Gary Keedy and Glen Chapple combined to give Lancashire a sensational innings victory at Aigburth today. Blink and you would have missed it!
The speed at which the Red Rose side polished off Sussex’s batting order to clinch a fabulous LV= County Championship victory at Liverpool was quite remarkable.
All the signs throughout the game suggested that the county’s bowlers would have to work their socks off to get the final seven Sussex wickets on day four.
The state of pitch lent itself to something you would find on the sub-continent – slow, low and taking some turn.
But, instead, it took just 63 minutes to break through the Hove side’s flimsy second innings resistance to notch an innings and 55-run win.
It had looked like the weather might have the final say when the first 24 overs of the day were wiped out due to rain. But when play started at 1.10pm, Glen Chapple and Gary Keedy were on top form.
They shared all seven wickets as Sussex crumbled from 152-3 in the 48th over to 174 all out after 62.5 overs. That was a loss of seven wickets for 22 runs in 15 overs. At its worst, Sussex lost six wickets for 12 runs in 35 balls.
Chapple returned figures of 4-49 from 19.5 overs – he took nine in the match – and Keedy 5-41 from 26.
“It was nice to get a five-for, but more pleasing to win. It was a real team effort,” said left-arm spinner Keedy. “Obviously, with the rain in the morning, we were a bit frustrated. We thought it would be tough, two sessions to bowl them out and get whatever runs they set us.
“But I’ve not played in too many games where we’ve had 22-7 on a placid pitch like that, although it was taking spin towards the end.”
Chapple struck with the eighth ball of the day when he had Joe Gatting caught behind by Gareth Cross for 28 before Ben Brown left alone a ball from the Lancashire captain that cannoned into his off stump.
Murray Goodwin was then caught by Paul Horton at first slip to give Keedy his third wicket of the innings.
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan crashed Keedy down the ground for six with his second ball at the crease, but could only divert the same bowler into the hands of Steven Croft at silly mid-off shortly afterwards.
Naveed Arif was just as expansive as his team-mate, and fell the very next ball – bowled when trying to crash the ball through the off-side.
James Anyon was the ninth Sussex wicket to fall – and the third with the score on 164 – when he was well caught by a diving Tom Smith at second slip off the bowling of Chapple. The match was concluded when Chapple trapped Monty Panesar lbw for four.
Head Coach Peter Moores added: “That was a really good win. But, if I’m honest, I didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly. Sometimes rain can be funny in that it can take the focus off the opposition, but we were very focused.
“Players like Keedy and Chapple are important, as are all your big players, but what’s nice is that it was a proper team performance.”
Keedy also reserved special praise for batting duo Karl Brown and Mark Chilton, who shared a crucial partnership of 180 during Lancashire’s first innings total of 472. Brown scored 114 and Chilton 87.
He added: “When we went out to bat, we said that if someone could score a hundred then it could be the difference between winning and losing. For Karl Brown to go out and do that, the lads are delighted for him. The partnership of 180 between him and Chilly really set up the game for us.”
Lancashire’s next fixture is a four-day game against Somerset at Liverpool a week on Wednesday.
Reports: Day 1 I Day 2 I Day 3
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
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