Cricket: Lamb leads Yorkshire to slaughter

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The Independent Online
Northants 325-7; Yorks 192

Northants win by 133 runs

ALLAN LAMB'S ferocious 69 off 58 balls was an assault that shattered Yorkshire's bowling, undermined their shaky morale and brought about one of the most crushing defeats in their one-day history.

Lamb's fury was guaranteed after being dropped by England, but less predictable was an all-round display by Northamptonshire that suggested their rise to Championship prominence is no fluke.

The day went badly for Yorkshire from the moment Martyn Moxon won the toss and offered one of the strongest batting orders in the country first use of a placid pitch, a fast outfield and good light. With rain about, whoever batted second risked poor light and a wet outfield.

In practice, it made no difference. Alan Fordham and Nigel Felton put on 129 for the first wicket in 31 overs as Yorkshire's bowlers offered at least one, and sometimes two, bad balls an over and the fielders spurned five chances, three of them off Mark Robinson.

From such a platform Northamptonshire were able to bat with abandon. Lamb pulled Paul Jarvis for six while Tony Penberthy, making his NatWest debut, twice lofted Darren Gough on to the roof of the marquee.

The total of 325 for 7 was Northamptonshire's best in the 60-over competition, leaving Yorkshire to make a record score for a side batting second. That was rendered academic within half an hour.

Curtly Ambrose and Paul Taylor bowled to a length and at the off stump. Yorkshire's openers went to good deliveries in trying to establish a scoring rate of almost six an over.

Sachin Tendulkar was promising to produce his first big score for Yorkshire in a situation that demanded it and looked decidedly unhappy when caught behind. David Byas drove so well that a close contest still seemed possible, but Nick Cook tempted him to sweep and he was out just before tea.

After 25 overs, at which point Northamptonshire had scored 94 without loss, Yorkshire were 88 for 4 and so confident was Lamb that he called on Rob Bailey to bowl in a damp, grey twilight lit up by some flickering strokes of defiance from Richard Blakey and Craig White. .

Ambrose, who cleaned up when the contest was effectively over, was a surprisingly named man of the match.