Friday, 30 July 2010

Cork must lead from the front on nervy third day

With the wicket playing as it is, it was always going to be a closely fought match, and the second day has been no different. Overall Hampshire have edged the day's play, but not by much, in a similar fashion to yesterday. With a poor record of knocking over opposition tails, the thought of having to bowl to Mahmood and Kerrigan did not sound as appealing as it would have to other sides. However we did decently in the morning session, Mahmood only adding two boundaries to his overnight score, whilst Cork had Kerrigan caught by Adams then he clean bowled Keedy to finish with 4 wickets and Lancashire were all out for 283. Two seasons ago Hampshire played Lancashire at The Rose Bowl, and Carberry was on the receiving end of a pair, out in the first over to Chapple both times. Unfortunately today was no different as Carberry lasted just three balls, shouldering arms to a Chapple delivery that nipped back and took out off-stump. 0-1. Lumb made his return to the first team for this match and was in th middle with Adams earlier than he was hoping as a rebuild was needed straight away. This they did as both men went about constructing innings. Lumb neared 50, but then played a rash shot and was out, bringing McKenzie to the crease. Adams passed 50 too, but was then out sweeping for 72. Adams' CC form has been decent but still worrying. He has passed 50 more times than any other Hampshire player this season but has only reached 100 once (the first match). Though not a pressing matter, it would be good for Adams to confirm his status as Hampshire batting god by getting to three figures a bit more often.

McKenzie and Vince both scored 33, but by all accounts their innings could not have been more different, McKenzie playing with a fluidity that comes with being in form. After a jittery and to be truthful uninspiring start to the season, the former South African test player has really come to town with the bat and in the field, more than vindicating White's decision to sign him up as a kolpak. Vince however struggled against the spin of Keedy, apparently being dropped first ball. It is quite a suprise, given how he dominated Kaneria in the Essex home CC game, then Tahir in the 20/20. McKenzie fell as the fourth wicket with the score still on 170 something, and a decent innings was needed to get things moving along, especially with Vince floundering against the spinners at the other end. Ervine provided that impetus with a 77 ball 56, striking a number of boundaries and a six, and by the time he departed, Hampshire were just 12 runs short of Lancashire's total (Vince had fallen to Croft with the score on 255). Bates scored his first first class run off of Mahmood, and added a boundary to his score to end the day 5*. Cork meanwhile played his usual way, 8* off of 4 balls with 2 fours. Hampshire closed the day a bit early due to bad light on 287-6, a lead of 4.

Obviously the target tomorrow morning, above all is to get to 300 and the third batting point. Having scored runs today at a faster rate than Lancashire (Lancashire's innings took 101 overs, Hampshire's so far 85), if Cork and Bates manage to get set tomorrow, and with some lusty blows from Tomlinson, Balcombe and Briggs, 350 could be in reach within the 110 over points cut off. That of course would be the perfect scenario, and anything over 300 will do. The most important task will be with the ball as Lancashire will be batting again by the day's close. Again in an ideal world bowling Lancashire out would be the target tomorrow, but I feel that if we can have them at least 7 down by the close then we are in with a chance of winning the match. Given how the pitch has played a draw is probably not odds on favourite, so Cork must first do his part with the bat then show the way with the ball. Chanderpaul aside Lancashire's top order does not look the strongest, and so we must bowl to similar plans that had the Lancs batsmen at sixes and sevens yesterday. The pitch obviously rewards bowlers who are accurate and persistent, and I feel that with our bowling attack we are best suited to exploit that. The weather looks indifferent over the next two days, with mostly cloud cover and the odd shower so batting will remain to be a chore for the rest of the match. To call this match season defining would be extreme to say the least, but it is exactly these sorts of game situations that we must derive a positive result from for ouselves if we are to put thoughts of relegation behind us and look up the table. I couldn't think of a better leader than Cork in this situation, either.

1 comment:

  1. Oh you are so good at suppressing your emotions *g* Slug took a very fine wicket.. Oh wait that was yesterday... :(
    Love that last sentence... Cork keeps growing on me each day.
    Didn't know though that you seriously had to worry about relegation, will stop making silly remarks about it then.

    ~ Play For Country Not For Self ~