Report: Lancashire v Warwickshire, County Championship
Chris Benjamin and Danny Briggs ensured that Warwickshire drew their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Benjamin was 22 not out, Briggs was unbeaten on 28 and their unbroken seventh-wicket stand was worth 46 invaluable runs when the players shook hands with Warwickshire’s lead on 138 and only 19 overs left in the match.
The visitors ended the match on 184 for six and Parkinson finished with three for 64 from 34 overs. Yet none of this tension had seemed likely during a morning session in which the only wicket to fall was that of Alex Davies, who had made 10 when he received a nasty lifter in the third over of the morning and gloved a catch to Keaton Jennings at second slip.
Otherwise there were few alarms for the batsmen during the opening two hours, unless one counts the nasty blow in the box that Dominic Sibley received from a ball bowled by Luke Wood. At lunch Warwickshire were 85 for one and a draw was becoming increasingly probable. However, the fall of two wickets in the first hour of the afternoon session put the outcome in doubt.
Having made 41 to go with his unbeaten 142 in the first innings, Sibley edged an excellent leg-spinner from Parkinson to Phil Salt behind the stumps. Less than seven overs later Sam Hain was leg before to the sort of Hassan Ali yorker that is clearly the Pakistani bowler’s speciality. Yates reached his first fifty of the season with a cover drive off Luke Wood but his pleasure was brief.
Four overs later the Warwickshire batsman was bowled for 55 by one from Wood that both nipped back and kept low, thereby giving him no price at all. That left the visitors on 132 for four and their lead of 86 runs was plainly inadequate. And things got worse a quarter of an hour late when Will Rhodes ticked a leg-spinner from Parkinson to Jennings at leg-slip. The Bears skipper has now scored 73 runs in six Championship innings this season.
In Parkinson’s next over Michael Burgess could make nothing of a classic leg-spinner and was bowled for nought. Now the game was properly in the hazard. At tea Warwickshire were 144 for six and had a lead of 98.
Everything hinged on whether the Bears’ last four wickets could last long enough into the evening session to ensure that Lancashire’s batsmen could not reach their victory target. On the resumption Vilas entrusted the task of making further breakthroughs to the pace of Hassan and the spin of Parkinson but Benjamin and Briggs held firm.
Before long, runs were also coming at decent lick and Briggs was even able to cut and drive successive boundaries off Hassan. Indeed the most dramatic event to take place in the evening session was the unexplained shattering of one of the massive windows in the Old Trafford press box. The attendant bang attracted the players’ attention and caused the covers to be moved but nothing broke the concentration of Benjamin and Burgess.
Lancashire took 14 points from the match and are now 17 behind the Division One leaders Surrey with a game in hand. Warwickshire took 13 points and are 39 shy of the early-season pacesetters, although they, too, have played one game fewer.
Australian seamer Nathan McAndrew took his first Warwickshire wickets to restrict Lancashire’s first-innings lead to a modest 46 on the third day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Emirates Old Trafford but a draw still appears the most likely outcome to the game.
McAndrew returned figures of four for 85, with all his wickets coming in eight overs either side of tea, but Keaton Jennings’ 110 helped ensure Lancashire made 361 in reply to Warwickshire’s 315. When bad light ended play after just three overs of Warwickshire’s second innings, the visitors were four without loss, with Alex Davies having avoided a pair on his return to Old Trafford.
But the long drama of Lancashire losing their last nine wickets for 120 had appeared anything but likely during a morning session in which the only wicket to fall was that of Luke Wells, who had made 80 when he seemed to drive the ball firmly into the ground on its way back to Danny Briggs.
However, the bowler took the two-handed catch with little fuss and was immediately congratulated by his colleagues. To the opener’s apparent bemusement, the umpires upheld the appeal after a brief consultation, thus ending Wells’ 166-run opening stand with Jennings.
Jennings and Josh Bohannon took the total at lunch to 222 without further loss and the opener reached his century ten balls after the resumption when he cover drove Briggs to the boundary to reach three figures in successive County Championship innings.
The important qualification to that achievement, however, was that this is Jennings’ first red-ball match since he made 127 in the Roses match at Headingley last July. A torn left calf ruled him out of the final two months of last season and a similar injury to his right leg has kept him on the sidelines for the first few weeks of this campaign.
Undaunted by a score of 241 for one, though, Warwickshire’s faster bowlers hit back with the new ball in the first hour of afternoon session by taking three wickets for 15 runs in six overs.
All three batsmen fell to catches in the slip cordon. Olly Hannon-Dalby produced a fine ball to have Bohannon taken by Rob Yates at first slip; Craig Miles dismissed Steven Croft for a duck, well caught by Chris Benjamin in the region of fifth slip; and Jennings’ half-hearted push at a delivery from Hannon-Dalby only diverted the ball to Sam Hain at second slip.
Phil Salt included four boundaries in a typically breezy 26 off 36 balls but he was then caught at mid-off by Will Rhodes off McAndrew, thus giving the Warwickshire bowler his first Warwickshire victim.
In the second over after the resumption McAndrew extracted much more lift than George Balderson was expecting and the all-rounder gloved a looping catch to Hain at slip. Luke Wood lasted only four balls before edging Briggs to Rhodes, also at slip, and six deliveries later Vilas departed for 41 when an attempted cut off McAndrew merely feathered a catch to Michael Burgess behind the stumps.
McAndrew also took the wicket of Hassan Ali for four but Matt Parkinson and Tom Bailey then put on 26 for the last wicket before Parkinson was leg before wicket to Hannon-Dalby for nine, thus giving the Warwickshire spearhead the excellent figures of three for 33 from 24.3 overs.
Dom Sibley carried his bat for 142, before Lancashire openers Luke Wells and Keaton Jennings shared an unbroken century partnership on a curtailed second day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
Replying to the visitors’ 315, Lancashire were 127 without loss after 42 overs of their first innings when umpires Nigel Llong and Graham Lloyd took the players off three overs before tea.
Ironically, that decision followed a delivery from Rob Yates that Wells had smashed over mid-on for four but the rain arrived soon after. However, play was not abandoned until 5.20 with Wells unbeaten on 70 and Jennings, who is making his first appearance of the season, on 44 not out. In all 35 overs were lost from the day’s minimum allocation of 96, although eight of those can be recovered on the third day.
But the signs had been ominous for Warwickshire from the opening overs of the home side’s reply. Wells looked in particularly fine form, helping himself to three boundaries through the off side off Nathan McAndrew and hitting seven in all as the first-wicket stand passed 50 in the 20th over.
Jennings was rather more restrained but he and Wells, who were opening a Lancashire innings for the first time, ignored the growing gloom and were only properly tied down by Olly Hannon-Dalby, whose 11 overs cost 13 runs. Wells reached his fifty off 90 balls with a square-driven boundary off Danny Briggs that brought him his ninth four.
A high-class on-drive by Wells off McAndrew had earlier taken Lancashire’s opening stand to fifty and the pair then increased the scoring rate to the extent that their partnership reached the landmark of a hundred runs off the first ball of the 36th over.
A few minutes later Wells had a narrow escape when a ball from McAndrew shaved his off stump but that was something of an exception on an afternoon when the Lancashire pair built a platform from which their side will hope to overhaul Warwickshire’s total on Saturday.
The morning also began well for Lancashire when Hassan Ali had both McAndrew and Craig Miles leg before wicket in his first three overs. However Dane Vilas’s attack was then frustrated for 48 minutes by last man, Olly Hannon-Dalby, who faced 29 balls for his three runs before being bowled by Matt Parkinson, who became the third Lancashire bowler after Hassan and Tom Bailey to take three wickets in the innings
That left Sibley undefeated, the fourth time he has carried his bat for Warwickshire. Indeed, he is the only Bears batter to do so since Ian Westwood performed the feat, also at Old Trafford in 2010.
And following the day’s play, Lancashire supporters gathered in the pavilion for a dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of the county’s famous Gillette Cup semi-final victory over Gloucestershire in which David Hughes defied near-darkness to hit the off-spinner John Mortimore for 24 runs in an over. The anniversary of that famous game actually occurred on July 28 last year but the dinner had to be postponed because of Covid 19.
Dominic Sibley made his 16th First Class century but Tom Bailey and Hassan Ali hit back with three late wickets to leave the opening day of Warwickshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford evenly poised.
Having won the toss and opted to bat first on what looks a very good pitch, the visitors ended the day on 273 for seven with Sibley unbeaten on 118 after over six hours’ unremitting effort.
And the vast majority of the credit for the Bears’ total should plainly go to the opener, who chose not to tour with England Lions in Australia before Christmas, instead preferring to stay in this country and work hard on his game with Tony Frost, Warwickshire’s batting coach.
The benefits of that approach were shown in Sibley’s more compact and better balanced technique as he coped very capably with a Lancashire attack lacking both James Anderson and Saqib Mahmood. His chanceless 227-ball century, which he reached with a single off George Balderson, took him exactly five hours to complete.
However, Dane Vilas’s very respectable attack made regular breakthroughs, the first of which came in the third over of the morning as Alex Davies was bowled by Bailey.
Sibley and Rob Yates then put on 35 for the second wicket in 13 overs before Yates also lost his off stump to a swinging delivery from Luke Wood that passed between the left-hander’s bat and pad.
Warwickshire were 84 for two at lunch and the following session of play was equally well-balanced. Sam Hain put on 82 with Sibley before coming down the pitch to a Matt Parkinson delivery that he turned into a full toss and smacked straight to short extra cover where substitute fielder, Rob Jones, took a good two-handed catch above his head.
Hain’s departure for 38 was followed half an hour later by that of the Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes, who hit three fours in his 16 runs before being bowled by a Parkinson leg-spinner.
But the dismissals of his batting partners seemed to have little effect on Sibley, who batted with a pleasingly unruffled tempo and was unbeaten on 76 at tea. A flurry of boundaries helped him progress quite rapidly towards three figures and much of the last session of play was controlled by Warwickshire’s fifth-wicket pair, Sibley and Chris Benjamin, who put on 99.
Benjamin, who made his maiden first-class century on this ground last August, batted with some assurance for his 47 but fell to the new ball when Bailey hit him on the back leg and gave umpire Nigel Llong a relatively easy decision.
Four overs later Michael Burgess was also leg before to Bailey when trying to work the ball to leg and Danny Briggs then fell to his second ball, caught by Keaton Jennings at slip off Hassan Ali. Bailey, who was the pick of Lancashire’s attack, finished the day with three for 50 from 21 overs.
Before the start of play, both Lambs had been culled from the squads announced on Wednesday. Warwickshire’s Matt Lamb was left out because of a hamstring injury while his Lancashire namesake, Danny, yielded his place in a bowling attack that was also missing a resting James Anderson and Saqib Mahmood, who was nursing a shoulder injury.
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