Lancashire lost their first match of the LV= County Championship season today, beaten by an innings and 125 runs by new leaders Durham at the Emirates
Resuming day four on 69-3 with Mark Chilton and night-watchman Gary Keedy at the crease, the pair frustrated the home attack for nearly an hour during a fourth wicket partnership of 25.
But the visitors’ chances of securing a draw were severely undermined as they lost five wickets for 22 runs to slip from 94-3 at the end of the 39th over into trouble at 116-8 at the end of 50th.
Ninth wicket pair Luke Procter (15 not out) and captain Glen Chapple ensured the contest made it into its penultimate session, but only just.
Chapple and Kyle Hogg were ousted within 28 balls of play beginning after lunch, and Lancashire were all out for 148 inside 60 overs.
Chapple could not argue with the result, which was his side’s first reverse in seven four-day matches this term.
He said: “We’ve played a very good team playing good cricket, and I think our standards probably dropped a bit as well. The result is a set-back.
“We need to brush up on some of the things we did in this game and get back to how we were playing previously. We’ve got to take it on the chin because we were out-played.”
Chilton (25 off 87 balls) was the first wicket of the day to go when he edged Mitch Claydon to Gordon Muchall at first slip, the ball bouncing a tad more than expected and the batsman failing to get his blade out of the way.
That left Lancashire at 94-4, and Keedy followed less than three overs later as he tried to sweep left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell and was bowled for 12 off 45 balls.
Steven Croft was the next to depart, in the 45th over, trapped lbw off the bowling of Graham Onions. That left the visitors at 106-6 in the 45th.
Gareth Cross mised an attempted cut and was bowled by Blackwell with 109 on the board in the 46th over.
And Tom Smith was the last wicket to fall before lunch – the eighth of the innings – when he was caught by Michael Di Venuto off the spin of Blackwell. Smith looked to have inside edged a sweep onto his pad, which looped up to the Tasmanian at slip.
Chapple then took two successive boundaries off Onions’ bowling, one edged over the slips and the other emphatically cut forward of point.
But Lancashire went into the break at 133-8 from 55 overs, still trailing by a 140.
And Durham did not have to wait too long for their ninth wicket, that of Chapple. He failed to clear Dale Benkenstein at deep backward point as he tried to uppercut Claydon in the second over of the session.
Hogg was then bowled by Blackwell in the 60th over to end the contest, leaving the former England one-day spinner with figures of 4-34 from 16.4 overs.
Chapple continued: “It was just that 10 percent in all areas. We still competed, the effort was superb throughout, but the quality of our bowling wasn’t as good as it has been, mine included.
“But it’s one performance, one loss, and that’s all. We’re still confident because we’ve had a fantastic start to the year. You’re not going to go through a season without losing a game.
Lancashire only claimed four points from this fixture compared to Durham’s maximum haul of 24. It leaves the North East side 17 points clear at the top of Division One, having played one game more, going into the break for Twenty20.
Chapple added: “It’s small margins when you play against a good team, and they played really well. They had a good partnership where we were a little bit unlucky. 330 is a massive stand (Stokes and Benkenstein), but we went past the bat countless times and dropped a couple of catches.
“They’re playing the best cricket at the moment. We had to come with our best game and we didn’t do that. They’re the best team we’ve played against all year, without doubt.”
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
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