Su­perb Ball in­spires Notts

Pace­man takes five wick­ets but Lan­cashire fight back Hamp­shire take con­trol de­spite Cox’s sharp fifty

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Cricket -

Jake Ball earned a stand­ing ova­tion at Old Trafford af­ter a su­perb five-wicket per­for­mance helped Not­ting­hamshire to skit­tle hosts Lan­cashire for 158 in the Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship.

The pace bowler’s dis­play in­cluded two wick­ets in two balls shortly be­fore tea to put last sea­son’s second-placed side in Di­vi­sion One on the back foot af­ter there was no play on Fri­day’s open­ing day due to a wet out­field.

First, Ball tempted Steven Croft into mishit­ting a hook that spooned the ball be­hind, en­abling slip Riki Wes­sels to take the catch on the run. Then Tom Bai­ley chased a ball wide out­side off stump and edged through to wick­et­keeper Tom Moores.

Ball’s first vic­tim was Haseeb Hameed, one of two Eng­land hope­fuls who opened the bat­ting for Lan­cashire only to dis­ap­point. Hameed was lbw for three while his part­ner, Keaton Jen­nings, on his de­but for the hosts, was caught and bowled for 11. Ball also had Jor­dan Clark caught cheaply and fin­ished the Lan­cashire in­nings by re­mov­ing Gra­ham Onions for a duck.

Lan­cashire’s bowlers started mod­estly in re­sponse, al­low­ing their vis­i­tors to reach 62 for two, be­fore claim­ing a late flurry of wick­ets that put the match in the bal­ance. Not­ting­hamshire were on 127 for six at the close.

The fight­back be­gan when Onions took his first Cham­pi­onship wicket for Lan­cashire, although that came cour­tesy of a leg-side “stran­gle” which re­moved Jake Libby for 15. Bai­ley then had Steven Mul­laney caught by Alex Davies for 24 when the keeper dived in front of first slip to take the catch.

The same bowler re­moved Chris Nash, also for 24, when the former Sus­sex bats­man played across the line to a ball that may have been drift­ing down leg. Bai­ley then had Ross Tay­lor lbw for nine to com­plete a fine fight­back.

Joe Men­nie then in­duced Samit Pa­tel to play on when he had made 28 and night­watch­man Luke Fletcher was caught down the leg side for two.

At the Ageas Bowl, Worces­ter­shire’s

Ben Cox claimed the 22nd first-class fifty of his ca­reer, but Hamp­shire fin­ished with an 242-run lead fol­low­ing an en­thralling second day.

Cox col­lected 65 in a qual­ity knock, as the vis­i­tors posted 211 in re­ply to Hamp­shire’s 290, leav­ing them with a first-in­nings deficit of 79. Hamp­shire then ended play on 163 for eight, with a lead of 242, af­ter a sprightly evening of bowl­ing from Worces­ter­shire.

In the second di­vi­sion, James Har­ris starred with bat and ball at Lord’s and there was a landmark mo­ment for Tim Murtagh as Mid­dle­sex wres­tled con­trol from Northants on a day when 26 wick­ets fell.

Har­ris fol­lowed a gutsy un­beaten 46 with five wick­ets for nine runs for the 2016 county cham­pi­ons, who are look­ing for an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the top tier fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion last sea­son.

“It’s nice,” said Har­ris. “I’ve been at home all this win­ter and spent a lot of time putting work into my game. You hope for days like this and I’ve played enough games to know they don’t come along that of­ten. I need to do well with ev­ery­thing. I have been put in to bat seven so I have to score more runs and take more re­spon­si­bil­ity with that. It was nice to do that first in­nings and get us past 200 for the ex­tra point.

“If I can bowl the length I bowl when I’m at my best then that is the sort of wicket I’d like to pack up and take around with me.”

Murtagh cel­e­brated his 700th first­class wicket as Northants were routed for 71 in just 21.2 overs. It gave Sam Robson’s side a 143-run first-in­nings lead de­spite los­ing their last six wick­ets for 78 in an ex­tended pre­lunch ses­sion.

At Can­ter­bury, Kent were dis­missed in­side 91 min­utes for 64 and only a Gareth Rod­er­ick half-cen­tury saved

Glouces­ter­shire from sim­i­lar ig­nominy as 18 wick­ets fell on day two of the rain-de­layed clash.

When bad light stop played just be­fore 6pm, Glouces­ter­shire had mus­tered 110 for eight to es­tab­lish a slen­der lead of 46 cour­tesy of Rod­er­ick’s top score of 51 and a vi­tal 42-run stand in tan­dem with Kieran Noema-Bar­nett (18).

Wick­ets had started to tum­ble al­most as soon as the um­pires, Neil Bain­ton and Mike Burns, had de­clared con­di­tions fit for play at 1.10pm when, af­ter the loss of the game’s first four ses­sions, Glouces­ter­shire elected to bowl af­ter an un­con­tested toss. Lef­t­arm pace­man Matt Tay­lor rev­elled in ideal bowl­ing con­di­tions to bag four for 20 while Craig Miles took three for 11 as Kent were bowled out in­side 18.5 overs.

Tim Am­brose and Ian Bell rose above the col­lec­tive rust with pol­ished half­cen­turies as Warwickshire and Sus­sex be­lat­edly launched their sea­son at Edg­bas­ton. When the match fi­nally started, the first four ses­sions hav­ing been lost to the weather, Sus­sex ea­gerly took up the op­tion to bowl but the home side reached 284 for nine – an im­pres­sive to­tal given the des­per­ate bat­ting else­where in the second tier.

With both sides starved of match prac­tice af­ter the rain-rav­aged pre-sea­son, bats­men and bowlers alike were feel­ing their way into the sea­son.

Of the bats­men, only Am­brose (76 not out from 106 balls, with 10 fours) and Bell (70, 91 balls, 14 fours) found any flu­ency. For oth­ers it was a case of cob­bling to­gether runs against a Sus­sex attack that, led by David Wiese (four for 50), de­liv­ered its share of good balls with­out the con­sis­tency of per­for­mance that comes with reg­u­lar cricket.

In the In­dian Premier League, Eng­land bats­man Ja­son Roy’s scored an un­beaten 91 off 53 balls to guide the Delhi Dare­dev­ils to a thrilling sev­en­wicket win over the Mum­bai In­di­ans.

Day to for­get: Keaton Jen­nings made a poor start to his Lan­cashire ca­reer, be­ing dis­missed for 11 as his side col­lapsed to 158 all out

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