ve been bowling well in the nets and I was gutted to miss out on selection last week. My first over today went well and I went on from there really.
Asked about the delivery to Adam Rossington that has captured headlines today, Parkinson broke into a big grin explaining: “I was really frustrated actually.”
“Keggsy was slogging me for a few fours so I thought ‘sack it, I’m going to try and rip it’!
“Luckily it paid off.”
Those of us watching doubted if any luck was involved, and Parkinson added: “there were some decent footholds leg side so I tried to bowl it quite fast.
“Rossington had made forty-odd by then so to produce that for the team was fantastic.”
“It’s just nice to play some cricket again, especially for Lancashire.”
Looking at the game situation, Parkinson said: “getting up to three hundred this morning and then bowl them out for 177 on a day two pitch was fantastic. Hats off to Davo and Keats getting us to sixty by the close with a big lead has made it a great day.”