Lancashire showed their league leaders pedigree today as they hit back strongly during the second day of their LV= County Championship match with Glamorgan at Emirates Old Trafford. And Simon Kerrigan was their star of the show.
Kerrigan maintained his excellent recent form with his second seven-wicket haul in a week in this competition as Glamorgan lost their last six wickets for 66 to slip from 408-4 to 474 all out before failing to strike with the ball.
The 24-year-old added 7-162 from 49.1 overs to his 7-63 in the second innings of the win against Northamptonshire last week to become the leading spinner in either division of the Championship with 39 in his ninth match.
Karl Brown and Luis Reece then continued Lancashire’s good work by reaching 93-0 from 40 overs of their reply at close. Brown will resume tomorrow morning on 48 not out and Reece on 42 not out. They are just seven runs away from the county’s first hundred stand for that wicket this season.
Kerrigan took five of seven wickets to fall today and five of the last six, including former Zimbabwe Test batsman Murray Goodwin for a superb marathon 194 off 354 balls. Goodwin, the oldest player to play in the Championship this year at 40, batted for seven hours and 40 minutes.
It is only the third time a Red Rose bowler has achieved successive seven-wicket hauls or more since 1960 - and the first time since Gary Keedy took seven in each innings against Gloucestershire here in 2004.
It is now not out of the question that Lancashire could win this match if they bat well tomorrow.
Glamorgan still have their noses in front, but a strong day three with the willow could change that and spark memories of the result at Colwyn Bay earlier in the season when the Red Rose came from behind to win during the final afternoon.
The most plausible way for Lancashire to win this match will be for them to bat past Glamorgan and up towards 600 before putting late pressure on Glamorgan’s batsmen with Kerrigan and Arron Lilley in tandem.
"We stuck at it really well,” said Kerrigan, who bounced back well along with his team-mates following a difficult first day, in which the visitors posted 315-3.
“We said at the start of the day we wanted to stick by our disciplines and do what we've done well all year. The pitch was a decent one, so we knew it was going to be tough. But we're happy with where we're at.
"If you let your head drop after the first day, there's a long three days ahead, especially with the good forecast. You can't afford to let off, and you can't show the opposition you're going to let off.
"It's personal pride as a team and as a bowling group. We all want our economy rate to be low and doing your the best for the team. We've got a good attack and that's what we managed to do. It's not just the bowlers but in the field as well. It showed with Aggers' catch that we were still right up for it.”
After Glen Chapple had trapped Jim Allenby lbw for 92 to end a fourth-wicket stand of 155 with Goodwin, Kerrigan came to the fore, as did Andrea Agathangelou.
Kerrigan had Mark Wallace caught at slip by Ashwell Prince, Nathan McCullum caught at mid-on by Simon Katich, Graham Wagg caught at short-leg by Agathangelou, Goodwin superbly caught at square-leg by the same man and Dean Cosker trapped lbw.
Chapple then had John Glover caught and bowled to wrap up the innings midway through the afternoon session to finish with 2-102 from 31 overs.
“Within the last week I've bowled about 120 overs with the two innings at Northampton and the T20 games,” Kerrigan continued. “It's only a couple of overs but you've got to get yourself in the right place mentally.
“It's a lot better than standing in the field in the early months and thinking whether you're going to get a couple of overs before lunch.
"The weather's been good and the pitches have been pretty dry, so you know you're going to be bowling a lot of overs. I think you've got to keep yourself in the best mindset and best rhythm.”
Brown and Reece batted patiently, played some excellent shots and looked in very little trouble during their alliance against the likes of McCullum and Cosker, the Welshmen’s spin partnership.
And Kerrigan added: "There's a result for Glamorgan if they bowl well and we don't bat too well. On our side, we've got to see where tomorrow takes us. We don't know if we'll have a lead or if we'll be up to their total. We've got a good batting line-up, so lets hope we can pile them on tomorrow.”
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh