Lancashire ease to eight-wicket win over Notts
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.
Naturally skipper Steven Croft was delighted to have made such a strong start.
“It was great to get our first win against such a really good side,” he said.
Croft was particularly pleased with bowling display, saying: “After losing the toss on a good batting wicket, we kept our discipline and especially in the second innings, I thought that was one of the best bowling displays as a unit I’ve been involved in at this club. It was a brilliant performance well backed up by the fielders.
“I thought Jimmy was top drawer and their batsmen didn’t get going throughout the whole innings. Kyle Jarvis picked up where he left off from last year and Simon Kerrigan did well, there was a little bit in it for him even though it’s April. It was a really good cricket wicket.
“Partnerships are something we work on with bat and ball and I thought we did that well in both departments.
“It was a great batting effort, led by Liam (Livingstone) and with Wags (Neil Wagner) cleaning up with the ball it was a great game for both of them on their debuts.
“It was a good dominant win against a side with a lot of international cricketers in it.
Lancashire now have a week with no cricket before they travel to Taunton to face Somerset in the County Championship on Sunday week.