4/16/2017 0 Comments
Lancashire turned the screw on Day Three of their encounter against Surrey at the Oval. The hosts started on 118/2 with Rory Burns and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara at the crease, and the pair got off to a positive start sharing 99 for the third wicket. But when Burns (91) became the third man to fall for the ‘Rey with the total on 211 a mini Surrey batting collapse began. Sangakkara fell just five runs later as the Red Rose’s spinning duo of Simon Kerrigan and Steven Parry began to dictate proceeding. Parry had the Sri Lankan caught by skipper Liam Livingstone to fall for 46, Ben Foakes (9) and Zafar Ansari (3) were both bowled by Kerrigan whilst Dom Sibley was sold down the river by Ansari in between the two Kerrigan scalps to leave the hosts in all sorts of strife on 245/7 in pursuit of Lancashire’s mammoth score of 470. The Curran brothers (Sam and Tom) began to show some resistance as the hosts attempted to avoid the follow on and the siblings took the total to 262, still 58 runs adrift of avoid the follow on when Sam Curran edged through to Kerrigan off the bowling of Ryan McLaren to depart for 14. Thomas Curran was still going strong and found able assistance from his skipper Gareth Batty (33) as the ‘Rey edged closer and closer to that follow on target, but when Batty fell to Parry with the hosts still a couple of runs away from avoiding the task of having to bat again and probably putting themselves in a no lose situation given the game situation Parry went bang bang to put his side into a strong position. To nobodies surprise the visitors asked the hosts to bat again in fading light and dark cloud cover. After a brief break in the action for rain, Burns and Mark Stoneman strode out to the middles hoping to reach the close unscathed and they were going nicely until Kerrigan induced the edge from Burns to get the ball rolling in the second innings for Lancashire as they chase an unlikely victory in London. Stoneman and Scott Borthwick saw the rest of the day through to close on 55/1, but we have an intriguing final day in store.
Talking of unlikely victories, at Taunton, Essex secured a magnificent victory against all the odds against Somerset to bag their first Division One of the summer. Much relied on former England captain Alastair Cook as the visitors began Day three on 10/0 in pursuit of 255 on a pitch that had offered plenty for the bowlers on the previous two days. Cook started in positive fashion flaying a few boundary fours to get the scoreboard ticking over and to allay any fears that the pitch had plenty of demons in it. He, alongside Nick Browne, continued to play their shots as the duo shared a vital opening stand of 82 to steady any nerves in the Essex dressing room whilst also silencing the sizable Somerset crowd. Browne departed for a well-made 35 attempting to stamp his authority on the game, he chased a wide on and nicked off to Steven Davies behind the stumps to give Jamie Overton and the Somerset faithful some hope just as their heads began to drop. That brought England Lion Tom Westley to the crease, and it is safe to say he enjoys batting with Cook giving the fact the pair shared ample amount of time with each other last season at the crease. And the pair combined again brilliantly to nullify everything the Somerset attack threw at them, whether it be spin or pace. Cook played the anchor role only playing aggressively when the ball was there to be hit whilst Westley played the role of the aggressor as the Eagles continued to chip away at the Somerset total. The former England captain did survive some scares early on, but this innings will bring a smile to the faces of the England selectors as he looked in fine fettle throughout his 214-ball stay in the middle. He reached a deserved and crucial century for his side when Essex were on 199/1 he had faced 202-balls at the time hitting 16 fours. He fell soon after though attempting to hurry the game to its conclusion pulling part-time spinner Dean Elgar straight to James Hildreth to fall for 110, but by then his job was done, as Essex required just a further 39 for victory. Tom Westley – who had reached 50 just before Cook raised his bat for a second time looked in imperious form too as the Taunton pitch turned into a batsmen’s paradise. Westley, alongside Dan Lawrence, guided the Eagles to a memorable win in the West Country as Westley struck his fifteenth four of the match off his legs to seal the victory for the Eagles as he finished unbeaten on 86.
Meanwhile, Warwickshire suffered a batting collapse of epic proportions and will be performing the rain dance all night in the hope that the weather gods can save them from defeat. The White Rose continued the day on 295/6 with Andrew Hodd and Adil Rashid at the crease, Rashid went on to make a half-century before becoming the second man to fall on the third day after Keith Barker had destroyed Hodd’s (28) stumps. Rashid (65) fell soon after slashing a ball towards the diving Jonathan Trott who took a great grab to remove the England man off the bowling of Rikki Clarke. David Willey and Steven Patterson added vital late runs for the Tykes as they began to take the game away from the out-of-form Bears. When Warwickshire returned to the crease utter madness began as David Willey struck early twice to leave the Bears 4/2. The impressive young Ben Coad then got to work and took three rapid wickets to leave the hosts on 7 (yes SEVEN) for five with Trott, Ian Bell, Sam Hain and Tim Ambrose back in the hutch in a flash. The rain came to delay the carnage and when the weather improved William Porterfield and Clarke attempted to steady the ship but the latter edged Coad through to Lyth at slip to give the youngster his fourth and Yorkshire’s sixth to leave the Bears 29/6 and staring down the barrel of another disappointing heavy defeat. Barker and Porterfield could only add eleven before the all-rounder was dismissed after edging through to Hodd off the bowling of Patterson. That soon became 54/8 when Porterfield gave Coad another five-fer when he gave Bresnan a catch. Yorkshire were now seeking a day off on Easter Monday but Jeetan Patel and Chris Wright saw through seven overs to frustrate the White Rose. Wright though couldn’t reach close as leg-spinner Rashid bamboozled him to have his stumps disturbed. That left them nine down on 79, but they saw the day through to force final days play but you feel they are only prolonging the inevitable as they still trail by 118 with just one wicket in hand.
Lastly, for Division One, Hampshire looked to have gained the upper hand in their encounter with Middlesex. Nightwatchman Kyle Abbott (56) fellow South African Rilee Rossouw (99) and Gareth Berg (43) batted Hampshire into an unlikely lead. Abbott struck his maiden fifty for Hampshire to help to frustrate Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl, but it was his fellow Saffer who stole the show striking 99 before suicidally running himself out just one short of a deserved ton. By the time Middlesex started their second innings Hampshire had earned themselves a handy 82-run lead. Abbott’s dream day continued as he removed three of the top four Middlesex batsmen to give Hampshire hope of a final day success. The South African paceman removed Nick Gubbins (11), Sam Robson (8) and Stevie Eskinazi (45) as the visitors closed on 111/4 a slender lead of 29 going into the final day.
In Division Two, Liam Norwell enjoyed another good day at the office as Gloucestershire hurried to an innings win over Leicestershire in three days. Norwell collected match figures of 10-99 as he starred with the ball to help the Bristolians to a comfortable success. Starting the day on 165/6 and still well adrift of Gloucestershire’s 466/8dec they lost Clint McKay early on in the day as that man Norwell picked up his first of a memorable day bowling the Australian. Ned Eckersley though the only Leicestershire seemingly in any sort of form resisted everything thrown at him from David Payne and the irresistible Norwell. Eckersley shared 90 with Richard Jones (23*) but when Eckersley became Norwell’s fourth victim to fall for 88 the Leicestershire’s first innings soon came to an end as Norwell had number 11 batsman Gavin Griffiths caught at slip by Chris Dent. With a mammoth lead 207 to their name, Gloucestershire invited Leicestershire to have another go to reach their first innings total. In truth, the visitors never looked likely to force hosts to bat again and they were in all sorts of strife when Norwell and Payne ripped through the top order to leave the Foxes on 51/5. Ben Raine and Eckersley threatened to frustrate the hosts sharing 86 for the sixth wicket but when Raine was run out on 42 you felt as though the visitors’ chances of saving the game were all but gone. McKay attempted to force the hosts to bat again with a quickfire 29 before becoming Norwell’s fourth victim for the second time in the same day. Payne removed Jones for a duck to leave the hosts just one wicket away from their first victory of the season. Eckersley (85) dominated the strike and made another half-century, but even his heroics couldn’t deny Gloucestershire an innings win as he became the last man to fall to give Norwell his second five-wicket haul of the day to help his side to an innings a six-run success.
Earlier in the day, Worcestershire wrapped up a routine success over Glamorgan. The Welsh side began the day on 141/3 still some way adrift of making the Pears bat again, and they lost Colin Ingram early on to Joe Leach in the morning session to deliver a giant blow to the hopes of the hosts of saving the game. Aneurin Donald struck a vital half-century to at least make the Pears have to return to the crease as youngster Josh Tongue (5-45) and Jack Shantry (2-32) rushed through the lower order to leave the visitors with just 27-runs to win. They lost a couple in pursuit of their tiny target as Daryl Mitchell continues to struggle with the bat, but Tom Fell (15*) and Joe Clarke (2*) ensured the visitors would bag an easy win in the Welsh capital.
Bad light and rain ruled at Chester-Le-Street with just 69-balls delivered on the third day. During that brief time though Nottinghamshire managed to tighten their grip on the encounter collecting two wickets inbetween the rain. Jake Ball removed Ryan Pringle for two as he destroyed the stumps, whilst Harry Gurney ripped the off-stump out of the ground to remove Stuart Poynter. Much will rely on Keaton Jennings on the final day if Durham are to come away with anything in this encounter. They currently only have a slender lead of 58-runs with just three wickets remaining.
Elsewhere, Sam Northeast struck a stunning unbeaten 173 to put Kent in complete control of their encounter with Sussex at Hove. The Kent skipper hit 20 fours and four sixes in his explosive innings as the Spitfires strengthened their grip on the game as they stretch their lead beyond 400 going into the final day. Incredibly at one point Sussex had every fielder on the rope as they attempted to stem the flow of runs as Darren Stevens (71*) and Northeast ran the Sussex fielders ragged on the South Coast. Such was the rapidness of the Kent captains innings is the fact that by close his score of 173 came off 181 balls as he produced a somewhat limited over-esque display to guide his side to a position where his team cannot lose in Sussex, they lead by a huge 426 going into the final day.
Finally, fifties from Derbyshire’s Luis Reece and Billy Godleman has left the games with Northamptonshire destined for a draw. After Northampton had been dismissed for 307 after Max Holden top scored with 76. In a match that was largely delayed by rain and bad light in Derby, the hosts made the most of the 52 overs they faced. Reece and Godleman nullified a talented bowling attack to ensure the match would enter an intriguing final day. They lead by 116-runs as they will look to force a result on Day four. Reece hit seven fours in his unbeaten 69 whilst Godleman hit eight fours in his unbeaten 63 they close on 142 without loss.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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