Young guns boost Lancs victory hopes
It was a tale of two 19 year-old’s today as Matt Parkinson claimed a five-wicket haul on his first-class debut to help bowl Warwickshire out for 263 and Haseeb Hameed led a Lancashire fightback with an unbeaten 81 as this topsy-turvey Specsavers County Championship match continued on its gripping journey.
The day ended with Lancashire on 170-5, leading by 215 runs at the close, with the final outcome tomorrow still in the balance.
Resuming on 202-6 and trailing by 106, Keith Barker and Tim Ambrose set a new Warwickshire partnership record of 125 for the 7th wicket against Lancashire at the start of the day, but moments after bettering the previous record of 123 from way back in 1911 Barker was out for 64 after edging a Tom Smith delivery that left him off the pitch, Steven Croft gloving the catch.
It was just the start Lancashire wanted with the visitors on 219-7 but Ambrose and Jeetan Patel steadily eroded the deficit with a 34-run alliance in 11 overs before the innings ended in sensational fashion.
After having ‘a day to remember’ with two wickets on his debut yesterday, young leg spinner Parkinson will be in dreamland tonight after taking three more wickets to finish with the outstanding figures of 5-49 as Warwickshire collapsed to 263 all out.
Having made 19, Patel top edged a sweep off Parkinson that looped straight to Neil Wagner at short fine leg. For the next delivery Parkinson turned the ball sharply to bowl Boyd Rankin through the gate, and two overs later produced another beauty that beat Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s forward push to end the innings with the visitors 45 runs in arrears and Ambrose left on 70 not out.
It was the first five-wicket haul on first-class debut by a Red Rose bowler since Simon Kerrigan’s 5-43 against Warwickshire at Old Trafford in 2010, and Parkinson is the youngest bowler ever to achieve this feat for Lancashire.
Parkinson is only the second England leg-spinner to take five wickets on his County Championship debut since 1946. Yorkshire’s Adil Rashid is the other with 6-67, also against Warwickshire at Scarborough, in 2006.
It was also nice to see a young leg spinner take his opportunity and perform so well, turning the ball sharply and troubling every batsman.
Buoyed by their effort with the ball Lancashire built on their lead cautiously with Tom Smith and Haseeb Hameed adding 52 for the opening wicket from 26 overs during the early part of the afternoon session.
Smith departed for 19 after top edging a pull off Rankin to Patel at deep square leg, while Luke Procter shared 35 for the second wicket with Hameed before edging Barker to Chopra at first slip shortly after tea having made 21.
This game however has been one of fluctuating fortunes throughout and it took another dramatic twist as Lancashire lost three wickets in 5 balls to unexpectedly find themselves in trouble.
For the fourth time in the match we saw two wickets fall in two balls, Alviro Petersen driving Barker to Clarke at cover for 5 and then Steven Croft nicking his first ball from Barker to wicketkeeper Ambrose.
Karl Brown took a single from the hat-trick ball but then edged Patel to Ambrose at the start of the following over to leave Lancashire on 104-5.
Hameed continued to repel everything the Warwickshire attack could muster, going to his half century from 128 balls and finding good support from Liam Livingstone during the latter part of the evening session.
Livingstone struck a Rikki Clarke delivery for six off the front foot high into the stands at long-on, but that exceptional shot was out of context to the more dogged approach required by the batsmen on a wicket still offering the bowlers some assistance.
The Red Rose pair, who came together when Lancashire were only a perilous 149 in front, batted with great determination to add a vital 66 runs by the close, Hameed on 74 and Livingstone on 29, extending the lead to 215 runs.
“We are in for a result, which is exciting, and I hope we are on the right end of it,” said Steven Croft at the close.
“I thought we scrapped hard today and finished off well.
“Parky (Matt Parkinson) bowled brilliantly for his five wickets. He thoroughly deserved them, they were all good wickets and he’s bowled out some very good players.
The Lancashire skipper was impressed with the control shown by the young leg spinner adding: “There was hardly a bad ball in any of his three spells and his accuracy was right up there. It was a testament to all his hard work and he’s a really exciting prospect.
Assessing a day of fluctuating fortunes, Croft added: “We lost a few more wickets than we would have liked with the bat (this afternoon), but we’ve built a good platform to kick on from in the morning.
“We wanted to be a bit more positive but Barker and Jeetan (Patel) bowled well all day. They kept it tight and got their rewards with those wickets.
“It’s quite a hard wicket to force the pace of run scoring on, and that could be good for us tomorrow. We will hopefully keep it tight and pick up wickets.
“If you occupy the crease for a time it’s a nice pace wicket, but it’s not really coming on well and it’s starting to spin more.
The other 19 year-old in the side, Haseeb Hameed also made a vital contribution as Croft acknowledged.
“Haseeb has shown in the handful of games he’s played he’s got a really mature head on his shoulders,” said Croft. “It was a really good knock, and an important one against a really good side.
Looking ahead to the final day Croft added: “We might have to bat a little longer tomorrow than we would really like, having lost those wickets today.
“But with three spinners in our side we could catch up some time. Ideally we are hoping to get a few wickets with the new ball and then with the spin.
“If we start well with the bat we can then attack more with the ball.
“We know the job isn’t done, and it’s a really important day.
“How we start is really important.”
Photo of Haseeb Hameed by Simon Pendrigh