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Match Report

Lancs narrow advantage

Lancs narrow advantage

Ajmal Shahzad summed it up perfectly when he said “it was just one of those days” after Worcestershire prevented Lancashire from taking the distinct advantage into tomorrow's third day of their LV= County Championship match at New Road.

No doubt, Lancashire had the better of things when play finally got underway on day two following Wednesday’s opening day washout. They will be the happier of the two sides with the hosts on 219-6 from 90 overs.

But there will also be frustration in the Red Rose camp this evening after they were prevented from pressing ahead having reduced Worcester to 108-5 during the afternoon session, with Neil Pinner and Joe Leach adding an impressively determined 111 inside 45 overs for the fifth wicket.

Lancashire stuck to their task well as conditions for batting got easier throughout the day, highlighted by only two bowlers of a six-man attack going at more than three runs per over - Luke Procter’s economy rate of 3.16 was the most expensive.

Pinner, who closed the day on 79 not out, and Leach (46) should be given immense credit for the way they battled hard and attacked when given the opportunity. The pair, both 21, have only played one previous Championship match apiece.

Captain Glen Chapple returned the pick of the bowling figures with 3-51 from 23 overs after he had earlier won the toss.

“I thought the first two sessions were ours, but Leach and Pinner put on a decent partnership,” said Shahzad, who returned figures of 1-34 from 15 overs, including the wicket of Leach in the final over of a day that was delayed by 15 minutes due to rain and curtailed by a further 15 minutes by bad light. “The wicket flattened out when the ball got older.

“It was just one of those days. On another day we could have got them out for less than 200, but we battled hard, put in 110 percent and fielded well. If we can keep them to 250, get the runs on the board, hopefully we can skittle them out again.”

Daryl Mitchell was the first man to go this morning, caught by a diving Simon Kerrigan running in from square-leg as the ball ballooned up off pad following an inside edge to a Chapple delivery in the third over of the contest. James Cameron was then trapped lbw by Hogg to leave the score at 17-2 in the 12th.

Backed up by some excellent fielding, Chapple, Kyle Hogg and Shahzad shared eight maidens out of the 22 overs possible in the morning session. Procter, back in action after seven weeks out with a side injury, bowled his first in the 27th over of the innings just after lunch.

Opener Matt Pardoe and Moeen Ali enjoyed a much needed period of consolidation either side of a lunch break taken 15 minutes early due to more rain, and they helped pass 50 in the 28th over.

But their work was undermined in the space of 2.1 overs shortly afterwards - and it was Chapple and wicketkeeper Gareth Cross at the heart of continued good work from the visitors.

Pardoe fell for 37 when Cross leapt to high to his left and held on to hand Chapple a second wicket halfway through the 32nd over before Vikram Solanki inside edged the skipper through to a diving Cross, who held on one-handed as he dived away to his left. That left Worcester at 68-4 four balls into the 34th over.

After Moeen’s and Pardoe’s stand of 45, Moeen and Pinner stemmed the tide once again as they added 40 in 11.2 overs for the fifth wicket.

Moeen pulled and cut successive boundaries off Hogg, while Pinner elegantly guided Shahzad to the third-man fence for four. But Lancashire managed to keep a firm grip on things when Hogg trapped Moeen lbw for 35 with a ball that kept low, leaving the score at 108-5 after 45 overs.

Worcester went into the tea break at 138-5 from 57 overs with Pinner unbeaten on 33.

Successive leg-side boundaries off Procter in the 65th over brought him a maiden half-century off 100 balls with eight fours as the hosts moved beyond 150, and his ninth boundary was an impressive on-drive in Procter’s next over.

He and Leach, who finished with 46 off 141 balls having been bowled by Shahzad three balls before close, chipped away at Lancashire’s grip for the remainder a 33-over evening session. But a good morning session tomorrow is all it takes for the visitors to be firmly on top again.

Graham Hardcastle
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
Photo of Glen Chapple (c) Barry Mitchell


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