Cricket: Feisty Wasim leads the rout

Somerset 161 & 273 v Lancashire 429 & 6-0 Lancs won by 10 wickets
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The Independent Online
PETER BOWLER ended this match with the remarkable analysis of no overs, no maidens, no wickets, for six runs, as Lancashire won by 10 wickets to reinforce their Grand Slam claims.

They have the Benson and Hedges Cup, they meet Yorkshire in the quarter- final of the NatWest Trophy on Tuesday, they are running strongly on Sundays, and if the champions Warwickshire were asked who they most feared, their answer would almost certainly be "the Lankys".

When Lancashire were trounced in both competitions last weekend at Cheltenham, their coach, David Lloyd, admitted: "This was a disaster. The test of any team is how you bounce back." This bounce could be hardly more emphatic. Somerset have five Championship victories, despite a crippling injury list, while Lancashire entered this fixture without four England players - Atherton, Crawley, Martin and Watkinson. But for spirited hitting by Somerset's tailenders, however, the contest would not have lasted to lunch.

"Man for man," Lloyd said, "we're a better team than Warwickshire. The Grand Slam is a tall order but in football terms we've reached Christmas six points behind with games in hand." Champions, though, have to be resilient: can Lancashire continue to win if they contribute a third of the team to England?

Wasim Akram, given the captaincy for the first time here, began with a Napoleonic success. Being Wasim there had to be an exchange of views with someone.Yesterday it was the umpire Alan Whitehead, who no- balled and cautioned him for bowling short at Keith Parsons and Jason Kerr.

Somerset resumed on 152 for four, needing another 116 to make Lancashire bat again on a dry and dusty surface. What's more their captain, Andy Hayhurst, had been forced to retire the previous evening after a blow in the box.

Would he bat again? We waited an hour to find out, while Parsons and Kerr added 35, Wasim strangely waiting before calling on his spinners. Three runs later Kerr was taken at slip, whereupon Hayhurst arrived to deserved applause.

Once Parsons was caught at leg-slip, the tail accepted the ship was sinking and fired off every gun. Harvey Trump was the most successful, taking 20 in one over off Gary Keedy and making, in all, 32 off 22 balls. Wasim himself delivered the coup de grace leaving Lancashire six to win.

Piran Holloway bowled a maiden to Steve Titchard, and as Bowler delivered the first ball of the second over, umpire Whitehead shouted no ball and Jason Gallian drove it to the long-on boundary; hence the pub-quiz statistic.