Not even the rain could prevent all-rounder Tom Smith from entering the record books with a quite stunning 44-ball hundred in today's final Clydesdale Bank Group A match against Worcestershire at New Road.
The weather ultimately meant that this clash finished in a No Result, with no play possible beyond the mid-innings interval following a reduction in the overs down to 38 and then 37 overs per side.
But the paying public certainly got value for money thanks to centurions Smith and Stephen Moore as well as Steven Croft’s fifty.
Smith, back in the side after five weeks out with a thigh injury, entered the record books by equalling the fifth fastest hundred ever scored in List A cricket. It was also the equal third fastest in the UK and the fastest in this season’s CB40 competition.
The left-hander replaced the rested Ashwell Prince at the top of the order and walloped eight fours and 10 towering sixes in 106 off 46 balls.
He shared 150 in 15 overs for the first wicket with Moore to help the Lightning post a mammoth 324-4 from their 37 overs, including a total of 16 sixes. Moore finished with 113 off 105 balls, his first ton of the season in all competitions.
After struggling for form in the County Championship, the ex-England Lions man has now scored more than 50 seven times in 12 innings in 40-over cricket. Ironically, his last one-day hundred was against his former county for the Red Rose on this ground two summers ago.
“It’s not often I stand at the other end and see the ball sail over my head like that,” admitted Moore. “The last person I batted with who did that was Chris Gayle, and Tom played a very Chris Gayle like innings there. It was striking of world-class calibre.”
And Smith admitted: “It was a great deck and there was a strong wind blowing up the ground, so I tried to take advantage. I just went out and tried to enjoy myself because I haven’t played a great deal of cricket this year.
“At one stage I was trying to hit six sixes in an over, but just to get a hundred was great. I got to 50 off 24 balls and decided to keep going. It came off for me.”
Smith took 30 off one Nick Harrison over - the eighth of the innings - in a run of scoring 44 off 10 balls. Harrison finished with 2-83 from seven overs.
While Smith and Moore both reached their tons with a six, Croft also reached a fifty off 41 balls in similar fashion before going on to post 67 off 52, including four sixes.
Lancashire’s total was also their highest ever 40-over score to beat the 296-3 posted against Leicestershire at Old Trafford in May’s opening group match.
The contest was reduced down to 38 and then 37 overs per side due to the weather, which prevented any cricket after the mid-innings interval.
It was just a shame for debutant off-spinner Arron Lilley, a 21 year-old on the county’s scholarship programme, that he did not get onto the park. Kyle Hogg and Jordan Clark were also making their first 40-over appearances of the season.
Article (c) Lancashire CCC
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh