James Anderson returned his best bowling figures in a Red Rose shirt since 2002 as Lancashire dominated the opening day of their LV= County Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford today.
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The 28 year-old England bowler, playing his final game before travelling to the World Twenty20 in West Indies on Sunday, claimed 6-44 from 20.5 overs to bowl the hosts out for 176.
Captain Glen Chapple, who won the toss and elected to bowl, also chipped in with an important and impressive 3-30 from 16.
Opener Stephen Moore then scored his maiden half-century for Lancashire, reaching 50 off just 37 balls as the visitors closed on 83-3 from 23 overs in reply. He finished with 61 off 58 balls, including ten fours and two sixes.
“We thought we all bowled very well, and we think that 176 is an under par score,” commented Anderson.
Essex were in disarray when Anderson and Chapple took two wickets each to reduce the score to 16-4 in the 14th over. Billy Godleman was caught by Paul Horton at first slip and Alastair Cook by Moore at second - both off Anderson – before John Maunders and Jaik Mickleburgh were trapped lbw by Chapple.
Sajid Mahmood then forced James Foster into a loose drive to Steven Croft at point and Anderson had Mark Pettini caught by Moore at second with the last two balls of the morning session.
Essex went into the break at 78-6 in the 30th over – and they were eight down 12 overs into the afternoon. Anderson had his fourth, courtesy of another Moore catch at second slip to dismiss Tim Phillips, before David Masters was caught at third by Tom Smith off the bowling of Chapple.
Dutch all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate shared a ninth wicket partnership of 70 with Chris Wright (21) to frustrate Lancashire in the afternoon. Ten Doeschate wore two nasty blows on the left-arm from Mahmood, but finished unbeaten on 55. Anderson, who claimed 6-41 against Somerset nine seasons ago, finished off the innings within 71 overs when he trapped Wright lbw and had Maurice Chambers caught behind by Luke Sutton.
While there was some help for the bowlers this morning, Lancashire’s success was more down to their ability to bowl a good line and length, and to cling onto all of their catches.
Anderson continued: “Me and Glen got off to a great start, having them four down early. They tried to fight back throughout the day, but we kept going. We knew that it wasn’t going to do a great deal. It looks green, but it is pretty flat. We bowled well, and put the ball in the right areas.”
Moore was then savage square of the wicket, particularly when pulling, before he was trapped lbw by Chambers. Smith had already been trapped in front by Masters for seven. Night-watchman Anderson was third to go, caught at fourth slip by ten Doeschate off Masters. Horton (11) and Ashwell Prince will resume on day two.
Anderson added: “It’s a pretty good pitch, although we’ve seen one or two go. Stephen Moore got one that rolled along the ground. If we can bat well and get past them we should be able to push on for a good lead.”
Graham Hardcastle at Chelmsford
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd