Lancashire all-rounder Tom Smith claimed a career-best six wickets in the Roses County Championship match against Yorkshire at Old Trafford to help the process of forgetting all about the disappointment of the Twenty20 Cup bowl-out defeat against Somerset yesterday.
Yorkshire, who are without an LV Division One win since last June, won the toss and elected to bat first, but Andrew Gale top scored with just 54 as his side were bowled out for 181 inside 53 overs.
See the highlights plus an interview with Tom Smith tomorrow on www.Lancs.TV
Smith was the star of the show for Lancashire with 6-46 from 13 consecutive overs, while Sajid Mahmood chipped in with 3-57. Kyle Hogg was the other wicket taker and finished a fine display with 1-23 from 14.
Smith, who later opened the batting to help the hosts to a commanding 106-0, had only claimed three Championship wickets all season prior to this fixture. He said: “It has been a pretty good day for the team - thankfully, for me as well.”
The all-rounder was not chosen to take part in Lancashire’s bowl-out in the Indoor Cricket Centre here yesterday.
“We had a couple of practice runs the day before, and I think I only hit five in 20 or something like that,” he said. “The lads who went up there tried their hardest, but unfortunately they came out on the wrong side of it. In practice they were hitting all the time.
“A bowl out’s not a great way to lose a game, but we have to concentrate on the Championship and Pro40 now. It was quite random. You could say that today was one of the best days of cricket I have had, but yesterday was one of the worst. It’s amazing how quickly it can turn around.”
Aided by a little bit of movement, and some questionable Yorkshire batting, Smith claimed the wickets of Anthony McGrath, Joe Sayers (34), Jonny Bairstow, Gerard Brophy, Tim Bresnan and Rich Pyrah.
The tone was set for Yorkshire’s day when Jacques Rudolph was bowled shouldering arms to Mahmood in the 13th over, but their worst period came straight after lunch when they lost five wickets for 31 runs in ten overs to slump from 91-3 to 122-8. Smith claimed four of them.
Smith forced Bairstow to edge to Mark Chilton at third slip with the first ball after lunch, and got Brophy mistiming a pull to mid-on and then Bresnan top-edging an ugly pull to Luke Sutton 34th over. He later forced Pyrah to edge behind.
“We bowled really well in the opening session, but then blew them away after lunch,” continued Smith. “We created a lot of pressure, they played a few loose shots. I wouldn’t quite say it was my best bowling performance, but if someone would give you 6-46 at the start of the day you would bite their hand off.”
Gale has fond memories of this fixture having scored 136 last season, and scored 99 as his side secured a draw against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough this time last week. He hit seven fours and one six in his 93-ball innings. He pulled Oliver Newby for six and cut him for four in successive deliveries to reach his fifty.
Gale and Ajmal Shahzad shared 36 for the ninth wicket, the second highest partnership of the innings behind the opening stand of 39 between Rudolph and Sayers, but Gale was caught at point by Mal Loye off Mahmood. Tail-ender Shahzad hit four boundaries in a useful unbeaten 26 off 42 balls.
Although there was a little bit of help for the bowlers, it is generally a good pitch to bat on. Paul Horton and Smith demonstrated that as they shared Lancashire’s best opening partnership of the Championship season so far.
Horton reached his fourth 50 of the season off 78 balls with seven fours, and made it to 61 when rain and bad light forced the players off the field seven overs early. Smith will resume tomorrow on 40, and Lancashire trail by just 75.
Smith continued: “I will just get out there tomorrow and start again, be patient, let them bowl at me. If me and Paul can extend our stand, we can kick onto a good score. I know Paul likes batting against Yorkshire, he has got a few hundreds against them. A few of the other lads like batting against them as well.
“We have struggled in Championship cricket, but today we just said to ourselves ‘bat’. Paul played beautifully, he restricted himself very well, and looked solid. Paul saw me through a couple of tough patches towards the end where I got a couple of short balls here and there.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd