Tom Smith enjoyed a good day with bat and ball on the second day of Lancashire's match against Cambridge MCCU. Paul Edwards reports
At the end of the first day of this friendly match at Fenner's the Cambridge MCCU players could congratulate themselves that they had competed on even terms with the LV= County Champions. By the close of the second they had been reminded precisely why Lancashire won the title last September.
Led by Saj Mahmood, who took four for 38, Steven Croft's quartet of seamers swept away the Cambridge first innings batting for 123 runs in just 37.4 overs. That gave the Old Trafford side a lead on first innings of 225. By the close that had been extended to a deeply daunting 359 courtesy of Tom Smith's 83 not out in 70 balls and Paul Horton's unbeaten 48.
It was savage stuff at times and never more torturous than in the evening session when Smith swept and then reverse-swept Zafar Ansari until the Surrey bowler seemed close to distraction. Dismissed cheaply on Friday, Smith made the Cambridge attack pay its temerity 24 hours later, hitting twelve fours and clubbing the luckless Ansari over midwicket for a six.
The students' suffering was only ended when Smith opted to retire not out, citing tight hamstrings as the cause. He is free to return to the crease on Sunday morning, which should cheer Ansari up no end.
Cambridge's other bowlers enjoyed their only success on Saturday when Stephen Moore skied Peter Turnbull to Paddy Sadler at mid-on to give the Pontypridd seamer his seventh wicket of the match. (For a place which used to specialise in producing props built like breezeblocks, the Welsh town now seems to have cornered a nice line in new-ball bowlers too.)
But while Lancashire's batsmen rubbed in their side's superiority, it was the bowlers in the post-lunch session who had established a dominance which Croft's men will be loath to surrender. At the first interval Cambridge were reasonably placed on 35 for one; barely 20 overs later they were preparing to bowl again after Lancashire had opted for batting practice in preference to enforcing the follow-on.
Of the home side's batsmen, only Zafar Ansari, James Johnson and Paul Best played the bowling with much comfort. The remainder found the pace of Mahmood or the movement of Smith and Luke Procter too rich a brew. Six catches were taken behind the wicket, three by wicketkeeper Gareth Cross and two by the reliable Smith.
Mahmood took the first wicket, that of Ben Ackland, caught down the leg side, and three of the last four; Smith found a lovely line from the Pavilion End and succeeded in kissing the pitch with the ball in the manner beloved of the coaches. He removed Zafar Ansari for 25 and his figures of two for 12 from eight overs did him no less than justice.
Procter had an eventful afternoon. The ball which bowled James Johnson for 20 was a jaffer of the first water and he took two more wickets to finish with three for 52 from seven overs, an analysis which included 12 no-balls. Kyle Hogg chipped in with one wicket for 18 runs from ten overs.
In the first hour of the morning session Lancashire had added 71 runs to their first innings total for the loss of two wickets in 15.1 overs.
Skipper Steven Croft drove Turnbull to Craig Park in the gully when he had added just three to his overnight score of 80, and the Cambridge seamer completed a career best six-wicket haul when he had Saj Mahmood caught at cover for 14. Gareth Cross was unbeaten on 49 when Croft declared. Turnbull finished with 6-108 and looked a proper bowler.
Day 1 Report
Photo of Tom Smith (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC