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Match Report STORY
Smith century boosts Lancs

A Tom Smith century helped Lancashire to a first win on their pre-season tour of Dubai today

The Red Rose brushed aside an MCC Universities side at the Sevens ground in a 40-over clash with Gareth Cross also in the runs with a quick-fire 81.

Having elected to bat first, the Lightning bounced back from successive Twenty20 defeats by posting 278-5 and then defending it comfortably thanks to two wickets each for Stephen Parry (2-32 from eight overs) and Oliver Newby (2-30 from eight).

Kyle Hogg and Andrea Agathangelou, who has converted from leg-spin to off-spin this winter whilst playing club cricket in South Africa, also contributed to a 65-run win as the students finished on 213-7 from their 40 overs.

Smith said: “It was just good to get a win to be honest. It was a very hot day, but good to get out and play some cricket. We didn’t have two great games to start with, so we are pleased to come back today and put in a professional performance.

“It was nice to get some time in the middle. It’s tough to get everyone that on a pre-season tour, so fortunately I was lucky enough to spend 35 overs at the crease.”

The Red Rose batsmen struggled to adapt to conditions in their Twenty20 matches at the same venue, albeit on different pitches. But there were no such issues today against a select team from the MCCU squads around the UK.

Paul Horton skippered the Lancashire side, but fell cheaply in the second over when he edged Charlie Ellison, son of former England bowler Richard, behind.

But Smith and Karl Brown, who added 40, got their side back on track with a stand of 105 for the second wicket in 19 overs. Brown looked particularly strong on the drive before edging leg-spinner Josh Poysden behind.

Smith had earlier hit left-arm seamer Toby Lester, Blackpool-born and a former Lancashire under 17 and 19, for a straight six - one of three for him.

Forgetting the level of competition, Smith has now scored two hundreds in his last three 40-over innings having hit a blistering ton against Worcestershire in a CB40 match at New Road at the end of last August.

He brought up a run-a-ball 50, at a very similar rate to Cross later on, whilst in another entertaining partnership - this time with the wicketkeeper. They added 82 in 10 for the third wicket. Shortly after reaching three figures, Smith picked out mid-wicket off Devon Endersby to leave the score at 190-3 in the 31st.

Agathangelou was trapped lbw by Alex MacQueen’s off-spin as he attempted to reverse sweep in the 34th over before Cross and Kyle Hogg (27 not out) pushed on with some lusty hitting.

They added 79 in the last six overs, including 37 off the last two and 20 off the final over of the innings. Cross hit MacQueen over the fence three times in the last, once straight and twice over mid-wicket.

“We talked through the Twenty20s about holding wickets back for the end of our innings, and we did that well today,” assessed Smith. “Crossy and Hoggy showed at the end that you can score runs very quickly if you have a platform.

“The wicket was the best one I’ve played on here. It got better and better as the day went on.”

MCC openers James Johnson and Jonathan Webb then got their side off to a solid start in reply with a 68-run stand inside 16 overs, although it never really looked like a platform had been built for an assault on the total.

And when Parry and Newby struck with successive balls at the end of the 16th and start of the 17th, the Lightning really had taken the game by the scruff of the neck. Johnson was out hit wicket to Parry for 31 before Webb (28) played on to Newby to a ball that lifted a touch more than he expected.

Parry later bowled Rishabh Shah in the 22nd over before wickets four and five fell in a similar sequence to the opening two wickets at the end of the 28th and start of the 29th. Endersby, who took 19 off Luis Reece’s only over, was caught at long-off by Gavin Griffiths off Newby following the run out of Adam Miles.

Uzair Qureshi was next to fall, caught at mid-off by Agathangelou off Hogg in the 38th over before the catcher turned bowler in the final over when he had Matthew Salisbury stumped by Cross.

Lancashire’s next outing is a two-day match against Sussex at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, starting on Monday.

Graham Hardcastle
Photo: Karl Brown in action at Dubai (Paul Holliday/LCCC)