Paul Horton made a crucial 94 as Championship leaders Lancashire battled their way to a first innings score of 313 on the opening day against Durham
Horton believes the new ball will be crucial as the Red Rose bowlers look to defend their total during tomorrow’s second day at the Durham Emirates ground.
The opener’s 94 off 176 balls was the standout innings as Lancashire scrapped their way out of a hole at 9-2 within five overs of play starting today.
It had looked like home captain Phil Mustard had won a crucial toss when Graham Onions and Callum Thorp had the new ball in their hands.
Horton was rapped on the pads with the very first ball of the match by Onions as the England Test hopeful got one to jag back. And then Stephen Moore edged Thorp to Scott Borthwick at third slip and Karl Brown likewise to Michael Di Venuto at first off Onions.
But a couple of stands in the seventies and one in eighties has given Lancashire hope that they can claim their sixth win of the campaign and extend that lead at the top of the tree.
Horton said: “We are quite happy, although you can never gauge what a good score is until both sides have batted.
“It did a little bit early on with the new ball, and they bowled quite well with it. We were put in last week at Hampshire as well and 328 was a really good score. We’ll have to wait and see what 313 is like.
“The new ball’s extremely helpful here because it sits in the wicket and seams a little bit more than usual. Hopefully our bowlers can get as much out of it as they did.”
Although Horton shared 77 with Mark Chilton for the third wicket this morning and then 72 with Steven Croft before and after lunch, Lancs were in danger of undoing their good work when they slipped to 225-7 after tea.
But returning captain Chapple, who would have also bowled first, and Luke Procter shared 87 for the eighth wicket from 17 overs to claim batting bonus points two and three.
They took 31 off the first three overs with the second new ball, including a straight six from Chapple off Thorp.
Both Chapple and Procter have returned to the side in place of Sajid Mahmood and Oliver Newby, who played at Hampshire. But they fell as part of the last three wickets going for one run to end the day on a bit of a sour note.
Mitch Claydon had Chapple caught at third-man upper-cutting before getting Procter caught behind by Mustard, while left-arm spinner bowled Kyle Hogg in the 94th over to signal the close of play.
Although all seven members of the Durham attack struck, Blackwell led the way with 3-57 from 22.3 overs.
There were quite a number of similarities between this day and last week’s first day at the Rose Bowl. Lancashire, having been put in, had to recover, while Horton fell short of three figures like Brown did.
But Horton should be pleased with his effort, which included 15 boundaries. He commented: “To be 9-2 suits the way I play, to be in a battle. It’s a big game, which I enjoy. I was obviously disappointed not to get three figures, but I’m happy that I contributed.”
Horton, who reached fifty off 87 balls, hit three fours in one over off England Lions all-rounder Ben Stokes during the afternoon session.
But strapping Stokes, who bowls on the sharp side of medium pace, gained revenge by ripping out Horton’s off stump to end his stay in the middle.
That left the score at 158-4 in the 55th, and it was soon 191-5 when Croft fell victim of a superb juggling catch by Di Venuto at slip off Blackwell. Gareth Cross followed, stumped by Mustard, as Blackwell claimed his second.
And Lancashire were seven down in the 74th over when Tom Smith was hit on the pads as played back to leg-spinner Borthwick’s third delivery.
Chapple and Procter, who looks more and more at home every time he plays a first-team fixture, then united to entertain and boost their side’s total with their 87-run partnership.
It was just unfortunate that they were part of the three wickets to fall for one run at the end of the day.
Photo (c) David Davies/PA Wire
Article is copyright of Lancashire CCC Ltd and must not be reproduced without permission