Cricket log - July 2004
England vs West Indies, Natwest Series, Headingley, 1 July
England won the toss and predictably asked the West Indies to bat, given the way the last two matches had gone. The big news of the match was that England were so appalled by their performances in the Natwest Series that Andrew Flintoff had been rushed into the side as a batsman only, having originally been ruled out of the series with his ankle injury. Harmison showed his class by getting Chanderpaul and Smith to both edge behind, then Vaughan ran out Gayle with a direct hit to leave the visitors on 29-3. Anderson then ripped through the middle order, bowling Lara and Jacobs either side of getting Bravo caught behind, the West Indies slumping to 72-6, a score of England-esque proportions. England, though, had to make up 20 overs from McGrath and Trescothick it seemed, and this allowed the batsmen to settle a bit, as Sarwan and Powell (batting at eight) put on 63 for the seventh wicket, but Trescothick's part-time bowling eventually did for Sarwan, and shortly afterwards Harmison bowled Powell. West Indies eventually were all out on 159 after 40.1 overs. Pick of the bowlers were Harmison with 3-31 off ten and Anderson with 3-37 off eight.
England got off to a fast start in response, reaching 55-0 after just nine overs. But Bravo came on and got Vaughan to edge to slip, then bowled Key two overs later. But Tresothick and Strauss carried on regardless, as they creamed 56 off just 34 balls for the third wicket, before Trescothick was run out for 55 (off 48 balls). Enter stage left Andrew Flintoff, who kept up the scoring rate with a quickfire 21, including a big six, and England finished the job in just 22 overs, with Strauss left on 44 not out. The contrast to the other matches in terms of England's performance was marked. But things might have been different had they had to rely on their second string back-up bowlers. The balance of the side with Flintoff just batting still did not look right. But at least they were starting to pick some class batsmen.
England won by 7 wickets (scorecard) - England 6 points, West Indies 0
Lancashire vs Leicestershire, Twenty20, Old Trafford, 2 July
And so started the second season of Twenty20 cricket, with Lancashire's first of two home matches this season. Spaceman planned to go, but the weather was patchy (indeed, it rained heavily before the game), but it still went ahead. Lancashire were still without Sutcliffe, Hooper (still replaced by Mongia), Chapple, Martin, Anderson, Mahmood and Flintoff. They won the toss and put the opposition in, hoping to do better than last year in the competition. But Sadler and Maddy in particular tore into Cork, Wood, Newby and Crook (who conceded 17 runs off his solitary over). Hegg eventually turned to spin (perhaps a little too late in hindsight), and Keedy did wonders, bowling Maddy for 51 (off just 27 balls) and also picking up the wicket of Sadler. Newby trapped Brad Hodge lbw before Mongia and Schofield continued Keedy's good work, picking up three and two wickets respectively. Leicestershire had collapsed from 74-0 to 139-9 after their allotted 19 overs.
Loye and Crook made a promising start, putting on 49 for the first wicket. But they lost both, and Stuart Law stumped off Snape, in quick succession, to put the brakes on things. Mongia came in, though, and put Lancashire back on track, with 47 off 36 balls. Cork was bowled by Snape to bring in Schofield, who unfortunately could not get the ball off the square, only managing 4 off 17 balls, a criminal return in this form of cricket. It was effectively to be Lancashire's downfall, as they fell short of the Leicestershire's score by 8 runs, and Lancashire's poor run continued.
Leicestershire won by 8 runs (scorecard) - Lancashire 0, Leicestershire 2
England vs New Zealand, Natwest Series, Bristol, 4 July
England lost the toss again, and were condemned to batting first (not good given England's record at such). In slightly juicy conditions, Trescothick criminally ran himself out (he was dropped by the keeper but, instead of making the opposition pay, came back for a foolish second run, only to find himself short). Vaughan and Key again both failed to make an impact, and so it was left to Strauss and Flintoff to repair things. The first fifteen overs, with the fielding restrictions as they are, are often a chance to build a platform while scoring a hatful of funs. After 16.1 overs, England were 57-3. Flintoff was dropped on nought and the partnership started slowly, but it steadily picked up pace. They finally put on 122 in around 25 overs, before Strauss fell to Butler. Flintoff carried on, though, hitting 11 fours and two sixes, scampering a single into the covers to record his first ODI century, to the delight of the crowd (he reached 106, off 121 balls, before improvising too much in the last over and getting bowled by Butler). Collingwood hit a quickfire 20 off 20 balls as England finished on 237-7 off their 50 overs, not an overly demanding target, but certainly better thean they'd dared hope for at 57-3.
The England bowlers, though, failed to make headway into the New Zealand opening partnership, as Astle and Fleming put on 122 for the first wicket, before Astle (53 off 85 balls) was bowled by the Harmison. This only brought the in-form Marshall (55 off 51 balls) to the crease, and he and his captain put on 104 for the second wicket, to leave the visitors 12 runs short of the target with 44 balls to go. The debutant from Lancashire, Sajid Mahmood, had a bit of a nightmare, as his seven overs disappeared for 56. His county teammate, Anderson, by contrast had one of his stingiest spells (29 off 10 overs) since that great ten-on-the-bounce spell in Australia. New Zealand stuttered a little towards the end, Styris perishing fourth ball and Fleming for 99, both to Collingwood, but Oram stopped the nonsense and clubbed two fours, to give New Zealand the victory with 16 balls remaining. Their march to the final continued, as England kept up their now-predictable record of losing when batting first.
New Zealand won by 6 wickets (scorecard) - England 1, New Zealand 5
Lancashire vs Gloucestershire, National League, Old Trafford, 4 July
Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to bat. Cork struck early, bowling Adshead for 8, but Spearman was flaying the remainder of the limited pace attack (Wood, Newby and Crook) around the ground, so much so that Weston only scored 8 of a second wicket partnership of 54. Former New Zealand batsman Spearman, who, like Law, will soon be eligible to play for England (surely this shouldn't be allowed if they've already played for another international team?), scored a rapid 89 from just 66 balls (10 fours, four sixes). Gloucestershire advanced to 237-9 off their full 45 overs, with Hancock scoring 53 at a run a ball. Keedy tied things up a bit but Newby and Wood were expensive. Lancashire had even resorted to seven overs of Mark Chilton's medium pace.
Mal Loye got off to a storming start, despite losing Sutcliffe and Law (both for seven runs). He and Mongia put on a quickfire 55, a stand which was dominated by the Indian (40 off 44 balls). A crucial turning point was when Alleyne removed Mongia and Chilton in successive balls. Loye (65 from 87) put on 47 with Hegg before he fell to Fisher, as Lancashire were starting to slip behind the run rate. Cork attempted to rescue things by smashing 37 off 26 balls, but the tail deserted him by playing some injudicious shots, and Lancashire collapsed from 213-6 to 219 all out, with Cork last out. They might well have made it had they kept their wickets intact but it was not to be. Lancashire, it seemed, had lost the will to win, this being the tenth consecutive match without a victory, a sequence which included a staggering eight defeats.
Gloucestershire won by 18 runs (scorecard) - Lancashire 0, Gloucestershire 4
England vs West Indies, Natwest Series, Lord's, 6 July
England again lost the toss and, ominously, were asked to bat first. Paceman Tino Best soon had the openers in predictable trouble, bowling Trescothick and getting Vaughan to edge behind. Shortly afterwards, Key was bowled by Smith to leave England on 54-3 after 18.5 overs, another poor position for Strauss and Flintoff to rescue the hosts from. Their partnership of 226 (an all-time record for England in ODIs) was a well-executed display of controlled acceleration. The first fifty of their partnership was scored in 70 balls, the second fifty in 51, but the second hundred in just 52 balls. The hitting off the last few overs was brutal, with the the 44th over disappearing for 27 runs (another English record in ODIs) and the 45th going for 21. Flintoff hit seven huge sixes in his innings (easily beating the English record of five), one over midwicket bringing up his century, as he again surpassed his personal best by scoring 123 off 104 balls. Flintoff had smashed Gayle for two successive sixes before the spinner had him caught in the last over. Strauss hit the next ball for two to reach his own first century, before he, Collingwood and Jones fell in the last three balls of the innings (Jones run out going for a second). England eventually finished on 285-7, an unlikely score given the start they had made.
The West Indies responded in strong fashion, despite a slow start and the loss of Smith in the seventh over. Gayle and Sarwan put on 187 for the second wicket, the highest partnership for any wicket for West Indies against England. Anderson removed Sarwan and Lara to give England a sniff (although he was quite expensive), but Lara hastily signalled to the dressing room for the explosive Powell to come in next, in light of an increased required run rate, and he duly delivered by smashing 33 off 22 balls. Gayle eclipsed the England centurions of the first innings by scoring an unbeaten 132 off 165 balls and eventually guided West Indies to victory with just five balls to spare. England again missed Flintoff's capacity as a bowler, as Vaughan and Collingwood went for 68 runs off their combined ten overs. Their fielding was quite poor, too, by all accounts (the "highlight" being when Strauss threw hard at the stump and missed with Collingwood waiting for a simple throw and Sarwan resigned to his fate). Once again Flintoff's century had gone in vain, but he promptly soared to the top of the PwC cricket ratings for ODI all-rounders. England, meanwhile, had missed out a final appearance, a match in which New Zealand easily beat West Indies, despite batting first. They are a well developed ODI side and will take some beating in the 2007 World Cup.
West Indies won by 7 wickets (scorecard) - England 1, West Indies 5
Lancashire vs Derbyshire, Twenty20, Derby, 8 July
Derbyshire were put into bat and got off to a solid and fast-paced start, Bassano and Moss putting on 66 for the first wicket, but the introduction of the Lancashire spinners slowed things down somewhat. Keedy had Australian John Moss stumped for a quickfire 39 off 26 balls then Bassano was run out. Mongia then claimed the wickets of Adnan and Taylor in quick succession to stunt Derbyshire's assault. Mongia eventually figured with the excellent figures of 2-15 off four overs. Bryant and Sutton made the score competitive, with an unbroken partnership of 39, as Mahmood conceded 38 off his full quota of overs.
Loye and Crook blitzed away at the start, but Crook was soon gone for 15 off 9 balls, as he was bowled by Ali. The key partnership was between Law, with a welcome return to form, and Mongia, who struck 50 off just 34 balls. Law went for 31 off 28 balls, and Lancashire then lost two wickets with the score on 140, but this time they were not to be denied as they finally brought to an end the horrendous victory-less run. Spaceman breathed a sigh of relief. Mongia, needless to say, was the star of the match.
Lancashire won by 5 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 2, Derbyshire 0
Lancashire vs Durham, Twenty20, Riverside, 9 July
Finally, after a poor performance last year and an opening defeat in the first match of this year's competition, Lancashire were learning how to play Twenty20 cricket. They put Durham in and swiftly had the spinners on to contain things. Spinners were being used very effectively in the 2004 competition. Chapple had the first say, though, as he snared Mustard and Breese (first ball). Andrew Pratt hit 35 off 27 balls, including one six, but was trying another when he was stumped off Keedy by Hegg. The same fate befell Gary Pratt, this time off the bowling of Hooper, who had come back in to resume his place in the side ahead of the Stafford-bound Mongia, who had done well in his short spell for the red rose side. Durham never got on top of the spinners, whose combined 10 overs went for only 34 runs at the expense of five wickets (a rare bowl for Schofield yielded two wickets for nine runs off his two overs). The hosts eventually stumbled to a low 111-8.
Lancashire got off to an awful start, as Loye and Crook disappeared before Lancashire had got past 3. The experience of Law and Hooper told, though, as they calmly added 64 for the third wicket. Law went for 29 (off 27 balls), and so it was left to Hooper, with some support from the middle order, to guide Lancashire to victory. He finished on 49 off 49 balls, with two fours and two sixes and was the clear man of the match. Lancashire had their second win and moved to joint top in the Northern table.
Lancashire won by 5 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 2, Durham 0
Lancashire vs Hampshire, National League, Rose Bowl, 11 July
Hampshire won the toss and put the Lightning in to bat, who welcomed back Carl Hooper back from injury. Mongia had finished his short stay at the club and headed back to the Staffordshire league cricket. Hampshire's decision proved a wise one as their quarter of seamers ran through Lancashire's top order. They were swiftly 49-5 as Hooper scored just 3 runs on his comeback. When Chapple went for 19 with the score on 79, falling to Shaun Udal, a low target was almost inevitable. But Dominic Cork had other ideas, as he and Hegg put on 79 for the seventh wicket, doubling the visitors' score. Cork eventually scored 57 off 74 balls and Hegg 37 off 44 before both were bowled by Billy Taylor. Lancashire eventually finished on 182-8.
Hampshire started a bit better than their opponents, despite the loss of Udal to Anderson, in as pinch-hitter, with the score on 4. Brown and Crawley steadily put on 53 for the second wicket, until they were removed by Cork and Mahmood respectively. Anderson then stuck twice in three balls, first bowling Australian Michael Clarke then trapping Lamb in front second ball. The Lancastrian paceman finished with excellent figures of 3-26 off 8 overs. Mascarenhas was bowled by Mahmood to leave Hampshire's run chase struggling on 110-6, still 73 runs short of victory. But the keeper Pothas kept out the Lancashire attack as another Australian, Shane Watson, scored more freely at the other end. They gradually put Hampshire in line for victory with a partnership of 66. With seven runs required off the last over, Carl Hooper was chosen to bowl it, despite Anderson having an over remaining. However, Pothas was bowled off the first ball, and they only managed three runs off the next four balls. It fell to Watson to hit a boundary to win the match, but he only managed two runs, and Lancashire sneaked the victory by a solitary run. Lancashire had remembered how to win.
Lancashire won by 1 run (scorecard) - Lancashire 4, Hampshire 0
Lancashire vs Yorkshire, Twenty20, Headingley, 14 July
Andrew Flintoff was allowed a rare appearance this Twenty20 match against Lancashire's northern rivals (and also in the following game aginst Nottinghamshire). Stuart Law missed this match, presumably due to the back injury he had been apparently suffering from. Yorkshire won the toss and put Lancashire in, but Flintoff, promoted to open the innings, proceeded to smash the ball to all parts. Kirby took most punishment, going for 60 runs off his four overs. However, Flintoff did not get adequate support from the other end. Loye, Chapple, Cork and Schofield perished cheaply, and Hooper only managed 16. The introduction of Australian-born spinner Andy Gray halted the momentum of Lancashire innings. He first introduced Flintoff into a false stroke and pouched the return catch offered. Then, he got Hegg caught after making 20 off 16 balls. The crucial part of his innings, however, was when Hegg pulled his left thigh muscle. Finally, Keedy was run out for 0 and Chilton was stumped for 11 off the first ball of the last over of the innings. Gray finished with 3-18 and Lancashire on 168 all out, when a much greater total seemed likely at one point (i.e. when Flintoff, who hit 85 off 48 balls in his competition debut, was in).
Cork had Wood caught for two, but by then Yorkshire's score was already 34. The reason for this was the explosive batting of Australian Ian Harvey, who was improving on Flintoff's earlier effort. The young Lancastrian was captaining the game as Hegg was off the pitch injured, and he may have missed a trick by failing to bring in the spinners earlier. The slow bowlers had been Lancashire's most effective bowlers in the Twenty20 competition so far. By the time they were introduced, Harvey and Jacques were well into their stride. They put on a rapid 108 for the second wicket, before Chapple got Jacques for 39 off 32 balls. It was all Harvey, though, and he finished on 108 not out off just 59 balls, with 16 fours and two sixes. They knocked off the runs with 13 balls and eight wickets to spare to dent Lancashire's chances of qualifying for the quarter-final stage of the competition. Needless to say, none of the Lancashire bowlers' bowling figures were worth reporting.
Yorkshire won by 8 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 0, Yorkshire 2
Lancashire vs Nottinghamshire, Twenty20, Old Trafford, 15 July
Rain came down heavily in the afternoon, prompting fears of a rained-off match, but if finally stopped around 5.30pm. The conclusion of the umpires' inspection was to have another inspection at 6.30pm and finally play was designated to start at 7.05pm, with spaceman legging it for a tram in response. Twenty20, however, became Eight8, in an attempt to finish the game at the scheduled time (8.15pm). Lancashire brought in Jamie Haynes for the injured Hegg and Crook from Mahmood. The hosts won the toss and wisely chose to bat second, and so David Hussey and captain-wicketkeeper Chris Read opened the innings. Anderson bowled a tight first over (five conceded), before Hussey and Read found their feet. Hussey, in particular, improvised well with two sixes just clearing the boundary rope, with one flick over long leg from outside off stump being especially impressive. Hussey eventually perished for 33 (off 20 balls) with the score on 52 in the sixth over, mistiming Keedy to Loye at midwicket.
That brought in future England hopeful Kevin Pietersen, who showed his class by gracefully driving Cork through the covers for four. But Cork got revenge by making Pietersen edge behind from an attempted pull shot. In marched Mark Ealham, who swung, missed and turned to see his off stump cartwheeling backwards. The crowd roared in Dominic Cork has he bowled to Samit Patel, who gently lobbed the ball to midwicket, the Lancashire fans audibly willing it into Hooper's hands (observant cricket fans will note and smile wryly at the fact that Hooper was the hat-trick victim when Dominic Cork took a Test treble at Old Trafford back in 1995) - this had "champagne moment" written all over it. That was the end of the over (Cork finishing with 3-9 off one over), then Read took a single off Hooper before Shafayat perished first ball too, dancing down the wicket to be stumped by the width of the Trent. Read eked out some more runs to finish with 34 off 21 balls, Nottinghamshire finishing on 79-5.
Ten minutes later Flintoff strode to the wicket with Mal Loye to rapturous applause (this was Freddie's first home appearance of the season, and only his third in Lancashire colours). He stated his intentions early by lifting Ealham gently over square leg for four. Crucially, Flintoff was dropped at short midwicket, has he offered a sharp chance to the fielder's right. Mal Loye responded by hitting two fours of his own, as 14 came off the first over. Ryan Sidebottom then had a nightmare over, as Flintoff glided a full toss through backward point, flicked him over long leg for two successive sixes (like Hussey's shot, but the ball went higher and further) and then hit four more, with 22 runs in total coming off the over. Read immediately turned to the spin of Samit Patel, the hat-trick victim of the first innings, and Flintoff inside-edged him for four before pausing to tie-up a shoelace and promptly coming down the wicket and launching the ball into the grateful hands of long on, much to the disappointment of the watching Lancashire fans. He had hit 31 off just 11 balls, though, putting Lancashire firmly in the driving seat, and he saluted the appreciative crowd with a modestly raised bat.
Loye and Hooper eased the score along with singles and twos (nothing more was needed at this stage), but when Loye conceded a dot ball, he promptly threw his bat and was caught well at deep midwicket by a running Clough off the part-time spin of Pietersen. Hooper calmed increasing nerves by gently putting the ball over the rope at wide long on, but when he tried a similar shot he perished the same way as Loye (an even more impressive catch from Clough). Eleven runs were still needed off the last two overs, but Cork successively riled Logan by getting a wide decision and then edging him over the wicket-keeper for four, easing the pressure on the batsmen. When Cork clipped Logan through midwicket with the field up off the fifth legal ball of the over, it was all over, and Lancashire had made it with seven balls to spare. They had also progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition, a vast improvement overall on 2003's poor effort, and a welcome bit of good news in a bad few weeks.
Lancashire won by 7 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 2, Nottinghamshire 0
Lancashire vs Essex, National League, Old Trafford, 18 July
Spaceman, buoyed by Lancashire's progress in the Twenty20 competition, chose to go to this match, with the weather forecasters promising good weather. It was certainly dry, but it never fully committed itself to being a nice day. Lancashire had brought back Mongia, as Law was sidelined for three weeks with the back injury he had missed the previous couple of games with, an injury which may have contributed to his bad form in recent weeks. Anderson was allowed to play in this match in order to get more overs under his belt, but Flintoff was not. Lancashire won the toss, elected to field and got off to a perfect start. James Anderson bowled the first over to Andy Flower, who was struggling to nudge the ball clear of the fielders for a single, before Anderson pitched one right up, which went straight through the former Zimbabwean international's defences and smashed into the stumps. Chapple from the other end had similar control, tempting Napier and Bopara to nick behind to Haynes, deputising for the injured Warren Hegg (Hooper was captain for the day). The second of these catches was a superb one-handed effort in front of first slip.
Essex were reeling at 13-3, but Irani, a former Lancashire player, was determined to not to fall in the same way, and whenever an Essex batsman played an aggressive shot, it was always Irani. In this way, he initially dominated the scoring in the stand of 76 between he and Grayson. Grayson slowly started to come out of his shell, so much so that he was tempted to loft left-arm spinner Mongia to long off, only for Chapple to take an excellent catch on the run. Another solid partnership of 48 between the dependable Irani and Pettini pushed the score along, but Pettini perished the same way as Grayson, this time off the bowling of Keedy. Hooper completed the triple success of the spin bowlers (in total bowling 27 overs between them) by bowling Middlebrook for two. The dangerous New Zealander Andre Adams joined the fray, but was given little chance to free his arms, and in trying to do so by making room, was bowled by James Anderson in the final over. Irani, meanwhile, carried on regardless. He eventually reach his century and finished on 102 not out off 130 balls, with eight fours and three sixes, all hit high and handsome between long off and long on.
Essex had eventually made an under-par 185 for 7 off the full 45 overs. Loye and Sutcliffe kept pace with the target rate, before Zimbabwean-born Australian left-armer Scott Brant trapped him lbw. Adams had Sutcliffe caught behind and Mongia was leg before to Napier to leave Lancashire on 72-3 and a slight unease in the crowd. Hooper, though, was the man to calm their nerves, as he and Chilton started sedately and with few boundaries, but they slowly cranked up the run rate. Their partnership eventually finished unbeaten on 114, as Lancashire overhauled Essex's score with more than six overs remaining. They had both scored half-centuries, with Hooper's inevitably the more fluent (to go with his 1-30 off 9 - not bad for an old-timer). Lancashire had won two Totesport matches on the trot, enabling them to remain in (joint) second, but they moved closer to leaders Glamorgan (four points ahead with a game in hand).
Lancashire won by 7 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 4, Essex 0
Lancashire vs Hampshire, Twenty20 quarter-final, Rose Bowl, 19 July
Lancashire lost their England Test stars Anderson and Flintoff, who met up with the England squad in preparation for the Thursday's match against West Indies, but they won the toss. They brought in Crook and Mahmood, and did the sensible thing by asking Hampshire to bat first. And it prompted a fine spell by Chapple, who extracted prodigious movement and bounce from the pitch, reminiscent of his Lord's destruction of Essex in the 1996? Natwest final. It was Cork who struck first, however, getting one to shape away and finding the edge of Udal, the ball plopping into the safe hands of Hooper in the slip region. Chapple then befuddled Warne with a flurry of out-swingers and out-seamers, before the captain lost patience and cross-batted it to Keedy, who ran well from mid-on and to take the catch low in front of him, Warne departing for a duck. Chapple finished with the excellent figures of 2-14 off four. Mahmood was a bit expensive in his first over, but came back well and had Lamb caught behind. Prittipaul followed soon after, completely missing a classic left-arm spinner's delivery from Keedy, to be stumped easily by Haynes (still in for the injured Hegg).
Clarke and Mascarenhas, though, kept the scoreboard ticking over and started to give Hampshire the chance of a reasonable competitive score, especially when Hooper, again the captain for Lancashire, dropped a long hop on leg stump. But Clarke, who put everything into it, could only find Mongia running in from the square leg fence. That left Mascarenhas with the tail and, although Pothas contributed 10 before losing his off stump to Mongia while attempting an ugly-looking reverse sweep, Hampshire limped to 120-9 off their full allocation (which they had done well to use in the end). The comedic highlight was Mullally not knowing where the ball had gone, setting off for a run, only to be easily run out by Mahmood in his follow-through. So Lancashire only needed a run a ball, but that did not bother the adventurous Crook, who swung at the ball with regularity (connecting less often), but got Lancashire off to a great start. His best shot was an effortless looking flick off the legs for six. He finished with 27 off 16 balls before he tried one to many expansive shot, and was caught in the covers. Chilton was next in, and he looked a bit shaky, until he played a graceful straight lofted drive which just bounced short of the boundary rope.
Warne, in his first ever Twenty20 game, waited perhaps too long to bring himself on, and when he did the batsmen were well set, looking to pick him off to the legside, although the Aussie did get the odd false stroke out of the batsmen. Loye was improvising often, his edges going for fours, and trying out his slog-sweep to the fast bowlers more often than not with effectiveness. He eventually made 64 off 56 balls, as Lancashire trotted home with 21 balls and nine wickets to spare. A mention for Chris Schofield who, although he didn't bat or bowl, fielded excellently throughout the match, keeping twos to ones where others failed. Lancashire were through to the Twenty20 semi-finals for the first time (admittedly only in its second season), to be played on 7 August at Edgbaston (both the semi-finals and final take place on the same day at the same venue). The following day, they were drawn to play Surrey, who are unbeaten in the competition in its two years.
Lancashire won by 9 wickets (scorecard)
Lancashire vs Gloucestershire, County Championship, Cheltenham, 21-24 July
Lancashire won the toss and elected to bat first. Their injury list had shrunk dramatically - the only players to miss the game through injury were Stuart Law and Warren Hegg, with Peter Martin welcomed back after a spell on the sidelines. Lancashire got off to a solid enough start, despite the early loss of Sutcliffe, who was run out for 10. Chilton and Loye built a leisurely-paced partnership of 140 for the second wicket, then when Chilton went for 69 to New Zealand left-armer Franklin, Loye and Mongia put on 55 for the third. Mongia then had good partnerships with Hooper and reserve keeper Jamie Haynes to put Lancashire in a strong position 333-4. Franklin came back, though, to remove Haynes, Chapple and Cork without the total changing. He also bowled Mahmood to leave Lancashire on 362-8 at the end of the day's play. Franklin picked up where he left off the next day as he snared Mongia for an impressive 111 and finally ended Peter Martin's resistance as the visitors were bowled out for 375, their strong position thrown away. Franklin had claimed 7-60, the best figures for a Gloucestershire debutant for a long time.
Lancashire's long-running double act, Chapple and Martin, accounted for the dangerous pair, Spearman and Hussey. Martin, who was the pre-match nominated player, was then replaced by James Anderson, fresh from another England rejection. But it was Cork who did the damage, trapping Taylor for lbw, then bowling Gidman for one. Anderson did his bit, claiming a return catch from Weston, who top-scored in the innings with 40. At 99-5, a fighting partnership between Franklin and keeper Adshead of 82 brought them closer to the follow-on target. Keedy eventually claimed the wicket of Franklin for 34, and then Cork sent Adshead, Fisher and Ball back to the pavilion (he eventually finished with 5-54. Averis and Lewis crept past the follow-on target, but Gloucestershire were soon out for 234. Chilton and Sutcliffe played cautiously at first, presumably making sure that defeat was not possible. They added 115 for the first wicket, before Sutcliffe chipped a return catch to Ball.
This only brought in Loye, who clearly had orders to up the tempo, and he hit a rapid 69 runs off 54 deliveries, with six fours and four sixes. When he was gone, Mongia took up the gauntlet, blasting an unbeaten 76 off 52 balls, with two sixes of his own. Chilton had scored more sedately at the other end, but his 124 still eventually came off only 175 balls. Lancashire had scored 354-2 off 66 overs, and Gloucestershire's resulting target was an lofty 496 runs to win. They set out with the aim of stonewalling, but still Spearman fell cheaply to Anderson. Partnerships of 101, 48 and 65 gave Gloucestershire hope of saving the game, but Hooper and Anderson came back to take three wickets each in total to leave the hosts struggling on 233-6 with a good chunk of the day's overs remaining. But Gloucestershire, in the form of Adshead and Fisher, dug in. At one point, they were scoring well below one run per over. Keedy, who sent down 48.4 overs, managed a solitary wicket, that of Fisher, but Ball came in and did a similar job.
Gloucestershire survived the day, finishing on 366-7, but taking 143.4 overs to do it, as Lancashire were denied the win that they so badly needed. Worse news was to follow as Warwickshire beat Surrey to extend their lead at the top of the table. Lancashire, after the round of matches had been completed, were in fourth, a massive 54 points behind Warwickshire (who were also 41 points behind second-placed Gloucestershire). No-one, apart from the leaders, is certain of avoiding relegation due to the closely-packed nature of the league table. Lancashire can more or less say goodbye to the championship for this year, and after such a promising start. If only last year they had the good weather they have had this year. Their batting as not functioned anywhere near as well as the previous year and their bowling, as demonstrated on this placid pitch, has lacked penetration at crucial times.
Match drawn (scorecard) - Lancashire 11, Gloucestershire 8
England vs West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 22-26 July
England lost the toss and were asked to bat on a muggy Thursday morning by Brian Lara. Simon Jones was preferred to James Anderson, who promptly zoomed over to Cheltenham to take part in Lancashire's County Championship match against Gloucestershire. Lara was made to rue his decision to put the opposition in, despite Tino Best picking up the wicket of Marcus Trescothick, who clipped the ball to square leg. The two more inexperienced England batsmen, Andrew Strauss and Robert Key (in for the injured Butcher), took advantage of some poorly-directed West Indian bowling to score rapidly throughout the morning and afternoon sessions. The put on 291 for the second wicket (in about 60 overs) before Strauss finally edged off-spinner Banks to the keeper. Strauss had scored 137, continuing his golden run of scores at Lord's, his home ground. Key, though, was undeterred, and England finished the day with a massive 391-2, with Key unbeaten on 167. Key carried on during the second morning where he had left off the previous day, as he moved on to his double century with a clip through midwicket, a shot which had got him a vast proportion of his boundaries during the innings. Key eventually went for 221, edging the impressive Bravo to Lara at slip, but the damage had been done.
Thorpe added a quick 19, but his dismissal just before lunch brought around a slightly careless England collapse. Flintoff signalled his intentions by his third ball, and his first off the spinner Banks, straight over the bowler's head for six. He tried an expansive drive at the next ball, which was delivered wide of the stumps, but it span back sharply, clipped the inside edge of Flintoff's bat, and hit the stumps in the last over before lunch. After the break, Collins, in a tight spell, picked up the wickets of Jones, Giles, Jones and Vaughan in successive overs, all edging to the keeper or first slip. Vaughan had made 103, a welcome return to form for the England captain. To finish the innings, Bravo bowled Harmison and England were all out for 568, having been 527-3 at one stage. They had, however, scored at an amazing 4.67 an over, a feat which had put them in strong position by only the middle of the second day. West Indies started well in response, as Gayle and Smith put on 118 for the first wicket. But Smith tried a shot square on the off side off Giles and succeeded only in deflecting the ball onto his stumps, then Giles had Gayle out leg before attempting a sweep shot, although his pad was outside the line of the off stump.
Hoggard then exploited Sarwan's weakness in playing across the line of the ball to trap him plumb in front, and shortly afterwards Lara was given out caught behind, despite the bat being well hidden behind the pad (which the ball had actually clipped). The West Indian captain was not happy. Chanderpaul and Bravo survived until the end of the day. Jones eventually got Bravo caught behind (by Jones - incidentally, the only occasion in Test cricket where two players of the same name but not family have both been involved in a dismissal), but they had increased the score from 139-4 to 269-5. Chanderpaul, with Jacobs and then Banks, put on successive stands of 63 and 72 to continue to frustrate England. In desperation, Michael Vaughan turned to Flintoff, around whom they had been some doubt over bowling in this Test, as he had an ankle spur which had been causing him some discomfort. A cortisone injection enabled him to turn his arm over and he used reverse swing to good effect, castling Banks and Best (in successive overs), and then Collins. Giles then bowled Edwards, who attempted an ugly cross-batted swipe, to finally dismiss West Indies for 416, the visitors conceding a first innings lead of 152 runs.
Tresothick and Strauss first set about making sure that England got the most out of their lead, eking out 86 in 27.3 overs. Collins finally beat the defences of Trescothick with a yorker, and he then had Strauss caught by Sarwan. The running between the wickets between Key and Vaughan was shaky, and eventually was Key downfall in a comedic mix-up. Thorpe came in and added 116 for the fourth wicket with captain Vaughan, to put England in a commanding position at 233-4, 385 runs ahead (following his dismissal, when he chipped the ball back to the bowler Gayle). Enter stage left Andrew Flintoff, who is tailor-made for this sort of situation. Sure enough, he soon started hitting the ball to all parts, including two sixes, both off Banks over long on and deep midwicket respectively. Vaughan, who had signalled his intent to increase the scoring rate with four fours in an over from Collins, eventually moved to his second century of the match, then soon after Flintoff edged behind, having made 58 off just 42 balls. Vaughan immediately declared with the score on 325-5, leaving the West Indies an unlikely 478 to win. Gayle showed scant respect for the match situation, as he flayed the ball to all parts of the ground. At the other end, however, Giles trapped Smith in front, and Hoggard did the same with Sarwan, in an identical dismissal to the first innings.
Gayle and Lara then put on 67 for the third wicket, but Harmison had the last laugh, having had Gayle play several streaky shots through the slips and gully region, yorking with him with a fast-paced delivery. On the final day, Lara danced down the track but was bowled by a sharply turning Ashley delivery, whose delight was obvious. There was then a mini-collapse, as Bravo, Jacobs, Banks and Best fell in the space of 5.3 overs, for just 9 runs. The highlight of this was the dismissal of Tino Best. Flintoff, standing at slip, proceeded to provide commentary to Best, with comments such as "You can still do it, Tino" and "Mind the windows, Tino". They had the desired effect, as Best charged down the wicket to Giles, only to be stumped by a mile, much to the amusement of Flintoff and the other England fielders. Collins and Chanderpaul (who had gloved the ball the bat-pad early in the innings, but survived) frustrated the England bowlers, putting on 47 for the ninth wicket. With dark clouds looming overhead, the England players started to become a little nervous, but Collins was stumped off Giles attempting an expansive shot, and Edwards edged golden arm Flintoff to the keeper to end the innings on 267. The West Indies lost by 210 runs and Giles finished with 5-81 and match figures of 9-210 - he was consequently awarded the man of the match decision on what was a good batting patch. England went 1-0 up in the series, and had now won 7 of their last 8 Test matches.
England won by 210 runs (scorecard)
Lancashire vs Gloucestershire, National League, Cheltenham, 25 July
Gloucestershire won the toss and chose to bat at their main out-ground. They made a flying start, with Craig Spearman being particularly destructive. However, a rain-break halted Gloucestershire's speedy progress, and shortly afterwards, Anderson got Spearman out pulling for 46 off juts 32 balls. The slowdown in the run-rate was only short-lived, though, as, following the dismissal of Weston by Mahmood, Hussey and Windows put on 56 for the third wicket. The match was reduced to 36 overs each after the delay, and Gloucestershire made the most of it, finishing on 211-9. Anderson took 3-41 off eight overs.
Lancashire's response started poorly. Lewis trapped Sutcliffe in front early on, and then removed Loye and Mongia in successive balls with the score on just 27. Lancashire's effort never recovered and they lost wickets regularly. Lewis finished with 5-23 and the spinners Fisher and Ball picked up 3-34 and 2-16 respectively as Schofield top scored with 22. They eventually finished on 114 all out after 29.2 overs, 97 runs behind increased to 102 runs by the Duckworth/Lewis method. Lancashire's good run had faltered slightly, but the away fixture with Gloucestershire is never an easy one.
Gloucestershire won by 102 runs D/L (scorecard) - Lancashire 0, Gloucestershire 4
Lancashire vs Warwickshire, National League, Old Trafford, 27 July
Lancashire put the visitors in, but pinch-hitter Carter started off well, with 40 off 33 balls. Anderson had returned to England duty, so Chapple and Cork opened the bowling. It was the former Derbyshire bowler who had success, removing both openers to leave Warwickshire on 54-2. Nick Knight, the captain and in storming Championship form this season, held the rest of the innings together. He shared stands of 53 and 74 with Bell and Hogg, and later an unbeaten 63 with Ostler, as they accelerated strongly towards the end of the innings. Knight finished on 122 off 116 balls with two sixes, and Warwickshire had finally scored 251-5 off the full 45 overs. Spaceman arrived home from London at the start of the second innings and decided to first listen on internet radio and then watch the match on Sky at the Sports Café, choosing not to hop on a tram to the game.
Loye started the innings attempting his trademark sweep to the fast bowlers, and was trapped in front by Dougie Brown. Chilton and Sutcliffe put on a useful partnership of 64 for the second wicket, but Chilton tried a shot too many and was caught by Knight.
The crucial partnership was to follow, as Mongia and Sutcliffe put on 125 for the third wicket. While Sutcliffe was riding his luck, Mongia was taking the bowlers to the sword. The highlight was Mongia responding to the chat of Australian left-arm wrist spinner Brad Hogg by launching him over midwicket for six. Hogg wasn't happy and possibly invited him to do it again, which Mongia obliged. The partnership put Lancashire well on course for victory, but a collapse put things in doubt. First Sutcliffe was run out going for a needless quick single. Then Hooper chopped on before Schofield was leg before first ball, both falling to left-armer Carter. Cork was soon run out and it fell upon reserve keeper Haynes and Mongia to take Lancashire nearer the total. But Haynes was run out with 13 still needed. Lancashire, with two wickets in hand, got it down to eight off 10 balls, but Warwickshire had neglected to watch the clock, and they were penalised six runs for going past the scheduled finish time (adjusted for injuries, wickets, etc). Two runs were much more easily scored and Mongia scored the winning runs, his match-winning innings totalling 104 off 105 balls. Lancashire had sneaked home by two wickets and restarted their National League campaign.
Lancashire won by 2 wickets (scorecard) - Lancashire 4, Warwickshire 0
Lancashire vs Warwickshire, County Championship, Old Trafford, 28-31 July
Warwickshire won the toss and chose to bat. Chris Schofield was given his first Championship match of the season, while Hegg, Law, Martin, Flintoff and Anderson (the latter pair with the England team) were all absent. They started serenly, with Knight and Wagh adding 72 for the first wicket, until the unlikely figure of Chilton, bowling his gentle medium-pacers, had captain Knight caught behind for 25. Wagh followed soon after, offering a return catch to Keedy. Then, in the space of four balls, Keedy nipped out Trott and Powell, to leave the visitors struggling on 92-4. Alas, that was the last success Lancashire had in the day, as Ian Bell and Dougie Brown put on 254 for the fifth wicket, as any advantage the home side had earned swiftly dissipated. Cork started the fightback, however, and with the score on 346, he removed England prospect Bell (for 112) and Hogg (for 0). In the end, Lancashire did well to restrict Warwickshire to 410 all out, as Schofield claimed his first Championship wicket of the season, and Keedy got two more victims for 5-109. Lancashire's response was solid if not spectacular. Chilton went for 19, but Sutcliffe, with Loye (who subsequently retired hurt with an achilles injury) and Mongia, added 98 for the second wicket. But when Hogg dismissed Mongia, Hooper and Sutcliffe to put Lancashire on 190-4, it looked very possible that they might concede a first innings deficit.
But Schofield and Chapple had other ideas, as they added 168 for the fifth wicket. Cruelly, after bright knock off only 137 balls, Schofield edged Carter to the slips while on 99, one run short of his maiden first class ton. Chapple kept up the momentum, scoring 112 off just 90 balls, including 10 fours and three sixes. But, at 409-5, when they were threatening to gain a large advantage, four wickets fell for three runs, three of them to off-spinner Wagh. With Loye not returning, Lancashire were all out for 412, a lead of just two runs. The last partnership had lasted long enough, however, to deny Warwickshire a third bowling point. Warwickshire started in similar fashion in their second innings, losing Knight and Wagh relatively cheaply, but Bell was there again, this time finding an ally in Jonathan Trott, as they put on 118 for the third wicket. Lancashire fought back once more, though, removing Trott, Powell, Tahir and Brown for 31 runs, leaving Warwickshire on 215-6. They responded in style, with Australian Brad Hogg hitting an unbeaten 72 off 90 balls, including two sixes, and Bell making 181 before being run out. He had made an aggregate total of 293 runs in the match.
Warwickshire declared on 353-7 near lunch time on the final day, to set Lancashire with an unlikely 352 to win, in around 60 overs. Brown soon had Chilton and Sutcliffe back in the pavilion, but Mongia, fresh from his match-winning one-day innings against the same opponents, held firm. His 108 not out formed the backbone of the Lancashire second innings, and he got his main support from Schofield (40) as they moved the score to 178 before Schofield was bowled by Wagh to end his brief run at the top of the batting averages (he had also been top of the bowling averages after the first innings). Lancashire eventually reached 194-4 off 52 overs before the match was declared a draw. Honours again even between the two sides, which did nothing to help Lancashire's lofty ambitions of the title, but it did at least give some breathing space between them and the relegation zone. This match put them fifth on 117 points, still 53 points behind the leaders Warwickshire with five games to play. Lancashire sat out the next round of Championship fixtures, matches which would make the league position much clearer.
Match drawn (scorecard) - Lancashire 12, Warwickshire 11
England vs West Indies, 2nd Test, Edgbaston, 29 July - 2 Aug
Michael Vaughan called correctly and chose to bat on a flat-looking pitch in Birmingham (Brian Lara appropriately held his head in his hands). England opted to bring in James Anderson in for Simon Jones (who promptly headed for Glamorgan's championship match but couldn't get into the side). West Indies brought in Corey Collymore and Jermaine Lawson for the expensive and off-form Fidel Edwards and the injured Tino Best (who later went home with a stress reaction in the lower back). The West Indies' bowling was noticeably tighter than at Lord's and consequently the England scoring rate was much reduced. It still did not stop Trescothick and Strauss adding 77 in just over 17 overs for the opening wicket (which meant that their opening partnership was something like fourth in the all-time averages, although admittedly after a lot fewer matches). The runs had dried up a bit just before and prompted Strauss to go after a wide one from Lawson, and he succeeded only in getting a thin edge to Jacobs for 24. Key, also, wasn't offered the same feast of leg stump half volleys as in the 1st Test and, just before his dismissal, he got worked over by Collins and needlessly played away from his body and edged to Lara at first slip for 29. Vaughan, also, played a loose shot, as he lobbed the ball back to Bravo for a simple return catch (that he nearly dropped) having scored just 12. England's advantage in winning the toss was drifting away at 150-3.
Trescothick and Thorpe, who had both not cashed in on the run feast at Lord's, concentrated on building up England's score, as they added 60 for the fourth wicket. Trescothick made his century, but was soon dismissed by Bravo for 105. Thorpe and Flintoff put on another half-century partnership, but Thorpe nicked behind for 60 off Collymore and it was evenly poised with England on 262-5. Jones came into bat to join Flintoff, and their amazing run of form when batting together continued. They made an unbroken 51 on the first day to leave England better placed at 313-5 when the batsmen accepted bad light with a handful of overs remaining. The first session on the second day was crucial and England made the most of it. Flintoff, happy to take the calmer role, was outscored by Jones, but they both still batted positively to take the game away from West Indies. In all, they added 170 runs in a shade over 30 overs. Jones was finally edged an outswinger to the keeper for 74 (off just 97 balls), but Flintoff kept on striking the ball as cleanly as he as ever done. He was not in the mood to miss out on his century this time, as he pulled the ball through midwicket to bring up his fourth Test ton, off 121 balls. By this time, he had already hit three sixes, one of which, straight over long on off Lawson, amazingly picked out his dad in the top tier of the stand (not deliberately it turned out), who promptly dropped it and palmed it into Michael Vaughan's mum's lap.
Flintoff and Giles added a relatively calm 46 for the seventh wicket, but the fireworks started up again when Hoggard joined Flintoff at the crease. Flintoff moved past his previous highest Test score (of 142) with two successive fours, notched up his 150 with a bullet straight six off Banks, then, in the same over, launched two more sixes over midwicket to take him to his highest first class score (his previous best being 160). Bravo spoiled the fun by fooling Flintoff with a straigh, slower delivery and trapping him plumb in front. England were 520-7 by that point, and it seemed as though the end was nigh. Anderson backed this up by not lasting long, but Hoggard and Harmison prolonged the innings with a cheeky display of strokes, the highlight being Harmison's reverse sweep for four off Banks. It all finished in a blur too, as Harmison hit two successive fours, over extra cover and long off, before smiting the next ball over midwicket for a mighty six. Michael Vaughan stopped the fun by calling the batsmen in and declaring. Harmison had made 31 off just 18 balls and the pair of them had put on 41 together to leave England 566-9.
The England bowlers, spearheaded by Hoggard, started in fine style, as the Yorkshireman induced Smith into a leading edge to a jumping Giles at gully, and then bowled Gayle round the back of his legs. Lara and Sarwan showed their class, and the relatively placid nature of the pitch, by taking the England bowling apart. They added an unbeaten 172 to leave the West Indies on 184-2 by the end of the second day. They had put on 209 runs for the third wicket when Vaughan handed the ball to Flintoff. His over seemed to unsettle Lara, and he seemed slightly unsighted when jamming his bat down on a fast yorker. The next ball was pitched up and outside the off stump. Lara was still rattled and played the ball too far in front of him - he succeeded only in edging the ball to Thorpe at a handily-placed wide slip position. Sarwan, together with the in-form Chanderpaul, carried on unabated, and Sarwan brought up his century with a boundary through the third man region. They put on 76 before Flintoff came roaring back, inducing Sarwan to play on to his stumps.
West Indies were 297-4 and still well-placed, but England had their tail up. It was Giles' turn to step up the plate, and he bowled a peach of a leg-break, turning from outside leg stump to clip the top of off, which defeated Bravo's attempted leg-side stroke. Hoggard then found the edge of Jacob's bat in the next over, and in the following over, Key claimed a well-taken bat-pad catch from Chanerpaul off the bowling of Giles to leave West Indies reeling on 324-7. It was the beginnings of a collapse that England had seen before. It wasn't long before Collins then turned Giles straight to Flintoff at leg slip who, in an almost exact replica of a dismissal taken by Garfield Sobers appearing in footage shown at lunchtime on Channel 4, claimed it brilliantly just an inch or two off the ground. Banks edged Harmison in the next over and five balls later Giles trapped Collymore in front to finish with 4-65. Hoggard returned figures of 3-89, but Flintoff had taken the two key wickets of Lara and Sarwan. West Indies were all out for 336, having lost their last six wickets for 13 runs. They were 230 runs behind but, on a deteriorating pitch and with tired bowlers, Vaughan opted not to enforce the follow-on.
Their plan was similar to that at Lord's - first put the West Indies out of the game and then score rapid runs to give the maximum overs to bowl the opposition out. The West Indies kept them pegged back well. Lawson dismissed Strauss, who fell in identical fashion to the first innings, slashing at wide one outside off stump. Key and Vaughan subsequently both edged to Gayle at first slip off the same bowler to leave England on 52-3. Thorpe again joined Trescothick to ensure that England were 148-3 at the end of day three. On the fourth morning, Lawson and Gayle bowled unchanged for the entire session. Eventually, after 132 had been added for the fourth wicket, both Trescothick and Thorpe fell, the former marginally run out and the latter stumped attempting a rather extravagant heave at Gayle. Flintoff came in and promptly clubbed Lawson for a four and a six, but then miscued a pull off Gayle and was easily caught, but not before Lawson had nipped one through between the bat and pad of Jones. Gayle then mopped up the tail, bowling Giles, trapping Harmison in front (attempting a repeat of the first innings reverse sweep) and getting Hoggard caught by Smith. England were all out for 248, but crucially they had a lead of 478 runs.
Hoggard soon had the out-of-form Smith caught at first slip, before it was the turn of Giles once more. He removed Sarwan with an agile bat-pad catch by Strauss, then had Lara caught at slip, although replays suggested Lara hit his foot. Gayle and Chanderpaul then put on 71 to take West Indies up to 172-3. Then Giles, having switched ends, obtained a favourable lbw decision of Darrell Hair, as Chanderpaul, who had repeatedly not offered a shot to a ball outside off stump, did not stand for such negative play. This precipitated the usual West Indies collapse. Giles almost immediately bowled Bravo with an identical ball to the first innings (bit of a theme), as the ball turned from leg to off and missed the youngster's weak defensive shot. Soon after, he claimed a five-wicket haul by having Gayle caught by Strauss. Hoggard tempted Jacobs to lob the ball over mid-off, but Anderson, back-pedalling rapidly backwards, took an excellent overhead catch with his fingertips. The Yorkshireman soon had Collins trapped in front. Finally, Anderson got into the game by bowling Collymore with a full-pitched delivery and Lawson with a fast yorker, as West Indies were all out for 222, having lost by 256 runs. England took a 2-0 series lead and hence retained the Wisden trophy.
England won by 256 runs (scorecard)