Lancashire do not need long to get themselves into a mess these days and the 26 overs possible in the second of the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy semi-finals yesterday was quite enough for their hopes of a season-saving trip to Lord's next month to recede considerably.
Heavy morning rain delayed the start until 3.15pm and after seeing his decision to bat first backfire heavily the Lancashire captain, John Crawley, might have wished the whole day had been washed out.
Instead, after stumbling through the opening part of an innings they were obliged to restart three times as a leaden sky periodically darkened. They resume today perilously placed at 84 for 6.
It could be worse. The loss of their knock-out specialist Neil Fairbrother for a duck in the 14th over left them 38 for 5, but the survival of Warren Hegg and Chris Schofield in a seventh-wicket stand so far worth 24 means they retain a small chance of building a defendable total if similar conditions prevail today.
They may also be grateful for the fluctuations in the quality of Leicestershire's bowling, which has so far donated 26 in extras.
However, they may still be left depending on Leicestershire to bat as badly as they did yesterday, when poor strokes outnumbered good deliveries by a wide margin. With the light never better than gloomy, Crawley was judged to have made a questionable choice in batting first, although his counterpart, Vince Wells, admitted he would not necessarily have picked the other option had the coin dropped in his favour.
When Scott Boswell and James Ormond began to pick off Lancashire's top order, Wells was relieved he had not needed to decide. Boswell, a Yorkshireman, had the time of his life, recording his best figures in one-day cricket and putting himself in pole position for the man of the match award.
A strapping 6ft 5in and 16 stones, Boswell's slingy, chest-on action is hardly classical and inclines him to drag the ball wide, but his record this season confirms an effectiveness that defies first impressions. He was leaping down the pitch in triumph as Michael Atherton and Andrew Flintoff each clipped balls into the hands of Darren Stevens at square leg, Fairbrother edged an inswinger to the wicketkeeper and Graham Lloyd offered a gentle return catch.
A pair of Ormond outswingers accounted for Glen Chapple and Crawley, who could at least claim to have got out to a good ball.Reuse content