Cricket: Atherton's seaside broadside
THE SEASIDE being the place to convalesce, this was an appropriate place for Michael Atherton to announce that all is not yet lost for the former England captain. Playing only his second Championship match of a season undermined again by his seemingly endless back trouble, Atherton revealed that, far from being a burned out flame, he may be about to reignite his career.
Too much optimism may be tempting fate but Atherton, batting through the day for an unbeaten 176, could hardly have done more to announce his wellbeing. He has had problems with his back for almost his entire career but after new treatment he thinks the worst of the latest episode could be behind him.
"Hopefully they have found out what the problem is," he said. "I feel fine now and with the right exercise and rehab I hope I can keep on top of things. I seem to be over the worst."
Given that he had been written off as a spent force in some quarters those words will provide substantial food for thought, especially when underlined by his performance yesterday, when at times he looked quite imperious.
The Stanley Park pitch, even after a drizzly, overcast morning, was full of runs, more so as the afternoon sunshine came through and a stiff breeze quickened the outfield. In these conditions, after John Crawley had chosen to bat, Atherton entertained the audience at this hospitable club ground with drives and cuts, pulls and flicks drawn from the very top of his repertoire.
He had not scored a century in this country since the Edgbaston Test of June last year. Hundreds for Lancashire - currently third from bottom in the Championship - have been a rare commodity, with only four examples in first-class cricket in the past four seasons. Somehow yesterday, however, almost from the outset, it seemed another was coming.
During a partnership of 218 with Mark Chilton, a Lancashire record against Glamorgan, Atherton reached 52 off 114 balls and accelerated to 102 from 190, completing his 48th first-class century with his 17th boundary, a classic cover drive. He gave his only half-chance on 148, a mis-hit pull off Simon Jones that fell just out of mid-on's reach, and by the close had struck 27 fours.
Glamorgan, beaten by an innings in three of their last four Championship matches, offered bowling of variable quality. Robert Croft was unable to make inroads, the wickets of Chilton, caught cutting, and Crawley, top-edging a sweep, both falling to the left-arm spin of Dean Cosker, after which Neil Fairbrother charged to a half-century in just 63 balls.
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.