Peter Moores is confident that Lancashire can record a seventh win of the season following an amazing first day of the LV= County Championship clash at Liverpool.
The Red Rose conceded a first innings lead of 102 after Durham responded to the home side’s 84 all out with 186 as 20 wickets fell.
Swing, especially, and seam movement were prominent, but pitch liaison officer Peter Walker declared himself satisfied with the state of the pitch, saying at tea: “How the best two sides in the country have only scored 200 runs between them is baffling.”
Despite only 83 overs bowled in the day, we are now into the third innings of the match.
Lancashire reached 4-0 from just three balls second time around when bad light prompted an early end to the day.
And Moores said: “A hundred deficit is hard to come back from, but it's the sort of pitch on which we can do. We've certainly proved that we can score big runs. We'll get that through partnerships.
“I expect the pitch and conditions not to be the same tomorrow, but we'll see. (Dale) Benkenstein showed that you can bat on it.”
Durham’s Benkenstein was the only man to look comfortable with the bat as he made a superb 83 not out off 133 balls, including ten fours.
He shared 79 for the ninth wicket with tail-ender Graham Onions (21) to tip the balance in the favour of the Division One leaders after they had been 61-6 and 102-8 in the first innings.
Captain Phil Mustard won an important toss and invited the hosts to bat first in humid conditions.
And Australian Callum Thorp, the 36 year-old British passport holder, wreaked havoc with 6-20 from 12.2 overs as only two Red Rose batsmen reached double figures, including Stephen Moore’s 27.
Thorp picked up the wickets of Karl Brown, Mark Chilton, Steven Croft – all caught behind by Mustard - Gareth Cross, Kyle Hogg and debutant Junaid Khan. Mustard finished with four catches behind the stumps as Onions also chipped in with 2-19.
Moores continued: “For us, it was the culmination of a couple of good balls, a couple of indifferent shots and we got put under pressure.
“Thorp bowled well, and it suited his sort of bowling. On any pitch, when you get bowled out for 100 you're disappointed.
“But all credit to the team because they came back strong, and we're still in the game. Halfway through the day, it looked like we might be out of it by the end of the day.”
Earlier, Onions had struck with the third ball of the Lancashire innings to get Paul Horton.
And Hogg followed suit to give Lancashire some cheer, trapping Will Smith lbw at the start of the Durham reply.
Hogg also trapped Michael Di Venuto in front, leaving the score at 8-2 after three overs, before Sajid Mahmood got the first of three wickets when Paul Collingwood miscued to mid-on.
Junaid then had Gordon Muchall caught behind by Cross before Mahmood bowled Ian Blackwell and rapped Mustard on the pads to leave the visitors six down.
Next Luke Procter dismissed Scott Borthwick and Thorp with successive balls to reduce the leaders to 102-8.
But that was when Benkenstein and Onions crucially united for 22.2 overs to ensure their side’s first innings lead amounted to three figures.
Procter and Gary Keedy then mopped up the tail, leaving the hosts with the prospects of eight overs to face, but bad light halted proceedings after three deliveries..
Procter finished with 3-39 from nine overs and Mahmood 3-50 from 12.
Moores added: “I can't remember being involved in a game where 20 wickets have fallen in a day. You see them around the country, but we've not had that so far. It swung around, but I can't quite work out how 20 wickets have fallen.
“The ball swung and people nicked it, but the pitch was pretty blameless.”
Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh
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