Neil Wagner bowled himself into the Lancashire record books with a sensational six-wicket haul on his Red Rose debut at Emirates Old Trafford today.
The New Zealand international took 6-66 as Nottinghamshire were bowled out for 242 after electing to bat, and Lancashire ended the first day of this Specsavers County Championship match on 21-1 in reply.
Nottinghamshire waived their right to bowl first under the new rules this season and skipper Chris Read elected to bat after winning the toss. Lancashire also gave a first-class debut to batsman Liam Livingstone.
Openers Steven Mullaney and Greg Smith made a bright start, Mullaney cutting and driving successive deliveries from Kyle Jarvis to the boundary in the fourth over. Jarvis struck back to remove Mullaney for 19 when the batsmen pushed at a ball that left him off the wicket-the edge comfortably held by Alex Davies behind the stumps-to leave the visitors 31-1 in the 8th over.
The Notts batsmen were more circumspect against James Anderson whose first spell of eight overs yielded just 11 runs, with new batsman Michael Lumb greeted by a beauty from the England ace that just failed to find an edge. It was Jarvis who made the next breakthrough after replacing Anderson at the Pavilion End, nipping the ball back to trap Lumb lbw for 14 to make the score 48-2.
New overseas signing Neil Wagner was introduced to the attack in the 14th over, and the left-arm paceman immediately found a good line and length, starting with three consecutive maiden overs before claiming his first Red Rose wicket when Smith drove loosely to Livingstone at cover point to depart for 17 with Notts now 56-3 in the 24th over.
The New Zealand paceman found some swing to trouble the batsman and it was not long before he struck again. Smith had somehow survived a close call from a swinging delivery that missed his wickets by a fraction but he was not so fortunate two balls later, inside edging a full in-swinging delivery from Wagner on to his stumps to depart for 17 after a patient innings that had spanned 68 balls.
Riki Wessels nearly became Wagner’s third victim when inside edging the New Zealander for four, but he survived to reach lunch on 11 with Samit Patel 2 not out, and it had been Lancashire’s morning with the visitors on 73-4 at the break.
Wessels punched a lovely back foot drive for four off Jarvis at the start of the afternoon session before Notts were rocked by the loss of two further wickets in five balls. First, Jarvis trapped a static Patel lbw for 11 to claim his third wicket, before Wagner beat Wessels’ hesitant push to also claim his third victim of the day, the batsman lbw for 27.7
From 98-6, Read and Stuart Broad staged a recovery during the middle part of the day. Broad indulged in some uncomplicated hitting, riding his luck at times when edging over the slips, but his 45-ball innings included some fine strokes through cover. Broad finally departed when he was bowled for 43 after missing with a huge swing at a Simon Kerrigan delivery, having added 74 runs in 17 overs for the seventh wicket with Read.
Jake Ball then continued to attack, cutting an astonishing six off Jarvis over wide third man-with a fielder in position if the ball had fallen short-and later pulled the same bowler over the mid-wicket rope for a second maximum as the score rattled along at a merry pace with Notts 215-7 at tea. Ball also hit three boundaries before his enterprising 38-ball innings came to an end at 33 when he edged an attempted steer over the slips from a short ball from Wagner to wicketkeeper Davies instead.
Jackson Bird had made just 1 when he gloved an attempted pull to Davies to give Wagner his fifth wicket, and Chris Read was the last man out for a fine 52 when he top edged a pull off Wagner to Kerrigan on the fine leg boundary.
Wagner’s 6-66 is the ninth time a Lancashire bowler has taken six wickets or more on his Red Rose first-class debut, and the first since Ted McDonald in 1924. They are also the best Red Rose figures on debut since Alf Hall took 6-23 in 1923.
With 19 overs to bat, Lancashire lost Karl Brown, lbw to Ball for 0, but Luke Procter (17 not out) and Haseeb Hameed (6 not out) defended stoutly to reach the close on 25-1, 215 runs in arrears, on a hugely entertaining and absorbing day’s cricket.
Lancashire enjoyed the better of the second day in this Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire, reaching 311-8 to forge a 69-run lead with debutant Liam Livingstone making an unbeaten 63 and sharing a 62-run partnership for the 9th wicket with Kyle Jarvis who ended the day 36 not out.
Resuming on 25-1 at the start of the day two, Luke Procter and Haseeb Hameed started watchfully before going on to build a useful platform through the first hour of the day. Procter stroked Stuart Broad twice through the covers, but runs came slowly as the pair battled hard in the face of some accurate Nottinghamshire bowling. Their 50 partnership arrived from 158 balls, with just 31 runs arriving from the first hour’s play, but it was an invaluable start as Lancashire set about challenging the visitors’ first innings total of 242.
Notts hit back with two wickets in two overs. First Procter edged Harry Gurney to Steven Mullaney at second slip after compiling 33 from 98 balls, and Hameed feathered Jake Ball’s first delivery of the day to wicketkeeper Chris Read after making an obdurate 18 from 99 balls to leave Lancashire 57-3 at the start of the 35th over.
Alviro Petersen was quickly into his stride driving and then pulling consecutive Gurney deliveries to the boundary in the following over. A further straight drive for four off Ball was a delight, as was a savage square cut to the third man boundary off Gurney as the South African batsman bristled with positive intent.
Petersen brought up the Lancashire hundred with a good back foot drive for four through cover off Ball as lunch approached, and the second fifty partnership of the morning arrived from 74 balls just before the break which Lancashire reached on 108-3.
Steven Mullaney, brought into the attack just before lunch struck immediately on the resumption, inducing an edge from Steven Croft that wicketkeeper Read held diving across first slip, the Lancashire skipper out for 15 with the score 117-4.
Petersen and Alex Davies watchfully added 22 runs from the following ten overs before Davies twice carved Stuart Broad over the slip cordon to the third man boundary when the England bowler strayed wide, before straight driving Jackson Bird for 4.
Broad claimed his first wicket when Petersen on 48 lobbed a return catch to the bowler off a leading edge to leave the match evenly poised with Lancashire 156-5 and still 86 runs in arrears.
Debutant Liam Livingstone then combined with Davies to steer the Red Rose to near parity with a thrilling 72-run partnership either side of tea.
Livingstone drove Broad to long-on for his first boundary and flicked Samit Patel to the square-leg fence while Davies also hit a couple of boundaries to reach his half-century on the stroke of tea with Lancashire 206-5.
Notts claimed the new ball at the start of the evening session and soon celebrated the capture of Davies’s wicket when Jake Ball shaped a delivery into the Lancashire batsman’s pads to end his innings lbw for 55. Neil Wagner then drove Broad to Brendan Taylor at cover after scoring 1 to leave Lancashire on 229-7, still 13 runs behind.
James Anderson helped Livingstone take the Red Rose in to the lead before falling to his England opening partner Broad for 6 after edging behind to Read; 249-8 in the 94th over.
That was a prelude to a great finish to the day for Lancashire from the remaining 26 overs.
Livingstone, who earlier had driven consecutive Broad deliveries to the square cover boundary, continued in positive fashion to reach his fifty off 87 balls, and thus become only the fifth Lancashire player batting at number seven to score a half-century on debut.
Kyle Jarvis stroked consecutive fours to long-on off Bird, repeated the shot later off Mullaney for his third boundary, and produced a fine innings to help Livingstone add 61 vital runs by the close. The pair ensured a third batting point by reaching 304-8 by the end of the 110th over to frustrate the visitors and produce a healthy first-innings lead of 68 runs going in to the third day.
Lancashire are poised on the brink of victory after a superb bowling performance saw Nottinghamshire bowled out for 175 on this third day of the opening Specsavers County Championship match. It means Steven Croft’s side need 86 runs to win when play resumes tomorrow morning.
Neil Wagner was the Red Rose hero taking 5-45, finishing with match figures of 11-111, and his effort was well backed up by the rest of the attack on an absorbing day at Emirates Old Trafford.
Seven runs from the day’s first over heralded Lancashire’s positive approach to extending their first innings lead, but they were quickly pegged back when Liam Livingstone was lbw to Jake Ball’s first delivery of the morning for 70. Simon Kerrigan twice lofted Samit Patel to the long-on boundary in making 13 not out before Kyle Jarvis on 37 edged Patel to slip to curtail the innings at 332, a lead of 90 runs.
James Anderson and Kyle Jarvis then bowled some outstanding deliveries without reward when Nottinghamshire started their second innings. Both regularly beat the bat, with Greg Smith inside edging the unfortunate Anderson for four, while Jarvis started with five consecutive maidens and was desperately close to a breakthrough on several occasions.
Neil Wagner at one point bowled to a field with no-one bar the slips and gully on the off-side and several fielders in catching positions on the leg side, as Steven Croft attempted different strategies against two batsmen who were dogged in their resistance. Steven Mullaney and Smith, however, battled hard throughout the morning session to steadily erode Lancashire’s lead, and steer the visitors to 35-0 from 26 overs at lunch.
The afternoon session belonged to Lancashire who captured four wickets while restricting the visitors lead to 17 runs.
The first breakthrough arrived eight overs into the session when Anderson produced a beauty to remove Mullaney’s off stump, with the batsman departing for 21 from 104 balls after playing back to a ball that kept fractionally low.
Kerrigan followed that with the wicket of Smith for 41 who advanced down the wicket but drove straight to Croft at short cover, to leave Notts 76-2 still 14 runs behind.
Anderson, bowling from the Pavilion End, continued to beat the bat with Michael Lumb enduring a difficult start to his innings, and the England quick was also frustrated when having a couple of big lbw appeals turned down in a spell of 11-3-17-1.
New batsman Brendan Taylor struck Kerrigan over mid-on for four and then six, but then chipped the first ball of a new spell from Jarvis to Livingstone at mid-wicket to be out for 14 with Notts just in the lead at 93-3.
In the run-up to tea, Lumb played across a swinging delivery from Wagner to be lbw for 19 to make the score 99-4, which Samit Patel and Riki Wessels extended to 107-4 by the interval.
Lancashire then rammed home their advantage during evening session, although Wessels and Patel looked to have steadied matters when adding 34 runs during the first hour.
Then Wessels was lbw to Anderson for 16, Patel pulled Wagner to Livingstone who took a good, diving catch at deep square leg to depart for 18 and Broad was snapped up by Haseeb Hameed at short leg off Wagner for 4 to leave Notts in deep trouble on 155-7, only 65 ahead.
Lancashire’s new overseas bowler wasn’t finished though, taking two wickets in two balls just before the close when bowling Jake Ball for 5 and trapping Jackson Bird lbw first ball.
Chris Read survived the hat-trick ball and was 25 not out following his first innings half-century.
Anderson took the final wicket when Harry Gurney edged behind to Davies for 2, leaving Notts 175 all out and Lancashire needing 86 runs to win tomorrow.
Lancashire eased to an eight-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire to get their 2016 Specsavers County Championship campaign off to the best possible start.
Requiring 86 runs to win after bowling the visitors out last evening, Karl Brown drove Jake Ball for two boundaries in the first over but was then lbw to the bowler’s sixth delivery, while Haseeb Hameed edged Ball to Wessels at slip for 9 with the score 27-2.
Any slight nerves were calmed by Alviro Petersen who stroked the next ball for four and then glanced Stuart Broad to the fine-leg boundary in the following over.
Two further boundaries off consecutive balls by Petersen off Broad in the 14th over quickly took Lancashire to 62-2 and to within 24 runs of victory, the South African having raced to 25 off 16 balls at that point.
It was left to Luke Procter, who finished 35 not out, to finish the game in style, hitting Samit Patel for three consecutive boundaries and two balls later launching the spinner over long-on for six to clinch an impressive win, with Petersen finishing 31 not out and Lancashire gaining 22 points.
The two Lancashire debutants, Neil Wagner and Liam Livingstone will deservedly garner the main headlines from this victory, but this was also a great team victory on the back of two outstanding bowling performances.
While Wagner’s match figures of 11-111 are the second best by a Lancashire bowler on debut, the rest of the bowling attack deserve the highest praise for an outstanding effort on a wicket that did not offer them much assistance.
The Notts batsmen made little attempt to take on James Anderson, while Kyle Jarvis can count himself unlucky that his efforts were rewarded with just four wickets in the match. Simon Kerrigan persevered skilfully at the Statham End on a track that offered some slow turn, but his 38 overs helped Steven Croft rotate his pace attack and keep the pressure on the Notts batsmen.
Livingstone, a regular in Lancashire’s T20 side, looked assured on his first-class bow and he was involved in two crucial passages of play, helping Alex Davies add 72 runs for the sixth wicket and rescue Lancashire from the poor position of 156-5 while the 69 runs he added with Jarvis for the ninth wicket were chiefly responsible for Lancashire’s important first innings lead.
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