Late wickets boost Lancs at Southport
Matches at Southport are rarely boring and the Trafalgar Road ground lived up to its pre match billing on an eventful first day in this Specsavers County Championship match against Durham with 13 wickets falling.
Two late wickets swung the game back on to a more even keel as far as Lancashire were concerned after the visitors had enjoyed the better of the day up to that point
At the close Durham had reached 88-3 to trail by 116 runs after bowling Lancashire out for 204, with Alviro Petersen and Steven Croft scoring half centuries in testing conditions.
Lancashire made three changes from their previous Championship game against Notts with James Anderson, Simon Kerrigan and Tom Moores replacing Liam Livingstone (away with England Lions), Jordan Clark and Neil Wagner, with Moores making his first-class debut.
Skipper Croft won the toss and elected to bat after Durham declined their option to bowl first, but the visitors maybe were not too disappointed to be in the field as Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions found bounce and movement in overcast conditions.
It was Rushworth who made an early breakthrough when Tom Smith edged the sixth ball of the day to third slip where Ben Stokes took a good catch low down.
Haseeb Hameed broke the shackles with an authentic straight drive for four off Onions in the seventh over moments after edging the same bowler low through the slips to the third man boundary.
Hameed was dropped on 9 by Paul Collingwood at first slip off Ben Stokes with the Durham skipper going off the field requiring treatment to his left hand and not returning.
The drop did not prove costly as Hameed was out in the next over when Paul Coughlin was rewarded after finding some additional bounce as the 19 year-old edged to Keaton Jennings at first slip to leave Lancashire on 26-2 midway through the 18th over.
Luke Procter had earlier pulled Onions to the mid-wicket fence and repeated the shot when the Durham paceman dropped short again two overs later as he combined with Alviro Petersen to patiently rebuild the innings.
Petersen twice pulled Coughlin for four before tucking into Championship debutant Adam Hickey, hitting the young off spinner for 4 and 6 as lunch approached.
It was a good fightback by the pair who reached the break on 81-2 and they had extended their partnership to 66 early in the afternoon before disaster struck.
Procter, having been dropped at second slip by Stokes off Onions, then nicked Coughlin to wicketkeeper Michael Richardson for 30 in the following over.
Petersen, who had continued his fine form in reaching his half century from 57 balls, then mis-judged a second run to Jack Burnham at mid-wicket to be run out for 51.
When Karl Brown edged his fourth ball from Onions to first slip, where Jennings took a juggling catch, Lancashire at 105-5 had lost three wickets for 13 runs in 20 balls.
It could have been worse as Moores was dropped at third slip by the normally reliable Stokes from the very next ball, leaving Onions aghast.
Commendably Moores did not let that miss affect him and settled down to strike four fours in making 25 in a partnership of 41 with Croft before nicking Jennings to Richardson with the score on 146-6 in the 52nd over.
It was Croft who held the innings together during the afternoon session, batting with positive intent throughout, no more so then when he deposited Jennings on to the pavilion roof at mid-wicket in the 56th over.
Kyle Jarvis made 2 before becoming the seventh wicket to fall when he drove Jennings hard and straight only for the bowler to take a smart catch that reduced the Red Rose to 168-7.
Croft struck out with four more boundaries before he lost another partner when Kerrigan edged behind for 11 shortly after tea to make the total 195-8 and Matt Parkinson was bowled for 0 by Rushworth with only two more runs added.
It was Anderson who helped Croft take Lancashire to a batting point, with the Lancashire captain reaching his half century from 91 balls before being the last man out for 54 when he gave Rushworth a return catch, the Durham bowler finishing with an excellent return of 4-30 with Lancashire all out for 204.
Anderson struck early in the Durham innings when Jennings edged to Croft at second slip to depart for 2, but the visitors rallied from 7-1 with Mark Stoneman striking Jarvis for four boundaries in one over and forging an important alliance with Borthwick.
The evening session proved to be one of frustration for the Red Rose attack with Anderson in particular close to another wicket on several occasions.
The day ended on a much better note however when Procter struck with two wickets just before the close.
Stoneman and Borthwick had added 69 runs in 17 overs before Procter struck with his fifth delivery when Stoneman edged to wicketkeeper Moores having made 40.
Burnham then edged Procter to Croft and second slip in the final over of the day to leave the visitors on 88-3 and 116 runs behind.
“I think we would definitely liked to have score more runs today,” said Alviro Petersen.
“It’s a good wicket and there is something in it for the seamers, the spinners and the batters. If you stay in your areas as a batsman you can score runs, but at the same time the ball is swinging and seaming which makes it a good cricket pitch.
“The wicket isn’t doing plenty, it’s doing enough. If you bat well you can score runs and if you bowl well you can pick up wickets. It’s started spinning and will spin more as the game goes on.
“The ball was moving around this morning and it was important we didn’t lose too many wickets (in the first session).
“Unfortunately having lost two wickets at lunch we got bowled out for 204, so we lost eight wickets for 120 runs. That’s one area we could have improved on perhaps to get to 250 or 300 and we would have been well in the game.”
Looking ahead Petersen added: ““On days three and four the wicket will spin more.
“(Tomorrow) first of all we have to try and bowl them out and maybe get a lead and then put them under pressure with the bat and ball.
“I though Jimmy (Anderson) was a bit unlucky (to not pick up more wickets) and he bowled beautifully. Jarv struggled a bit today but he’s a class bowler and will come back. Proccy bowled in decent areas and it was difficult to score.
“If one or two of those playing and missing (shots) had resulted in a wicket they could have been five down tonight.
“Tomorrow if we put the ball in the right areas, make sure they don’t score a lot of runs and at the same time put pressure on them, we can pick up wickets.
It was an unfortunate dismissal for the South African batsman today and a slightly rueful Petersen said: ““It always nice to score runs but also you know that you can’t always score hundreds every game.
“If I score one run then I say I’d like to score thirty. If I score thirty I then say I would like to score fifty, and if I score fifty then I then want to score a hundred. Basically I’m never satisfied, I always want to score more!
“It would have been nice to lead the team in terms of runs but it (the total) is what it is. We’ve got two hundred and we have to defend that.
“The last thing you want to see is a lot of wickets falling in clumps so I was a little bit disappointed (after I was out).
“It’s always hard to get a start on that sort that sort of wicket with the bowlers bowling in decent areas.
“So seeing the batters coming after me losing their wickets, it’s not nice.
“But that’s the way the game goes. Another time they walk in, the ball is a bit older and it’s easier.
“That’s cricket, it was a little bit tough (today) for them, but we’ll have to pick ourselves up. “
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh