Their most prized asset may be facing more surgery but there is a spring in Lancashire's step after the outstanding James Anderson ensured Peter Moores made a winning start as coach.
Anderson followed up his six first-innings wickets by taking 5-53 to complete career-best match figures of 11-109 – the second ten-wicket haul of his career – to set up an eight-wicket win over Sussex. Lancashire's target on a pitch which did not deteriorate as much as expected was 158 and although Corey Collymore picked up both openers for the second time in the match, that was as good as it got for Sussex as Ashwell Prince and Francois du Plessis both made unbeaten half-centuries in a stand of 132 to seal victory.
Moores was phlegmatic about Andrew Flintoff's latest injury misfortune but believes he will be fit for the showpiece events of the summer. Moores said: "It sounds like it won't affect him in some of the big cricket that is coming up which is great for Fred. Physically, he is in great shape and has trained as hard as anyone. The key series of the summer are the Twenty20 World Cup and the Ashes and hopefully he will be fit for both."
Flintoff's problems makes it imperative that Anderson retains his form. His first ball of the day was too good for Luke Wright, who nibbled at an away-swinger and failed to add to his overnight 35. It was the start of a disastrous 48 minutes for Sussex who lost their last five wickets for 19 runs.
Anderson's swing proved too much for Tom Smith and Robin Martin-Jenkins while Gary Keedy lost little by comparison. The spinner picked up the last two wickets in four balls to finish with 5-45. The new ball swung for Collymore too and both Tom Smith and Paul Horton fell to catches in the off side. But Prince feasted on any width, hitting 11 boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 91, with Du Plessis making 58 off 92 deliveries.
Moores also acknowledged an unexpected bonus for Lancashire as Flintoff prepares for surgery. "He will need a couple of warm-up games for us so every crowd has a silver lining," he laughed.