Cricket log - August 2004
Lancashire vs Surrey, Twenty20 semi-final, Edgbaston, 7 August
Surrey sneaked into the final by holding their nerve against Lancashire. Report will appear here soon.
Surrey won by 1 wicket (scorecard)
Lancashire vs Essex, National League, Chelmsford, 9 August
Essex got off to a flyer having been put in by Lancashire. Jefferson and Irani put on an unbeaten 107 for the first wicket in 21 overs before rain halted play. They had both scored 49 off 64 balls, with Cork and Mahmood taking most punishment. The rain finally abated, and Lancashire were set a target of 110 runs in 13 overs, but, just as they were about to take the field, the rain came down once more, and the day/night match was abandoned as a draw.
No result (scorecard) - Lancashire 2, Essex 2
Lancashire vs Surrey, County Championship, Whitgift School, 11-14 August
Surrey thrash Lancashire in a one-sided game at the out-ground. Report will appear here soon.
Surrey won by an innings an 55 runs (scorecard) - Lancashire 22, Surrey 4
England vs West Indies, 3rd Test, Old Trafford, 12-16 August
The start to this match was delayed by an hour on the first morning due to a damp pitch following heavy overnight rain. Spaceman had a five-day ticket for this match and got there keenly at 10am on the first morning, but had to settle for watching both teams doing fielding warm-ups on the outfield. Eventually the coin was tossed, and the West Indies won it, electing to bat on a cloudy morning. James Anderson kept his place ahead of Simon Jones, and so England named an unchanged side. West Indies, however, made four changes, with Joseph, Mohammed, Baugh and Edwards coming in for Smith, Banks, Jacobs and Lawson (unluckily, really). When the match finally started, the pitch seemed quite quick, which prompted Harmison to pitch the ball short and rough Gayle up. The opener took a hit on the shoulder and one on the elbow, and it was Hoggard who profited from the onslaught, as Gayle tamely edged to Strauss at gully for five. An early breakthrough, then, for England, but Sarwan and Joseph steadied things, putting on 75 for the second wicket.
England needed a further breakthrough to regain control, and they were duly provided it when local hero Andrew Flintoff induced Sarwan to inside edge into the stumps off a loose drive. Lara then came in, needing seven runs for 10,000, but in Flintoff's next over, a yorker brushed Lara's pad and clattered into the leg stump. They had worked to a plan to exploit Lara's tendency to move far across his stumps early on against the fast bowlers. He was particularly uncomfortable against Flintoff, who dismissed him for a duck here to leave the West Indies on 97-3. Anderson was bowling without luck from the other end. He repeatedly found the edge of the bat (especially Joseph's), with the ball either flying wide or short of the slips. The only time it went to hand, it was dropped by Thorpe at third slip. Following Lara's dismissal, Harmison soon induced Joseph to play a loose shot to a short ball outside off stump - this time Thorpe held on. West Indies were in trouble at 108-4. But Bravo (who had been erroneously labelled a debutant by the big screen) and Chanderpaul took the game away from England. In all, they added 157 runs for the fifth wicket as they repelled the England attack, who, perhaps excited by the pace in the wicket, were pitching it too short.
Bravo brought up his maiden Test fifty with a drive and shortly afterwards Chanderpaul brought up his half-century via a top-edge over the keeper off Flintoff. Bravo was particularly impressive given his two failures in the previous Test - he even successfully fended off Giles having lost his off stump twice before to the spinner. So much so that Giles barely featured on the first day, but, to be fair, the ball wasn't turning much on the first day. At 265-4, the West Indies were looking to finish the day well on top, but the persistent Hoggard came back, as both Bravo (77) and then Chanderpaul (76) edged behind to Jones in successive overs from the bowler. The weather had been glorious all day, but eventually the clouds rolled over, the light deteriorated, and the batsmen accepted the umpires' offer to leave the field. West Indies finished the day on 275-6, with perhaps England having the slight edge on what looked like a good batting pitch. Shortly after the players left the field, the heavens opened to a torrential downpour.
The following day, rain persisted all morning. Eventually, in mid-afternoon, the rain stopped, enabling the umpires to complete their inspection. They gave a start time for play, but just as spaceman was setting off, the rain again started and, shortly afterwards, play was abandoned for the day without a single ball bowled. England started the third day eager to wrap up the West Indies innings, but they were denied by some lower order resistance from the opposition batsmen. Spaceman, meanwhile, watched on from the start clad in doctor's scrubs, with watching friends dressed similarly as doctors and nurses. The England bowlers were generally guilty of again pitching the ball too short, and a series of improvised shots over the slips, mainly from Baugh, enabled West Indies to make 395. Baugh impressed the most by making 68 off just 84 balls before Anderson wrapped up the innings by inducing a false shot, the ball lobbing high in the air to Vaughan, who took a well-judged catch over his shoulder. Mohammed had early launched Giles high over midwicket for six before falling to Flintoff for the all-rounder's third wicket of the innings. Collins also provided able support before Flintoff got one to rear up and hit Collins on the chin, who immediately went off retired hurt.
Finally, Hoggard came on and gave a lesson in pitching the ball up, getting on to hold its line and peg back Collymore's off stump. He finished with 4-83 and Flintoff 3-79. When Baugh fell on the stroke of lunch, it was assumed that the West Indies' innings was over, but, in the absence of any instruction otherwise, England were forced to take the field. After a bemusing couple of minutes, Lara finally intimated his intention to declare the innings, and the England openers rushed in to pad up. If it was intended to unsettle England, it worked, as Fidel Edwards induced Trescothick to edge behind off to Sarwan at slip off only the second ball of the innings. In the fourth over, Key played across a Collymore off-cutter and lost his off stump. England were really in trouble when they lost their captain with the score on 40, as Vaughan was yorked by Bravo. The two stubborn left-handers, Strauss and Thorpe, were the ideal batsmen to drag England out of trouble. Slowly but surely they built up a partnership. And Thorpe was let off in a big way. He mis-timed a drive off Mohammed, and lobbed the ball to Sarwan, but the vice captain spilled a low, but easily catchable, chance. It prompted Thorpe to play more aggressively against the spinner, as he played a couple of slog-sweeps to the boundary. The West Indies attack did eventually strike back. They had cranked up the pressure by bowling round the wicket into the rough outside the off stump and eventually it told, as Strauss played at one from Bravo that moved in slightly, only to get an inside edge into the stumps, but not before he had made 90.
England were 217-4 and it was late in the day (105 overs had to be bowled in order to make up an hour lost the previous day). But the majority of the crowd had waited for the possibility of seeing Flintoff, who came into bat at about 6.30pm. He hit a graceful four through the covers off left-arm wrist spinner Mohammed, but was then trapped on the crease off a full-ish ball from Bravo for just seven. He was unlucky, though, as the replays showed that the ball was easily missing leg - Taufel was trigger happy once more. Flintoff was clearly unhappy - he wafted his bat angrily at the turf on the way out and looked repeatedly for the replay; the crowd were similarly dismayed and the ground emptied rapidly following his dismissal. Spaceman, of course, stayed until the end, and witnessed nightwatchman Hoggard survive until the end of the day. England finished on 233-5, still 160 runs behind, but they had Thorpe still in on 89 not out. Alas, spaceman and friends did not win the npower fancy dress competition, with it instead going to the Mike Gatting lookalikes (with the award presented by, who else, Mike Gatting - we suspected foul play). Talking of foul play, a special mention must go to the big, yellow chicken in the G stand who raised spirits with his inane flapping and twisting.
Sunday was another glorious day, with another 105-over day in prospect. The West Indies made things tricky for the England batsmen, Thorpe in particular getting the treatment from Edwards. He took two successive blows, one on the finger (which later turned out to be a break) and one on the helmet. With the over rate being painfully slow, things crept along. But Hoggard stuck in there, making a stubborn 23 off 79 balls (he definitely has a role in the side now). Eventually, he was dismissed, edging Collymore, who was too accurate for the tail-ender, to Sarwan again. Thorpe, meanwhile, crept slowly, agonisingly through the 90s. The crowd were slightly anxious as it was a brave knock from the experience Surrey batsman. Eventually, single by single, he made it (his fifteenth in Test cricket), and he received a generous standing ovation from the Mancunian crowd. His patience couldn't last, though, and he chased a wide Bravo delivery and was caught at first slip by Bravo for 114. Jones, perhaps distracted by a Mexican wave, inside-edged Bravo onto the stumps for 12 to give Bravo his first Test five-for. Giles opened his arms and hit a full-blooded drive, only to see it nestle in Bravo's hands in his follow through, to take his sixth wicket. Collins, back on after receiving nine stitches in his chin, received a positive lbw decision for a ball swinging in and England were all out for 330, 65 runs adrift.
The West Indies started their second innings in solid fashion, with Joseph and Gayle adding 41 for the first wicket. Joseph lost his head, though, and played an extravagant drive off Flintoff and was caught by Vaughan at mid off. Sarwan and Gayle took the West Indies 143 runs ahead after adding 47 for the second wicket. A turning point, however, was Gayle's decision to loft Giles out of the rough to long off, where Hoggard scrambled forward and took a well-judged catch. Gayle had gone for 42 and it prompted the sight of Brian Lara at the wicket, still stuck on 9,993 runs. He clipped his first ball from Giles for three to move within four runs of the milestone, but Vaughan immediately brought on Flintoff, who had dismissed him twice in the last two Tests, to unsettle Lara. It worked - Lara brought up his 10,000 with a slash through point, where an acrobatic diving effort from James Anderson narrowly failed to get to the ball. The crowd rose in a long ovation, but Lara was modest in acknowledgement - he had a job to do. Flintoff, too, was unsentimental, as he bowled the next ball while most people were still stood up. That ball was blocked by Lara, but he could only edge a steepling short ball next delivery to Strauss in the slips, and Lara had fallen cheaply again.
Suddenly, England had their tails up. Chanderpaul played an uncharacteristic shot across the line, only to see the ball fly high in the air off the top edge, and the ball was safely pouched by the captain. West Indies were 99-4 and looking for a similar fightback to the first innings. England, however, weren't about to let them go again. Bravo tried a sweep shot off Giles, but he could only find the top edge, and Flintoff ran back from slip to take the catch. Then Baugh, so impressive in the first innings, played an upper cut and was well caught by the sub, Bressington, a few yards in from the boundary at third man, near the stand spaceman was occupying. Giles dismissed Mohammed, caught by Key, the Harmison removed the key man, Sarwan, who hung his bat out and edged to Trescothick at first slip. He then fired in a fast, inswinging yorker which was too good for Collins, as it rebounded off his pads and flattened his off stump. West Indies had collapsed from 88-1 to 161-9 in the space of two hours. The crowd had been well and truly roused, but the umpires offered the light to the batsmen (the light was still ok, but standards had already been set in the match) and they, unsurprisingly, took it. In a way, this will have suited the England openers, as they might have faced an awkward seven or eight overs in the evening.
Cheap tickets on the Monday ensured a healthy crowd at Old Trafford, as England took the field with the simple task of taking the last wicket. It wasn't too long before Edwards gloved a short Harmison delivery to Flintoff at second slip. The West Indies had finished on 165 all out, leaving 231 runs required by England for victory. None of the visitors' bottom eight had got into double figures. Harmison had picked up the tail to boost his figures of 4-44, but it was Flintoff (3-26) and Giles (3-46) who had ripped through the heart of the West Indies batting line-up. It was a welcome return to wickets for Harmison, though. England had successively chased totals of around 280 against New Zealand earlier in the summer, but this pitch had been wearing significantly. As in the previous run chases, England lost a couple of early wickets. First Trescothick was gated by a seaming delivery from Collymore which came back into the left-hander. Then Strauss, in a momentary loss of concentration, tried to pull a Collins delivery which was outside off stump and moving away, and he succeeded only in finding Chanderpaul at mid on. Key, who had a difficult first few overs against Collymore in particular, and Vaughan fended off all West Indies threw against them. The crowd were nervous and the required total was a long way away.
But gradually, the partnership developed. They waited patiently for the bad balls - legside deliveries and half volleys were duly dispatched to the boundary - but no chances were taken. Vaughan had taken a while to get off the mark and, shortly after he did, he top edged a hook, but managed to find a gap in between wicket keeper and fine leg. Lara turned to Gayle to find a breakthrough and he duly provided. His first ball leapt off a length and Vaughan could only guide it to Lara at slip off the splice of his bat. In came Flintoff, to a rapturous reception. He and Key were good mates, and they needed to make some serious runs because England were 111-3 and still needed 120 runs for victory. Graham Thorpe, whose finger was fractured in the first innings, would only bat in an emergency, and even then only at number nine, so England still had their work cut out. Another wicket or two and they would have been in trouble. Flintoff, initially, reined in his natural attacking game. Commentators on the game had suggested the Mohammed would feature strongly in the game with the turning nature of the pitch, but he was fairly ineffectual, leaking 25 runs off six overs.
But the longer Flintoff and Key stayed together, the more confident they looked, the more quickly they scored, the more buoyant and vocal the crowd, and the more demoralised the appearance of the West Indies. An interesting subplot was developing. Flintoff was edging towards 50 as Key neared what would be his second Test century. Flintoff got to 44, then skipped down the wicket to loft Sarwan into the stands over midwicket to reach his 11th Test fifty, and the seventh successive Test match in which the Lancastrian had made at least a half century. He then started to block out Sarwan after a series of extravagant attempts to slog sweep Sarwan. One delivery slipped off his pads and clipped the side of his leg stump, but the bails just about survived. When he played out an over from Sarwan, everyone thought he was ensuring Key got his century, but when Sarwan bowled a full toss, it was too good to turn down, and Flintoff hammered over the long on boundary. Key joined in on the action, slog sweeping for three runs, but the ball stopped inside the boundary rope with just one run required. This left Flintoff to score the winning runs, and he duly guided the ball down to third man to give England the match and the series. He finished on 57 not out and Key on 93 not out as England won by seven wickets and took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the series. Thorpe was named man of the match for his brave first innings century. For spaceman, present for every ball bowled, it had been a long but worthwhile five days.
England won by 7 wickets (scorecard)
Lancashire vs Surrey, National League, Whitgift School, 15 August
Horton and Hogg were selected for this match, in which Lancashire asked Surrey to bat first. It proved to be a good decision, as Surrey collapsed from 29-0 to 38-4, with Cork doing the majority of the damage with three wickets. Then they were 72-6 and deep in trouble. But Adam Hollioake and Alex Tudor dug them out with a partnership of 128 for the seventh wicket. Tudor hit 56 off 70 balls with three sixes and Hollioake, in seemingly his last season for the county, scored 66 off 77 balls, included two sixes. They were both removed near the end, but Surrey still managed to post a strong score of 235-8. Lancashire's response could not have been better. Chilton and Sutcliffe kept well in touch with the required run rate, and resolutely refused to give their wicket away. They put on a massive 223 runs for the first wicket, before Benning removed Chilton, for a run-a-ball 115, and Horton. Sutcliffe, though, stayed until the end, finished unbeaten on 102 off 106 balls. Lancashire had won with just under seven overs to spare and had gained some revenge for the County Championship match earlier in the week.
Lancashire won by 8 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 4, Surrey 0
England vs West Indies, 4th Test, Oval, 19-23 August
England cruised to victory in the final Test of the summer, taking the series 4-0. Report will appear here soon.
England won by 10 wickets (scorecard)
Lancashire vs Glamorgan, National League, Colwyn Bay, 22 August
Glamorgan eased to victory to take the National League title with games to spare. Report will appear here soon.
Glamorgan won by 5 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 0, Glamorgan 4
Lancashire vs Kent, County Championship, Old Trafford, 24-27 August
After a week off, Lancashire can only get a draw in a rain-affected match, which leaves them deep in relegation trouble. Report will appear here soon,
Match drawn (scorecard) - Lancashire 7, Kent 9
Lancashire vs Surrey, National League, Old Trafford, 31 August
Lancashire made sure of second position in the National League with a relatively comfortable win over the already relegated Surrey. Report will appear here soon,
Lancashire won by 48 runs (scorecard) - Lancashire 4, Surrey 0