County Championship round-up: Top spin bowlers face-off at Old Trafford
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Bowler of the Day
Much to England's frustration, effective spin bowlers are in short supply in the Championship. Apart from Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan, the most successful practitioner of the art is a New Zealander, Warwickshire's Jeetan Patel, who took 52 wickets last season and is already underlining his value this year. The pair have been up against each other at Old Trafford, where Patel's 4 for 44, including the key wickets of Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince, helped bowl out Lancashire for 196 to set up a run chase for Warwickshire. It ended Peter Moores' reign as Lancashire coach on a flat note, saved from defeat by bad light with the 2012 champions just 25 short of victory with 27 balls left.
Batsman of the Day
Leicestershire opener Greg Smith, a former England Under-19 batsman who was his county's leading Twenty20 runscorer last season, hit a first-class century on English soil for the first time in three seasons against Kent at Canterbury – he's had two in Sri Lanka in the interim. Meanwhile, Sam Robson's brother, Angus, made his maiden half-century in only his fourth first-class match, but captain Josh Cobb's declaration ultimately left too little time for his bowlers to claim the 10 Kent wickets they needed for victory, and Leicestershire remain without a Championship win since September 2012.
As Alastair Cook took advantage of a mixed bag of bowling by Surrey to record his second century of the new season, the discarded England opener Nick Compton registered his first of 2014. It came in circumstances suited to his strengths, as Somerset battled for a draw against Durham at Chester-le-Street – and after he had been off the field with a neck spasm. Dropped by England before last summer's Ashes, the 30-year-old now has 11 hundreds in the last two years.
In a much tamer end to Essex's match at The Oval, Cook reached 127 before he was bowled by Surrey's Rory Burns, an opening batsman whose bowling is seen so infrequently that the England captain is only his second first-class victim.
Joe Root, out of action since suffering a broken thumb while making a one-day international century for England in Antigua seven weeks ago, was out for eight as he made his competitive comeback for Yorkshire Seconds against Lancashire in a three-day friendly, caught behind off the Zimbabwe pace bowler Kyle Jarvis.
Paul Farbrace was today confirmed as England assistant coach.
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