Cricket: Austin answers England's call

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Yorkshire 264-4 Lancashire 484

SHADES OF Roses matches past and present. Alan Jones in his shades would have looked as much at home in a Blues Brothers film as umpiring in a first class match. But heaven knows what the shades of past players in this historic fixture would have made of them.

By lunch, however, the ghosts of Roses matches were probably preoccupied with the imminent departure down the M1 of Ian Austin, called up by England for the Emirates Triangular Tournament international against Sri Lanka. Sunglasses are one thing, but matters have come to a pretty pass when players put a one-day game before a Roses match. At least the 32-year- old Lancashire all-rounder had the wit to appreciate that playing at Lord's would be "a good net for the [NatWest] final."

England needed Austin because Mark Ealham was still troubled by the rib injury he incurred playing for Kent against Hampshire earlier this month. The Lancashire coach, Dav Whatmore, took out the news during the morning play, whereupon Lancashire made the most of Austin's presence by bowling him through until lunch. Whether or not he should have left the field immediately is one for m'learned friends.

The news also brought a smile to Richard Green's face. It meant that the 12th man, already on the field for the injured Wasim Akram, could now bat and bowl. And it offered an interesting prospect, for Green's best bowling figures, 6 for 41, had come against Yorkshire in a friendly at Old Trafford two years ago. A similar performance here would be the stuff of Roses myth.

The appearance of Whatmore after lunch as 12th man is more likely to be the stuff of quiz questions. Whereas Austin and Green had fielded in the outfield, the Lancashire coach wisely stationed himself in the slips. This put him in a position to study his bowlers at close quarters, and he would have enjoyed the way Lancashire's left-arm spinner, Gary Keedy, applied himself on a pitch that was taking turn on the second day. Used on Wednesday for the South Africans' one-day game against the First Class Counties Select XI, the pitch gave several hints that it might not go the distance.

Austin made one delivery "explode" on Michael Vaughan before lunch, and later Glen Chapple, also bowling from the Kirkstall Lane end, undid Matthew Wood with two balls of variable bounce. The first threatened Wood's ankles. The next reared from just short of a length and brushed his glove as he swayed out of the way.

An attractive partnership of 117 between Yorkshire's two left-handers, David Byas and Darren Lehmann, put the pitch and the Lancashire bowling in their place, building on Byas' opening stand of 82 with Vaughan, and while they were together the 335 to avoid the follow on looked less formidable. First thing in the morning, Lancashire had extended their highest score in a Roses match in Yorkshire to 484, the last two wickets adding 29.

This is Lehmann's first Championship game here this season, and he and Byas gave the crowd plenty to savour. Having plonked Keedy over midwicket for six early on, Lehmann raced to 50 in 48 balls with eight fours. Chapple and Gary Yates reined him in after tea, and he hit only two more boundaries before Andy Flintoff caught him at silly point off Yates for 71. Without him, Byas reached his fourth Championship hundred before falling to Yates.

Comments