All-rounder Luke Procter enjoyed an excellent day with ball and bat at Liverpool today as Lancashire's LV= County Championship campaign of 2012 ended with a draw against Surrey.
The Oldham-born player claimed five wickets in only 17 balls this morning to finish with career best figures of 7-71 from 19.1 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 367 in their first innings before sharing in an opening stand of 110 with Tom Smith as Lancashire replied strongly.
Procter posted 36 and Smith 83 off 122 balls as the Red Rose declared their first innings on 142-2 from 42 overs at 4.20pm to bring the match, which signalled the county’s 10th draw of the season, to an early conclusion.
“It was brilliant to get a few wickets,” said Procter, who plans to spend four months playing grade cricket in Perth this winter. “Obviously I've put myself in good shape for next year as well.
“I've been a bit disappointed with my season in general because I was injured for eight weeks from the middle of Twenty20. I started the season well, and then got the injury (side strain). It's taken me a couple of weeks to get back into the bowling. It was nice to get a good run out today.
“I feel good with the ball at the minute. I've just got a bit more confidence. I've always bowled at this pace, but haven't had the confidence to run in and hit the deck. If you're confident and know where it's going, it should give you a little bit more (zip).”
Having reached 355-5, Surrey lost their last five wickets for the addition of only 12 runs in 35 balls.
Procter trapped Zander de Bruyn lbw for an excellent 125 before removing Gareth Batty the same way for a duck two balls later in the 107th over. It was the second time the all-rounder had claimed two wickets in three balls in the match having done it during Thursday’s third day.
The dismissal of de Bruyn brought a sixth wicket partnership of 177 inside 50 overs between him and Tom Jewell to a close. Procter then had Jewell caught at first slip by Steven Croft for a career best 70 before trapping Tim Linley lbw. Surrey’s innings ended when Procter bowled Jon Lewis in the 113th over.
Lancashire’s first innings began 15 minutes before lunch, which had to be taken early with only eight balls bowled due to a second delay of the morning due to rain.
Smith and Procter batted through the lion’s share of the afternoon session, punctured by another delay for rain. Smith brought up his third fifty in four innings in this format since returning from a thigh injury off 78 balls before lofting Zafar Ansari’s left-arm spin for six at the Pavilion End.
Since returning to action last month, Smith also plundered 106 off 46 balls in a Clydesdale Bank 40 group win against Worcestershire at New Road, contributing to an excellent end to the season on a personal level.
Procter fell shortly after Smith recorded his milestone, in the 29th of the innings, when he played on to seamer Matt Dunn. Smith was then caught at first slip off Jewell after tea to leave the score at 140-2 in the 38th over.
Since returning from injury, Procter has opened the batting in each of Lancashire’s last four Championship matches. And while he has not posted that big score that every batsman craves, the left-hander has shown signs of having a future against the new ball.
Against Middlesex at Lord’s last week, he scored 30 in a stand of 95 with Smith, the county’s previous best opening stand of the summer.
“It was a surprise (to be asked to open), but I've been putting my case forward to get me a chance,” he added. “I feel like I watch the ball quite a lot in general and play it late. It helps when it's swinging about. I haven't nailed my spot, but I'd like to try again next year and nail it.”
Red Rose coach Peter Moores added: “I thought we got stuck in well. We got some stuff out of the game because Luke bowled really well, and Tom and Luke then batted really well up front to back up what they did at Lord's. That's promising. I was generally pleased with that, and two young lads making their debuts is exciting as well.”
Report - Day 3 (no play, days 1 & 2)
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh