Cricket: Crawley survives in cat and mouse game

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 242

Lancashire 265-6

THE game here settled into one of cat and mouse yesterday as Lancashire inched forward with little more conviction than Nottinghamshire showed on Thursday.

So closely did Lancashire's progress mirror their hosts' that the first and fourth wickets fell at identical scores. Lancashire made their runs more quickly, but still at less than three per over.

Nottinghamshire, desperate to keep their Championship alive, needed to inflict early damage. With negligible help from the pitch for a weakened Nottinghamshire attack, the makeshift opening partnership of Stephen Titchard and Mark Harvey were able to establish themselves.

The innings was set back to square one when the two departed in consecutive overs bowled by Greg Mike, who was probably causing the ball to swing a little, but it was rebuilt successfully around the resilience of John Crawley.

The England batsman, shouldering added responsibility in the absence of Mike Atherton, Neil Fairbrother and the injured Jason Gallian, was never particularly fluent. He treated the three left-arm spinners with watchful respect. But Jimmy Hindson was unlucky not to claim Crawley's wicket with one ball that foxed him in the flight and then turned.

But there were moments that emphasised Crawley's class, and if anyone could have provided a decent supporting role, then Lancashire might have achieved more than a slender advantage.

They would be further in front had not Mike and Bobby Chapman injected a sting in the Nottinghamshire tail first thing, when 35 runs were added to the overnight score before Lancashire secured the last two wickets. At close, Crawley remained unbeaten on 79 after almost four hours at the crease, with the match in the balance.

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