Mark Chilton hit Dominic Cork for four to seal a thrilling last over Championship win against Hampshire at Liverpool today
Graham Hardcastle reports
Never mind talk of decreasing the number of LV= County Championship matches in a season. They should increase the number if they could all be like this thriller!
Four days of wonderful, absorbing cricket were brought to a close by a Mark Chilton boundary through backward point off Dominic Cork as Lancashire beat Hampshire with three wickets and just one ball to spare as they chased down 168 from 33 overs.
(Editor's note - all the online scorecards including ours currently have one ball missing from the last over, but Lancashire's 2nd innings did last 32.5 overs)
The Red Rose county have moved to within six points of third placed Yorkshire with two matches left after sealing the 22 points that went with their fifth win of the season.
There was only one thing wrong with today’s play. Hampshire opener Jimmy Adams did not deserve to be a loser.
The left handed England Lions hopeful made the hosts sweat on this win for ten hours and 35 minutes, spanning six sessions, as he compiled 194 off 507 balls to help the visitors post a second innings 405 all out.
He batted for longer, both time wise and balls wise, than anybody in the country has done this season.
And the 29 year-old even shared a tenth wicket stand of 88 inside 43 overs with the determined left arm spinner Danny Briggs.
“It was an unbelievable knock,” said a delighted and no doubt relieved Peter Moores. “Towards the end we were getting tired, but I thought we bowled really well for all of day three.
“He just didn’t give a chance. He just set his stall out to bat. Eventually, when he did nick one we all looked in disbelief after about 500 balls or whatever it was.”
Tom Smith took 6-94 from 41 overs to finish with career best match figures of 9-134 from 53 overs, and three of those second innings wickets came this morning to put Lancashire in total charge before Adams and Briggs slowly but surely wrestled their way back into the contest.
Smith bowled Michael Bates for 31, Cork and tail-ender Chris Wood during the morning session. Adams and Bates had shared 60 for the sixth wicket before Smith’s triple strike left the score at 298-8 in the 115th over.
James Tomlinson then offered a simple return catch off a leading edge to Sajid Mahmood before Adams farmed the strike from Briggs (15 not out off 97 balls).
Their stand started 40 minutes before lunch, and lasted two hours and 40 minutes until Adams, who hit 20 boundaries, edged Kyle Hogg behind to wicketkeeper Gareth Cross in the 166th over of the innings.
Adams’ knock was the cricketing equivalent of the Wimbledon tennis match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut earlier this summer.
Hogg and Gary Keedy should also be praised for returning respective innings figures of 2-50 from 31.3 overs and 1-105 from 58.
Lancashire started their pursuit of 168 from the remaining 33 overs straight after tea, but were soon in trouble because left arm swing bowler Tomlinson took the first three wickets to reduce the score to 17-3 in the sixth over. He bowled Paul Horton off an inside edge, trapped Karl Brown lbw first ball and had Smith caught behind by Bates.
Steven Croft edged Cork behind to leave the score at 44-4 in the 15th before Cross joined Chanderpaul to move things along.
Cross hit 26 off 18 balls before he slapped Wood, Hampshire’s second left arm quick, to Cork at mid on to leave the score at 84-5 in the 21st.
Mahmood joined Chanderpaul, who launched Wood over mid wicket for six, to put their side within reach.
But the quick bowler carved Wood to Adams at deep point after hitting 24 vital runs off 21 balls to leave the score at 130-6 at the end of the 27th.
And when Wood had Chanderpaul caught behind with the first ball of the 28th for 51 off 79 balls, the game was right on a knife-edge at 140-7 in the 29th. Lancashire needed 28 off 29 balls.
Hogg, who finished 17 not out, and Chilton (18 not out off 15 balls) did the rest to seal a nerve jangling win.
Moores said: “I’ve been in the game a long time now, and that’s up there with the best games I’ve ever been involved in.
“We’ve had some tight games in my time at the club, but we’ve missed out on a few. What’s nice is that we’ve now won two in a week (Clydesdale Bank 40 win against the Unicorns on Monday).
“It came down to what was a tough chase on that pitch. Everybody had to go and play instinct cricket. Gareth Cross changed the tempo of the game because he struck the ball sweetly and made them change their lengths.”