County Championship Lancs v Glos at Old Trafford April 21-24

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 1

HASAN Ali took his first five wicket haul for Lancashire to turn the first day of this LV County Championship match on its head at Emirates Old Trafford as he ended the day with six for 47 in 17 overs. 

The Pakistan international took   three wickets in the afternoon session and was on a hattrick as Gloucestershire fell from 101 for nine at lunch to 150 for six in 20 overs. In the evening session he took another three  wickets as Gloucestershire were dismissed for 252.

He said: “My first five fer in county cricket for so it’s a great moment. Five wickets in an innings for a fast bowler is something special.  We made a plan to keep it simple and we kept to it. We know that we  kept putting the ball in good areas then we would get the rewards 

I was nervous about sharing the new ball with Jimmy Anderson but he was brilliant with me which I appreciated.  In the first session wasn’t good enough for us.”

In the morning session the nearest that Lancashire came to getting a wicket was when an inside edge by Marcus Harris off Saqib Mahmood just missed his leg stump and ran to the fine leg boundary.   Those were the first first runs off Saqib after his first two overs were maidens.  But after lunch it was one way traffic for the red rose as Hassan and Saqib took five wickets between them with the other wicket falling to all rounder George  Balderson.

Hassan broke the opening partnership in the eighth over after lunch when Chris Dent pushed at a wide ball from Hassan  which took the face of his bat and Steven  Croft at second slip took a juggling and diving catch to his right.  Dent had reached his fifty, which came from 103 balls and included seven fours, when he eased Mahmood off his hips for a couple.

Three overs later Harris glanced Saqib down the leg side and stumper Phil Salt took a comfortable catch.  His 67 included ten fours  and a six from 117 balls.  He reached his fifty with a cover drive off Hassan  which was of his seven fours in his fifty which came from 95 balls, it also included a six  he went down the wicket to Matt Parkinson and drove him over the long off boundary for the first six of the match.  In  the second over after lunch Harris had life  on 46 when he top edged a slash off Hassan that burst through Luke Wells hands at first slip at shoulder height and got a couple.  

In the second hour of the morning both Dent and Harris accelerated. Dent greeted Danny Lamb’s introduction to the attack by hitting him for two boundaries: the first to the fine leg boundary and the second to the square leg boundary.  Dent pulled Balderson to the square leg boundary.  His partner Harris beautifully drove Lamb to the extra cover boundary, two balls later he drove Lamb to the long on boundary.  But after lunch the Lancashire bowlers built the pressure up on the Gloucestershire batters, drying up the runs which led to the fall of wickets.

With the loss of two quick wickets the scene was set for the Gloucestershire batter of the moment with two centuries in four matches.  James  Bracey, who has been tipped by many in the know to return to the England side, was soon back in the hutch and he didn’t reach double figures.  pushed forward at Balderson and the ball beat him on the inside.

Gloucestershire skipper Graeme Van Buuren tried to build a partnership with Hammond but they only added 9, not what Gloucestershire needed.  He tried to pull a short loosen  ball down the leg side from Saqib on his return to the attack but gloved it and Salt took an easy catch.

After facing 50  deliveries for his nine his Matt Hammond lost patience and flashed at a wide delivery from Hassan edged it to give Salt his third catch of the innings.  Hasan got on an hat trick when he speared on in at Tom Lace’s leg stump and was leg before.  Zafar Gohar survived the hattrick by  pushing Hasan out into the covers.

When Ryan  Higgins clipped Lamb off his legs to the fine leg boundary to not only bring up the Gloucestershire 200 but also the fifty partnership with Zafar in 11 overs.  As they got past 200 Zafar lost his head and raced down the pitch to Parkinson missed the ball and was stumped by a mile by Salt for his first Championship stumping.

Parkinson brought in a leg slip for Shaw who responded by thumping the next ball over the mid wicket boundary for a six. Shaw backed away from Hassan trying to hit Hassan on the off side and played on.Hassan got his fifth wicket when he dragged Warner forward wh edged it and Lamb at third slip took a low catch and he wrapped the innings up when Ajeet Dale drove him on the up to Bohannon at point.

Higgins was unbeaten on 51, with six overs to bat Lancashire lost their first wicket in the sixth over when Balederson played Dale to mid wicket and set off for a single but was sent back by Wells but couldn’t beat Zafar’s return.

On a glorious day in Manchester, Gloucestershire captain Graeme Van Burren won the toss and decided to bat.  Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas gave James Anderson the new ball but the first schedule ball of the match was a wide.  Nearly as wide as Steve Hamison’s first ball of the 2006/07 Ashes series.

Day 2

LANCASHIRE’s Josh Bohannon staked a claim to be called up by England by  hitting his fourth Championship century for Lancashire which have all been at Emirates Old Trafford.  

He said: “I am not in control about England. All I can do about England is score runs for Lancashire which will put my name in the hat.  I am taking one step at a time.  

Emirates Old Trafford is a place where I want to score my runs and I love batting here. It was nice to spend some time in the middle and taking this game forward by trying to set the game up  for the bowlers to win.  Our plan this morning was to try and bat all day.  We looked at their innings and tried not to fall in the same trap but their bowlers bowled well in periods and it was hard to get the ball away.”

He reached three figures which came from 213 balls with 16 fours when leg glanced  Ajeet Singh Dale to the fine leg boundary.  His second fifty was a ball slower than his first but he hit eight fours in both his first and second fifties.  But the Gloucestershire players will be adamant that he should have made only  one fifty because they all all went up for a catch behind off Ryan  Higgins but umpire Richard  Illingworth was unmoved.

As well as scoring his century it turned out to be a great day for Bohannon in other ways.  When he reached 46 runs he had scored 2,000 first class  career runs. A flash off Matt Hammond to the third man boundary took Bohannon to 2,000 first class  runs for Lancashire at an average of  43.32.  Of the batsmen to have scored 2,000 runs for Lancashire only Stuart Law (55.63), John Crawley (51.13), Ashwell Prince (49.49), Mal Loye (46.68), Ernest Tyldesley (45.20), Clive Lloyd (44.94), Dane Vilas (44.83), & Mike Atherton (44.41) have a better career average than Bohannon for Lancashire 

He dominated a third wicket partnership of 117 in 42 overs with Steven Croft.  The partnership was broken with the new ball.    Gloucestershire captain Graeme  Van Burren delayed taking it for five overs and threw the ball to Ryan  Higgins.  Then surprisingly he threw the ball to Zafar Gohar for the second over and the plan worked.  Croft tried to do what all the batters do to play a spinner and  sweep Zafar’s second ball but he missed it and was bowled.

After lunch seven of the first 15 overs were maidens but when Higgins was replaced by Jarred Warner and Josh Shaw at the James Anderson end,  Bohannon and Croft found the runs more easy to come by and their fifty partnership came from 109 balls.

Earlier in the day the 25 year old from Bolton added 106 with Luke Wells for the second wicket. It was their fourth hundred  partnership following 155 against Yorkshire at Emirates Old Trafford, 155 against Somerset at Taunton and 109 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston all last year. Gloucestershire got the breakthrough they desperately wanted in the seventh over after lunch when Wells moved across his stumps to Zafar and back tried to play him on the leg side and was leg before.  

At the start of their partnership Wells was very much the junior partner.  It took the tall left hander Wells 30 minutes to add a single to his overnight score.  Wells’ shot of the morning was an  on drive off Shaw followed by a cover boundary the next ball.    While at the other end Bohannon was quickly into his stride and reached 20 from only 22 balls with most of the runs coming off Dale including a beautiful on drive to the boundary.

Gradually Wells caught and overtook Bohannon, reaching his fifty before Bohannon, when  he clipped Hammond off his legs and scampered a single to bring up his fifty off 110 balls with six fours.

The rate of the boundaries eased as  Higgins, whose bustling run up is reminiscent of Sam Curran, first eight overs only cost him five runs and he conceded seven runs from his next seven overs, and Zafar applied the pressure by bowling tight and giving Van Burren some control which he didn’t have with Shaw and Dale.

Lancashire captain Dane Vilas hit consecutive boundaries off Shaw the first through  mid wicket and the second to the long off boundary as Lancashire extended their beyond 20 and by the close they were 37 ahead.

Gloucestershire’s head coach Dale Benkinstein said: “We didn’t make the most of winning the toss and we did get the runs we should have. We have had a few decisions go against us. Full credit to them, they have got  an international attack and it was always going to be tough but I think the pitch will take spin.  Lancashire have got time on their hands and their plan will be to play each ball on its merit.

I thought Zafar was unbelievable, without him we would have been in a tough position.”

Day 3

JOSH Bohannon carried on  from where he left off on Friday and hit his first double century for Lancashire before he was the sixth man out for 231.  

It was the highest Championship score by a Lancashire player against Gloucestershire. He  cut Josh Shaw to the cover boundary to take him 221, to beat the previous highest score by a Lancashire player against Gloucestershire which was done twice  first by Frank Sugg at Bristol in 1896 and then Len Hopwood at Bristol in 1934.

He also hit the highest score by a Lancashire number three against Gloucestershire beating the 170 made at JT Tyldesley at Emirates Old Trafford in 1919.  In those days it was two days Championship cricket.  The diminutive batter beat his previous best of 174 made against Derbyshire in 2019 at Emirates Old Trafford when he dabbed Miles Hammond through mid wicket for a couple.  On 184 Gloucestershire were sure they had got him when he  attempted a sweep off Zafar Gohar  and the ball looped to stumperJames Bracey but umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy wasn’t impressed.

Everyone was expecting the Lancashire plan to be circumspect in the morning session and  accelerate in the afternoon but six runs came from the first over with Dane Vilas  moving his score on by five. In the next over he clipped Ryan Higgins off his legs to mid wicket boundary to bring up his run a ball fifty.  By the third over of the day Graeme  Van Burren dispensed with the slips.

Bohannon was squared up up Higgins and edged it but it fell short  off Hammond at slip.  He drilled Zafar through extra cover for a couple to bring up his third Championship 150, this one came off 328 balls and included 21 boundaries.

In the first hour the pair added 67 runs and by lunchtime they had  added 129 in 31 overs and it was the third consecutive day that a wicket hadn’t fallen in the morning session.

Bohannon cut Zafar with disdain to take him  one short off 200. He reached  200, which came from 403 balls and included 20 fours, when he pushed Van Burren out into the covers for a single. As he celebrated his 200 he received a big hug from his captain. 

Vilas backed away from Zafar and drove him  to the cover boundary to bring up his century from 135 balls with 11 fours, his second Championship consecutive century following his 124 he made against Kent last week.

Their partnership was broken in the fifth over after lunch after they had put on 203 when Vilas cut Shaw upishly  to Hammond at cover. It was the first time that Vilas has been dismissed between 100 and 120.

Vilas said: “Bohannon has been batting incredibly well.  Everything is clicking for him right now.  He is hungry for runs  which is great to see and he wants to bat at three.   He knows that he has to get big hundreds, the 150’s and the 200’s. I have had some great partnerships with him. He has the technique to bat at either three or four.” 

He was replaced by Phil Salt who made a quick fire 21 as he and Bohannon added 49 in 13 overs before Salt went down the pitch to Zafar, missed the ball and gave Bracey an easy stumping.  Four balls later Bohannon tried to sweep Van Burren but gloved it and the ball looped to Bracey.  His knock included 30 fours and a six when he danced down the pitch to Van Burren and smashed him back over his head for the first six of the  Lancashire innings.

Danny Lamb and Hassan Ali stepped on the gas but after hitting  a six and a four in consecutive balls off Van Burren, Hassan went for another big hit but top edged a sweep to Higgins running in from deep mid wicket took a comfortable catch.  Lamb and Saqib Mahmood took Lancashire to tea without any further loss.

Vilas declared at tea on 556 for seven the highest first class score by Lancashire against Gloucestershire beating the 474 for three  they made  at Liverpool in 1903.

 as the players walked off the field.

Needing 304 to make Lancashire bat again Gloucestershire lost their first wicket in the seventh over when Harris edged a short ball from James Anderson that pitched on off stump to Salt.

Salt took his second catch of the innings when Chris  Dent top edged a cut off Saqib Mahmood.  Salt leapt in front of the first slip to take it.  

Lancashire should have got a third wicket when Saqib squared Bracey up who got a leading edge and the ball flew to Croft at gully but he couldn’t hold on to it.  They did get rid of Bracey seven overs before the close  when and inswinger yorker from Hassan not only bowled him but broke the middle stump.

Vilas added: “It’s stil a good wicket and they’ve still got good players to come.  Usually on the final everything speeds up,hopefully tomorrow we will put the ball in the right areas and we’ll get the right result. Everyone wants to do well for the team.”

Zafar bowled 65 overs in the Lancashire innings and he equalled Tom Goddard’s record of number of balls bowled by a Gloucestershire bowler in a Lancashire innings.

Day 4

LANCASHIRE duly won the match but there were only 23 balls left in the day as the Gloucestershire tail made them fight to the death.

At 86 for five the match looked over but three partnerships took time out of the match.  First a partnership of 37 in 19 overs between Miles Hammond and Tom Lace. Hammond punched Matt Parkinson on the onside to bring up his fifty of the season from 148 balls.  But six balls later he was back in the hutch when James  Anderson cut one back into him and it was low giving umpire Steve  O’Shaughnessy no choice.

An eight wicket record breaking partnership for Gloucestershire against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford between Lace and Josh Shaw of 79 in 21 overs gave Gloucestershire more hope. They beat the 74 made by David Shepherd and David Allen in 1965.

Shaw lofted Parkinson back over his head for a straight six to get off the mark.  He sliced an attempted straight drive for six off Parkinson kept Saqib at deep mid on interested until it fell a yard beyond him.  

He delicately glanced Hassan Ali  along the ground through the slips to the third man boundary which made Hassan mad. He  followed it with two bouncers, the next ball was  quick, swung in from the off, kept low and knocked Shaw’s off stump out of the ground. 

25 year old Yorkshireman Jared Warner joined Lace and the pair  stayed together for 27 overs adding only 31 but they frustrated the Lancashire bowlers.  With nine overs left  in the day Lace edged Saqib Mahmood on to the off bail which in turn knocked the leg bail. Lace had brought up his fifty with a back foot drive off George Balderson to the extra cover boundary.  In the next over he top edged a cut off Hassanover the tallest of the Lancashire slip fielders Wells.

Seven ovens later Lancashire won the match when Warner edged Hassan to stumper Phil Salt who took a low catch.

Gloucestershire captain Graeme Van Burren said: “I am immensely proud of the boys. They fought until the end  against a world class attack.   We have shown  that we can do it and it shows that people can never write us off.

We are finding ourselves losing concentration for short periods of time  and that is costing us but we are working hard to fix it.

I am proud of what Zafar Gohar did yesterday for us, he was brilliant with all the bowling and putting them under pressure.  If he hadn’t done that we would’nt have been in a position to save the game.

I think the boys will take a huge amount of confidence from this game.”

It took Gloucestershire four overs to open their account on the final day when Van Burren dabbed Anderson down to third man for three.  In the next over he clipped Hassan off his legs to the fine leg boundary.

They lost their first wicket of the day on the stroke of noon when Parkinson dragged Van Burren forward who edged it to Wells at slip who took a low catch to his right.  That was the first wicket to fall  in the morning session throughout the match.

One wicket brings two, the saying goes, Ryan Higgins played back to the next ball and it flicked the off stump. Facing a king pair Lace survived the hattrick ball as Lancashire brought in a second slip. After 12 balls Lace got off the pair when turned Parkinson round the leg side.

Zafar’s second innings batting stint wasn’t as long as his bowling stint In Lancashire’s first innings.  On three he pushed forward at Parkinson and the ball went between his bat and pad.  The end for Gloucestershire was close, how wrong we were.


April 22, 2022 1:34 am

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