Concern over Flintoff brings Irani into frame
Essex 215 and 41-2 Lancashire 375
Friday 16 May 2003
The England selectors who gathered here yesterday to bandy names ahead of tomorrow's first Test squad announcement had plenty on their minds with an injury cloud again hanging over Andrew Flintoff. Too much, perhaps, to notice the enthusiasm of the fielder given a surprise appearance as an Essex substitute during the afternoon session.
Then again, he needed little introduction. A couple of years ago, Graham Gooch would have been deliberating with them. But yesterday, the ex-selector, former captain and most prolific England Test batsman – now the Essex coach – showed he was not above 12th man duty after the pace bowler Scott Brant followed the opening batsman Will Jefferson into the treatment room.
Gooch was cheerily welcomed by the Lancashire public, some of whom might have witnessed his first appearance on this ground 30 seasons ago, when the ability that was to bring him 118 Test caps was already in evidence as he made a first- innings 94. This time they applauded not the thwack of leather on willow but the creaking of a time-worn body – he will be 50 in July – as he trotted around the infield for James Middlebrook and Paul Grayson, Essex's two spinners, at one point giving athletic chase to save two as Mark Chilton and Warren Hegg piled on the runs for Lancashire.
Fortunately for the overworked physiotherapist, Gooch was relieved after seven overs when Brant returned, after which Ronnie Irani, the Essex captain, gave himself a plausible shout for a Test recall by dismissing Hegg via a catch at point on the way to figures of 4 for 59 from 32 overs. With the all-rounder's slot potentially up for grabs as Flintoff undergoes a second scan on a shoulder injury today and Craig White recovers from a rib operation, his timing could not have been better.
The same could be said of Chilton and Iain Sutcliffe, the two centurions as Lancashire ground out a first-innings lead of 160 on a deteriorating pitch on which their spinners, Gary Keedy and Carl Hooper, will hope to prosper. Sutcliffe, their winter signing from Leicestershire, batted for almost five hours, including 11 fours in making his first century for his new county before he was leg before trying to sweep Middlebrook. Chilton reached his second consecutive hundred by hitting Grayson for six as Lancashire put themselves in a winning position.
It was further strengthened as Jefferson and Darren Robinson came and went, but Nasser Hussain has so far survived his second meeting with James Anderson and has a chance, belatedly, to make some runs today.
* Mark Ramprakash made a magnificent 152 and Ian Salisbury 101 not out as the champions Surrey moved into a commanding position after the second day of their First Division match with Leicestershire at The Oval. After bowling out the visitors for 200 on the opening day, Surrey declared at 560 for 8 and then left Leicestershire on 14 for 2.
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
Tottenham completed transfers: Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier join but time's up for Paulinho and Etienne Capoue
Arsenal completed transfers: Petr Cech in as Wojciech Szczesny, Lukas Podolski and Abou Diaby are shown the door
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be