County Championship round-up: Graeme Napier sledgehammers Northampton
Wednesday 17 April 2013
Batsman of the day
Graeme Napier, the 33-year-old Essex all-rounder, has missed the bus signposted international honours. If only he were a few years younger then he would be timing his dash to the Champions Trophy stop to perfection. Today he sledgehammered the Northampton attack to all parts of the County Ground and beyond on his way to an unbeaten 73 out of Essex's first-innings' total of 183. The man who once struck 152 in a Twenty20 game came to the crease with side struggling on 87 for 6. He then struck five maximums and eight boundaries – and then weighed in with three Northants wickets.
Bowler of the day
Mike Reed, Glamorgan's 24-year-old paceman, was the only bowler to pick up a five-fer on a day when wickets were shared around. Reed is playing in just his seventh first-class match and, after impressing in spells while taking three wickets against Northants last week, he came to the fore today. On a day when university bowlers were taken apart by their seniors, Reed – spotted by Glamorgan while playing for Cardiff University – can be proud that his performance vindicates a system that often makes David v Goliath look evenly matched.
With Steven Finn in such fine fettle at Lord's, the pressure was on England's forgotten fast bowler Graeme Onions, who was in action for Durham against county champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston. The 30-year-old did manage the wicket of opener Varun Chopra in the 11th over but spent the rest of the day wicketless as he was upstaged by his younger team-mates Chris Rushworth and Ben Stokes. Today was a perfect opportunity for Onions to stake a claim but, even more damning than his single wicket was his return of just a single maiden in 20 overs of bowling.
Samit Patel may harbour Ashes hopes and he smashed 256 runs off 224 balls for Notts, but he loses out to Napier for batsman of the day as it was against university opposition.
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