Cricket: Lamb still hopeful

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The Independent Online
Northamptonshire 467

Leicestershire 307 and 136-3

ALLAN LAMB demanded six wickets from his bowlers before lunch and six he got, Leicestershire plunging from a relatively healthy 173 for 2 to 267 for 8 and following on. With three second- innings wickets gone, they are still 24 behind.

Middlesex may be virtually out of sight, but Lamb is nothing if not tenacious and he will be expecting a typhoon to hit Lord's a week on Thursday. Mathematically, Northamptonshire have to win their last three matches, including this one, while Middlesex must fail to collect 13 points from Lancashire at Lord's and Worcestershire at New Road. Wasim Akram and Graeme Hick might be receiving good wishes cards this week, postmarked Northampton, signed 'Your dear old mate, Lamby'.

Leicestershire intended to blow their neighbours' pretensions away. Tim Boon, stepping back, crashed Paul Taylor between point and gully three times in the first over and then went to the first Championship century by a visiting batsman on this ground in 1993 by repeating the shot, off Curtly Ambrose.

Lamb's change bowlers did the damage. Mark Bowen dismissed Boon in his first over, while Kevin Curran made a deep inroad into the middle order, allowing Lamb the luxury of using his leg-spinner, Andy Roberts, to remove the tail.

Batting again, Boon and Peter Hepworth started steadfastly, Roberts' turn on a wearing surface eventually beating Boon. He then bowled the experienced James Whitaker with a top-spinner.

Lamb will not want to wait too long for this victory; his wicket- keeper, David Ripley, was absent with flu - Alan Fordham deputised - and Mal Loye and Rob Bailey were sniffling.