Glen Chapple has heaped praise on five-wicket debutant Simon Kerrigan after the left-arm spinner from Preston fired Lancashire to an opening round LV= County Championship win over Warwickshire at Old Trafford today.
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Warwickshire slumped to 197 all out, losing six wickets in the first session of the final day, in their unlikely pursuit of 319 in yet more helpful bowling conditions. Kerrigan, 20, finished with impressive figures of 5-43 from 17 overs as the 121-run victory was completed just nine overs into the afternoon session of day four.
They were the best figures by a Lancashire player on Championship debut since Australian Mick Malone took 7-88 against Notts at Blackpool in 1979.
“It’s an amazing achievement, and he’s bowled exceptionally well,” said a delighted Chapple. “Keggsy’s a good bowler. It doesn’t matter that it’s his first game, there was never any doubt about chucking him the ball. He bowled really well.
“He’s got a lot of belief in his own ability, he’s an intelligent bowler, and he knows what he’s about. That’s a great thing for me as captain.”
While Kerrigan took the majority of the plaudits, two wicket contributions from Tom Smith (2-27 from 14) and Sajid Mahmood should not go unmentioned, along with a tidy but wicket-less opening spell from Jimmy Anderson this morning.
Warwickshire had started today on the back foot at 52-3, having already lost key England pair Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. And they were down and out when Kerrigan struck three times in his first four overs of the day.
Jim Troughton and Rikki Clarke both fell to ugly swipes, the former caught at mid-on by a running Ashwell Prince and the latter stumped by Luke Sutton. Tim Ambrose was trapped lbw two balls after Clarke’s dismissal.
Kerrigan also had Chris Woakes caught at slip by Paul Horton before completing his five-for when he trapped Naqaash Tahir lbw.
The other wickets to fall were those of Neil Carter, caught at extra cover by Prince off Smith, and Imran Tahir, caught at short cover by Prince off Mahmood.
Warwickshire captain Ian Westwood top scored with an unbeaten 82, becoming the first Bears skipper to carry his bat in an innings since 1907, and he at least shared a last wicket stand of 63 with Imran (36) to save some embarrassment.
Chapple, who saw his side recover from 14-4 in the first innings and 113-6 in the second, continued: “Every win is a good win, but regardless of the opposition it’s important to get off to good start and maintain the belief you’ve built through pre-season.
“All through the game it’s been a fight, and right from the first session we knew it would be. But we had the team out there to come back and fight. We’ve done really well.”
Lancashire, who take 21 points from this fixture, face Essex at Chelmsford on Wednesday.