Lancs demolish Surrey to go top
Lancashire blasted their way to the top of the Specsavers County Championship table after demolishing Surrey by an innings and 96 runs at Emirates Old Trafford with more than a day to spare.
Kyle Jarvis starred with both bat and ball, scoring important runs at the start of the day before ripping his way through the Surrey batsmen after lunch on his way to career-best match figures of 11-119.
It was an utterly compelling performance from Steven Croft’s side who bossed all three days of this game and nicely sets up the Roses clash at Headingley starting on Sunday.
Jarvis and Simon Kerrigan gave Lancashire a flying start to the day with an exhilarating tenth wicket partnership of 63 in 14.1 overs that not only added an extra batting point but took the Red Rose lead to an imposing 203 runs.
The pair both hit a boundary in the first two overs of the morning to score the 8 runs required for a fourth batting point and, with their first objective achieved, set about adding to the overnight 151-run first innings lead.
Kerrigan took consecutive fours off Tom Curran while Jarvis tucked in to Stuart Meaker on a couple of occasions with a cover drive and a thumping straight drive to move the score along quickly.
Their 50 partnership arrived from 63 balls and meant Kerrigan had shared in three consecutive tenth wicket partnerships of 50+ runs against Surrey, following the two last season (62 with James Anderson at Emirates Old Trafford and 52 with Jarvis at the Oval).
Four leg byes and a lofted straight drive off Gareth Batty by Kerrigan, who finished unbeaten on 32, ended the scoring as Jarvis finally went for 35 after glancing Meaker down the leg side to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, but it was an excellent start to the day that had seen 52 runs scored off 9.4 overs.
Before the start of play Surrey opener Rory Burns had been ruled out of taking any further part in the game with mild concussion after being hit fielding at short leg yesterday.
It meant Tom Curran came out to open for the first time in his career, indeed he had never batted higher than number 7 in the order before, and both he and Arun Harinath endured a difficult forty minutes as Tom Bailey and Jarvis regularly beat the bat without reward.
It was Bailey who finally made the breakthrough in the 11th over when Harinath edged behind to Alex Davies for 16 with the score 27-1.
Kumar Sangakkara, on a ‘pair,’ produced a glorious cover drive for 4 from the third delivery he received, but five minutes before lunch the Sri Lankan departed for 8 after being deceived by a slower delivery from Neil Wagner that he ballooned up to Jarvis at mid-off.
It was a significant wicket that left Surrey in trouble at lunch on 58-2, still 145 runs away from making Lancashire bat again and the Red Rose side rammed home their advantage during the afternoon.
Jarvis led the attack with his second five-wicket haul in the match as the visitors’ lost 7 wickets for 49 runs in 117 balls after the break.
And it was Jarvis who got the boulder rolling with two wickets in one over, trapping Jason Roy lbw for 9 and two balls later inducing an edge from Ben Foakes that was snapped up by Davies.
James Burke followed after top edging a pull off Jarvis that was well held by Liam Livingstone running back from slip and then Steven Davies, batting down the order after missing most of yesterday with illness, played loosely outside off stump against Bailey to give Davies another catch.
Jarvis took his tenth wicket of the match by bowling Gareth Batty for 3 and then celebrated a career-best moment when trapping Mathew Pillans lbw for 4 to leave the Surrey innings in tatters at 84-8.
All the while makeshift opener Curran had batted stoically at the other end, and he reached a well-deserved fifty when pulling Wagner for 4.
Wagner extracted his revenge next ball by dismissing Curran for 53 to end the match at 3pm as Lancashire ran out convincing winners by an innings and 96 runs.
It was also the first time since 1952 that Lancashire have won their first three home games at Emirates Old Trafford.
Lancashire gained 23 points from the match and Surrey 3.
“After losing to Durham last week and then the T20, to bounce back is fantastic,” said Ashley Giles. “It’s a very good Surrey team (we’ve beaten), although I don’t think they’re at the best by any means.
“To have lost the toss again at home, on what looked like a pretty good batting surface and bowl them out four under 200 was a great effort.
“All the way through the game we showed a lot of discipline and again no shortage of skill.
“Alviro’s innings was world class, and Jarv has certainly hit his straps again.
“At lunch today we thought we needed to get our two most attacking seamers back into action although I don’t think any of us expected to have the tumble of wickets we saw.
“It was a great performance and Jarv on that sort of pitch is lethal because if it keeps a little bit low and keeps nipping about that’s just how he gets his wickets; bowled and lbw. It was almost a wicket that could have been built for him.
“I’ve been really impressed the way Tom Bailey has bowled. If he can bowl that way all year he will certainly pick up his fair share of ‘five-fors’ as well. Having lost Jimmy Anderson (to England) the way Tom has come in to the side and settled over the last two weeks has been a real positive for us.
“All we’ve spoken about this campaign is being extremely disciplined. If we control the scoring rate and consistently hit the top of off stump, we’re going to be in a good spot. Even if partnerships are put on against us, if they are not going anywhere you are always in the match. There was a period at Durham last week where we didn’t do that and it looked like we almost took our eye off the ball.
“This match I thought we were superb. To win three out of three at home on what is a notoriously difficult ground to get a win is a fantastic start for us.
“We are all excited now about going to Headingley.
Steven Croft was naturally delighted to have won so convincingly.
“It was an excellent win,” he said. “I thought we played some brilliant cricket with both bat and ball.
“There were some standout performances from Alviro and Jarv, and it was a great team effort again.
“The partnership this morning set the tone for the day. We got the 8 runs for the batting point-Kegs said it was never in doubt-and we carried that on with the ball.
“Kyle Jarvis and Tom Bailey were awesome; Jarv picked up the wickets while Bails did a great holding job and was unlucky not to have come away with more wickets himself.
“It was great partnership bowling backed up well by all the other bowlers as well.
“Once we got on top we were ruthless and didn’t let them go.
Croft isn’t about to get carried away despite the great start to the Championship campaign.
“We are taking it on a game by game basis,” he said. “At home, we’ve done really well and it will be a good challenge going to Headingley.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh