Debutant Wayne White admitted patience was the key on the opening day of the season.
Lancashire claimed six wickets on the first day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Worcestershire at Emirates Old Trafford today, and White was amongst a trio of Red Rose bowlers to claim two wickets as the Pears closed on 227-6 from 96 overs having been invited to bat first by home skipper Glen Chapple.
Luke Procter and left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan also took two each, while the others bowlers such as Kyle Hogg and Chapple who went wicketless arguably deserved more.
There was swing on offer if not much movement off the pitch, and batting all-rounder Moeen Ali enjoyed his return to this venue after taking 12 wickets with his off-spinners in last season’s corresponding fixture, which Worcestershire won.
Wayne White speaks to the media following an impressive debut
Ali top-scored for the New Road outfit with 78 off 188 balls, sharing in half-century stands with Sri Lankan overseas Thilan Samaraweera and Neil Pinner, who fell late on to give the hosts a timely boost. Captain Daryl Mitchell, battling against sickness, will resume in the morning unbeaten on 36.
“I thought we bowled well in general. If we can get two wickets in the first half an hour, hopefully we can run through the tail. Under 275 is a good chance,” said 27-year-old White, who also revealed his pre-match nerves last night over selection in the team.
“Once people got in and spent time at the crease, it became a lot easier. Luckily we chipped away at some lads who had spent time at the crease. There were a couple of soft dismissals, but that was a build-up of pressure.
“It’s the kind of wicket where if you put enough good balls in the area, they’ll make a mistake. It’s not one where you can smash a couple of quick ones out. It’s an attritional and patience game. Worcester will be one of the toughest tests this season, and it was important we got off to a good start. We are well in the game, maybe even just on top after the first day.
“We want to take this game as deep as we can. If we bat well and bowl as well in the second innings with a bit more luck, hopefully we can get right on top.”
Lancashire started the day by naming Procter as their opening batsman and Karl Brown in their middle order. All-rounder Tom Smith was the unlucky man to be left out despite his impressive end to last season and a century on the pre-season tour to Dubai, albeit in a 40-over match.
White struck just six balls into his competitive Red Rose debut when he forced Matt Pardoe to get a leading edge to a diving Chapple at mid-off to leave the score at 28-1 after 15 overs before Procter trapped fellow opener Michael Johnson, their Australian wicketkeeper, lbw shortly afterwards.
Ali and Samaraweera then added 57 for the third wicket either side of lunch, but the latter was furious with himself when he edged an attempted cut off Kerrigan behind to Gareth Cross with 93 on the board in the 37th over.
Ali had a couple of lives. A fierce cut off Chapple burst through the hands of Steven Croft at third slip with him on 42 before he survived a huge run out appeal in completing his half-century when Simon Katich threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end from mid-on.
But he helped to build a platform with a measured innings that ended when he tried to loft Kerrigan for a second six over long-on and found Ashwell Prince stationed just inside the ropes. It left the score at 177-5 in the 75th, and it brought an end to a stand of 54 for the fifth wicket with Neil Pinner, who was later trapped lbw by Procter in the 94th over.
White, whose second wicket was that of Alexei Kervezee caught at second slip by Croft to leave the score at 123-4 during the afternoon, added: “I had a pretty sleepless night. I was expecting to play, but there’s always that bit in your mind where we’ve got a strong squad and it could have gone a few ways. Unfortunately Tom missed out today, but obviously I was glad to get the nod. Hopefully I can put a decent performance in.”
Main photo (c) Simon Pendrigh
Slideshow photos (c) Simon Pendrigh & Barry Mitchell
1. Emirates Old Trafford on opening day
2. Lancashire take the field
3. Glen Chapple takes a diving catch to give Wayne White his first Lancashire wicket
4-5. White's jubilation is clear to see!
6-8. Luke Procter traps Johnson lbw
9. Moeen Ali hits Simon Kerrigan for six
10. Wayne White in action
10-12. Moeen Ali edges Simon Kerrigan delivery to Gareth Cross
13. Simon Katich hits the stumps but Moeen Ali just survived