Luke Procter's first five-wicket haul for Lancashire has put them in the box seat after a hectic opening day of their County Championship match against Durham at the Riverside today, in which 18 wickets fell.
After the hosts were bowled out for just 102 inside 37 overs following an important toss won by Glen Chapple, the Red Rose county replied with 141-8 from 40 overs, gaining what could prove to be a vital lead of 39 runs and counting.
All-rounder Procter, 23 years old, confirmed his status as one of Lancashire’s leading lights this summer with a stunning haul of 5-17 from ten overs, taking advantage of some prodigious movement, particularly through the air.
And to top off his stellar day, he also added an important 18 in a fifth-wicket partnership of 44 with Paul Horton, who will resume tomorrow morning on 31 not out from 103 balls, after Lancashire had slipped to 19-4. England hopeful Graham Onions took the first four Lancashire wickets to fall.
Procter took five of the last six Durham wickets to go as they slipped from 78-4 before the rain arrived just after lunch as Horton was taking guard to begin Lancashire’s reply.
Kyle Hogg also chipped in with 3-23 and Chapple 2-32, both his wickets topping and tailing the innings. Ajmal Shahzad was the only wicket-less bowler, but even he proved a danger in a six-over spell that cost him only 12 runs.
Former England international Paul Collingwood top-scored for the hosts, who are bottom of Division One, with 25 off 73 balls, but only three others made it into double figures under overcast skies. Extras was the second top-scorer with 21 as Durham recorded their lowest total since scoring 90 against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 2008.
Procter said: “It’s swinging around a lot, so a 50 or 60-run lead could be match-winning. To take my first five-for was brilliant. I am over the moon. When I got my fourth I just thought ‘why not five’.
“It was a good day for us in the field. Hopefully we can kick on in the morning.”
On the back of dominating their drawn match against Middlesex at Liverpool last week, Chapple set Lancashire on their way when he forced Mark Stoneman to pull to Simon Kerrigan at square-leg in the third over, leaving the score at 8-1. Two boundaries each for Will Smith and Gordon Muchall seemed to have steadied the ship by taking the score to 32, but then things really started to happen.
Hogg bowled Smith and had Muchall, who made eleven and 13 respectively, caught behind by Gareth Cross in the space of five balls in the eighth over as the hosts fell to 33-3.
And the seamer did not have to wait long for wicket number three as Ben Stokes fell in similar fashion to Muchall with Hogg’s very next ball at the start of the tenth over - only he was trying to abort a stroke instead of chasing a wide one as his partner had done - meaning he had taken three in six balls.
An innings-high partnership of 44 in 14 overs followed between Collingwood and Dale Benkenstein, the other man to reach double figures with ten, but it was only brief respite.
Enter Royton’s Procter, the fast medium paced bowler with an eye-catching action. He had Benkenstein caught by Cross and Phil Mustard brilliantly caught by a diving Ashwell Prince at third slip before lunch.
Scott Borthwick was then caught at first slip by Horton, Collingwood trapped lbw and Jamie Harrison bowled before Chapple nipped one away from Steve Harmison and nicked his off bail to wrap up the innings. There seemed to be even more movement on offer after lunch as Lancashire took four wickets for 17 runs in 7.3 overs.
Onions then had Stephen Moore caught at third slip by Borthwick and Karl Brown lbw in the third over. He then had Prince caught by Collingwood at second in the fifth and Steven Croft caught behind by Mustard chasing a wide one in the seventh.
Procter and Horton, who was on eleven for 34 minutes, played watchfully until the former chased a wide one from Stokes and edged behind to leave the score at 63-5. Cross was then bowled by Harmison before Shahzad and Chapple were trapped lbw by Harrison.
Procter added: “Horton’s effort there was like a 50 or 60 in normal conditions. He’s kept the innings together with a few people batting around him. Hopefully that continues because Kyle Hogg and Simon Kerrigan can both bat.
“It’s swinging and nipping a little bit off the pitch. It’s just the swing that’s doing people, there’s nothing wrong with the pitch.”
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Photo of Luke Procter (c) Simon Pendrigh
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd