Lancashire were bowled out for a first innings score of 236 after losing their last four wickets for 13 runs against Sussex at Old Trafford today.
Experienced all-rounder Robin Martin-Jenkins was destroyer in chief, blasting through the Red Rose tail to claim a five-wicket haul for the seventh time in his County Championship career.
See the highlights tomorrow plus our interview with Francois du Plessis on www.Lancs.TV
The 33 year-old, who had got Luke Sutton on day one, added the wickets of Glen Chapple (39), Sajid Mahmood, Francois du Plessis and Oliver Newby. His final analysis read 5-43 from 14.4 overs, and he only bowled 3.4 of them with the second new ball today.
South African du Plessis hit 54 off 124 balls, and missed out on the opportunity of a maiden Championship century. He looked well placed in the midst of a seventh wicket partnership of 82 in 24 overs with captain Chapple, but the latter fell to spark a collapse from 223-6 to 236 all out.
Chapple and Mahmood fell to Martin-Jenkins in successive balls in the 84th over. Du Plessis was undone by a little bit of extra bounce, and could only spoon to Ed Joyce in the covers, while Newby was the victim of a sharp catch from Olly Rayner at second slip.
Sussex could only reply with 11-0 from 5.4 overs when heavy rain came down at approximately 4.45pm. Play had only started at 1.30pm due to overnight and early morning rain, and it meant that only 37.1 overs were possible.
But du Plessis refused to blame the stop-start nature of the day on Lancashire loss of wickets, saying: “There is nothing to blame for the way that we got out today. I felt there were a couple of soft wickets. We won’t blame the weather for those, we blame ourselves.”
In fact, the softest of the five Red Rose wickets to fall involved du Plessis, as he ran out partner Kyle Hogg. He called the left-hander through for a quick single, but Hogg was slow to react as Dwayne Smith pounced from cover.
“Hoggy still had his handbrake on when he left the crease,” joked du Plessis. “But I probably shouldn’t have taken a run to Dwayne Smith because he is a very quick fielder, so I have apologised.”
Even so, du Plessis still described the conditions as some of the hardest he has ever had to play in: “The wind coming from the Stretford End was so hard to bat in,” he said. “My eyes were squinting all the time. I wanted to pull away, but I knew the wind wasn’t going to go away. That was a challenge for me, and I have never batted in conditions as cold and windy as that ever before.”
And, in terms of the pitch conditions, he was a lot happier. He added: “It’s a very good cricket wicket. There is a lot in it for the bowlers, and if you are very disciplined there are runs for the batsmen. It is a good result wicket to play four-day cricket on.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd