Warwickshire were left in a daze at Edgbaston after Simon Kerrigan and Gary Keedy spun Lancashire to victory in stunning fashion
This was the kind of day that Simon Kerrigan must have dreamed of when he was wheeling away in his early teens at Fulwood and Broughton CC on the outskirts of his hometown of Preston.
Kerrigan started life as a left-arm medium pacer. But whoever convinced him to turn to spin should be highly commended because they could just have been the catalyst for the production of a star.
Kerrigan will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Tuesday, but he was the one giving gifts out today. That was the gift of victory over Warwickshire by 147 runs inside three enthralling days at Edgbaston.
Not that this was a one-man display, far from it. But his figures of 5-7 from seven overs proved absolutely crucial as the Bears were bowled out for just 97 in their pursuit of 245.
A statistician’s dream, fellow left-armer Gary Keedy also took 3-2 from only 4.2 overs as Warwickshire slumped from 68-2 and 86-3 when looking well set in their chase.
Kerrigan and Keedy combined to take eight wickets for nine runs between them, with Warwickshire losing their last seven wickets for just eleven runs to give Lancashire a leg-up to the top of the LV= County Championship table.
“I’ve said before that I hadn’t seen the 7-22 we got in the Sussex game at Liverpool too often,” said impressive Keedy. “But to get what we’ve just got now, I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I’m just delighted for Keggsy. He wasn’t even going to play in the game until Hoggy unfortunately got injured.
“They looked pretty well set when Chopra and Trott were together. To get eight wickets in however many overs we did was unbelievable. I can’t remember a session of cricket quite like that.”
Captain Glen Chapple had set Lancashire on their way just before lunch when he had William Porterfield caught behind by Gareth Cross to rack up the 800th victim of his first-class career.
And, when he got Ian Bell caught at mid-wicket by Karl Brown off a meaty top edge early in the afternoon session, Lancs were in command.
But the hosts, courtesy of a 54-run stand for the third wicket between Varun Chopra and Jonathan Trott (39), seemed to have wrestled back the initiative with some good shots and more than the odd slice of luck.
That was until Kerrigan was brought into the attack from the City End of the ground.
He had Chopra caught behind with only his third ball – he struck as early in the first innings too – before getting Mohammad Yousuf stumped to leave the score at 86-3 in the 22nd over.
Keedy then trapped Trott lbw before Kerrigan got Rikki Clarke in identical fashion shortly afterwards. Next, Kerrigan had Tim Ambrose caught at first slip by James Anderson and Keith Barker caught behind with successive deliveries in the 28th over, leaving the score at 93-8.
Keedy put the icing on the cake with the scalps of Chris Woakes and Maurice Holmes, both lbw, to ensure the capture of 20 points.
Kerrigan, who also got Bell out for the second time in his career in the first innings, said: “You have to pinch yourself when you walk back down to fine-leg and look at the scoreboard and see that you’ve just got somebody like Ian Bell out.
“I was confident I was in good rhythm. Crossy was really good with me and kept telling me to put it in the same area.
“We’re on fire as a side at the moment, and we’re really optimistic seeing as we keep playing on result decks. There’s no reason why we can’t carry on winning.
“I’ve bowled in little bursts as well as that on wickets not as helpful and not got the results, but I’ve never bowled as well as that for as consistent a spell. It was just the case of getting it in the right area and different things kept happening.
“It was quite a strange pitch. For the seamers it was jagging about a bit – and when it seams, it tends to spin.
“I was getting a bit excited when I was getting the wickets, and Crossy and Chilly kept telling me to slow down in between balls.”
Lancashire had earlier endured their own difficulties with the willow in their second innings, falling from 118-4 at the start of play to 154-9.
Steven Croft top scored with 67 off 149 balls, but a last wicket stand of 35 between Anderson and Keedy proved crucial too. Lancashire were finally bowled out for 189.
Keedy added: “On a deck like that when runs are at a premium, we were delighted to get up to a lead of 240. We knew anything up there was going to be difficult for them.”
Lancashire, who have now won three out of their first four matches, return to the North West in preparation for Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C match with Glamorgan at Old Trafford.
Reports: Day 1 I Day 2
Photo (c) David Davies/PA Wire
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