Cricket: Cobblers on mend as Lamb has rub of the green

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Northants 335-6 v Leicestershire

THE chastening defeat by Middlesex at Lord's last Saturday has undoubtedly taken some of the pizazz out of Northamptonshire. Old-fashioned virtues were needed here, not least off the field as, despite all the modern technology, neither scoreboard functioned for 20 minutes because the control console key was missing.

Leicestershire must have been mystified when Allan Lamb chose to bat on what appeared to be a now traditional Cobblers' green wicket. But he knew what he was doing. Only the odd delivery deviated all day, although David Millns and Alan Mullally did find some pace.

When it was banged in, the ball occasionally lifted an inch higher than expected and thus Alan Fordham, aiming to pierce the off-side field, was caught at cover off Mullally, who had to wait for his second success until the 52nd over when Nigel Felton, having struck 15 fours, failed to clear mid-off. By then he had completed his seventh century for the county off 219 balls, a solid innings illuminated by his cover driving.

Rob Bailey passed 1,000 runs in a routine 59 before falling to a ball of full length. The stage had been constructed for the star turn and Lamb, along with Kevin Curran, fired some late bullets.

Curran opened his innings with a six over third man off Millns before becoming the third batsman out lbw, suggesting there might be more help in the pitch than had seemed.

What happens next could prove interesting as one ball from Mullally, admittedly pitching in the bowlers' follow-through, threw up dust and Lamb has included the leg-spinner, Andy Roberts.