Lancashire hang by fingernails to secure draw
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Ground:Old Trafford, Manchester
Scorecard:Lancashire v Yorkshire
Player:TL Best, SJ Croft
Event:LV County Championship 2010

DateLine: 5th July 2010


It was a tight finish to the Roses Match, which ended in a draw, but with Yorkshire spinners bowling to batsmen surrounded by Yorkshire fieldsmen and fighting for survival. They did so with seven wickets down, 192 runs on the board, but with the result in doubt until the final over. Steven Croft and Kyle Hogg were Lancashire's batting heroes at the last ditch, while Yorkshire had to rue some time lost to rain, and also their cautious batting, whereas more daring and an earlier declaration might well have brought them the victory they urgently needed.


Yorkshire resumed their second innings at 111 for three, exactly 200 runs ahead of Lancashire, with Anthony McGrath on 50 and Gerard Brophy 6. Simon Kerrigan quickly struck an important blow for the home team when he trapped McGrath lbw for 57. Brophy and Adil Rashid then shared a useful and reasonably positive partnership without ever really looking to push things on with urgency; Yorkshire didn't seem to display a definite policy beyond to see how things go. They put on 52 runs in 17 overs before Brophy drove a ball from Daren Powell softly to short extra cover; 170 for five.


Richard Pyrah made 12 before, trying the push the score along, he attempted a pull against Kerrigan and was bowled by a ball that scuttled through very low. Tino Best, who followed, was one batsman whose purpose was clear, although his results were mixed; he scored 6 runs with several attempts at big hits before he leapt down the pitch to a ball from Kerrigan that he clearly aimed to put through the windows of the press box, and was stumped. Rashid stepped up a gear and played some good attacking strokes, especially the one where he steps back to give himself room to hammer the ball through extra cover. Azeem Rafiq on his arrival made it clear that Yorkshire had finally decided to look for a declaration, and he hit 13 off eight balls off his brief unbeaten stay. Yorkshire declared at their lunch total of 215 for seven, Rashid not out with 46. Lancashire were thus set 305 to win in two sessions, which amounted to 68 overs.


Lancashire's innings had a remarkable start. As long as the unpredictable Best was bowling, a result seemed likely for one team or the other. Best gave Paul Horton a single off the first ball, and then Stephen Moore hit two wild balls for boundaries. The fifth, fast and full, splayed his stumps before he got his bat down. Best continued to hemorrhage runs, but bowled the occasional very dangerous jaffa. Horton and Simon Katich looked fluent until the latter, planning to cut a short ball from Best, was too late for the pace and simply steered the ball to third slip; he made 8. Two overs later Horton, across his stumps, was out lbw for 19, and the match was alive with Lancashire on 42 for three in the ninth over.


Best was rested after six overs, with figures of three for 32. Now the game began to drift: Mark Chilton and Steven Croft settled in and kept the scoreboard moving, but did not seem to have any real ambition of chasing the target, now quite unlikely. Yorkshire's other bowlers were unable to break through, although Rafiq asked the occasional question. Steven Patterson toiled long and hard as Best's replacement, and was finally rewarded, just before tea, with the wicket of Chilton, lbw to a full-length delivery for 23. At the interval Lancashire were 94 for four, victory for them highly unlikely, but for Yorkshire still possible. Best had still not returned.


The West Indian took over straight after tea. He quickly had Croft digging out a leg-stump yorker, fending off a knee-high full toss and then edging a lifter just short of the slips. Otherwise, though, Croft and Tom Smith handled him wisely and well, and a further significant breakthrough appeared unlikely when, at 4.25, the drizzle intensified and the players left the field. This cost 45 minutes play and also worsened the light enough to prevent Best from bowling again.


On their return there was sudden excitement, as Rashid in quick succession had Smith caught at the wicket and Sutton off bat and pad. Fielders surrounded the bat as in the final hour of the match Yorkshire strove to take the last four wickets with their spinners bowling in tandem. Croft held on to reach his half-century, which came off 120 balls and may well have made the difference between a loss and a draw for Lancashire. Yorkshire believed they had Glen Chapple caught off bat and pad, but the umpire remained unmoved; however in the next over he miscued a stroke and was caught at mid-on for 23. With half an hour left and the light fading, Lancashire were 158 for seven.


But Kyle Hogg was not to let this match, the balance of which he had shifted by his fine 88 in the first innings, end in defeat. He showed he could play the dogged game, too, taking 34 balls to get off the mark as he defied the Yorkshire spinners and their marauding fielders. He saw off the final over from Rashid and was unbeaten with just a boundary to his credit, while Croft had 85, and Yorkshire were denied their victory. Best and Rashid both finished with three wickets.