Tea Report: Lancashire 143 & 224-4 (64 overs) v Durham 114
Tea on the second day (Lancashire won toss)
Thursday 08 May 2008
Compared with yesterday, this could almost be a different game: after 20 wickets on the opening day, today has yielded three, with Lancashire building handsomely on their slim first innings lead thanks, in substantial measure, to a fifth career century from their opening batsman, Paul Horton.
The 26-year-old Australian-born right-hander - brought up in Liverpool - was Lancashire's player of the year in 2007 and has begun this season with every intention, it seems, of making 2008 every bit as impressive.
In his four first-class innings this year he has not scored fewer than 59 runs and his aggregate stood at 351 as the players went off for tea here today, having added an unbeaten 107 to the 121 not out he made against Durham University Centre of Excellence.
It has been a highly accomplished effort, too, given the hazards in the pitch suggested by Wednesday's carnage. The bowling has not been quite up to the same standard today but there is still good bounce to be had by anyone hitting the right length and Horton certainly had one or two moments of discomfort, particularly against Mitch Claydon in the morning session.
He reached his hundred with his 16th four, having also smacked an audacious six over backward point off Steve Harmison on another day of not particularly impressive form for the out-of-favour England paceman.
It has not been all plain sailing for Lancashire, off-spinner Paul Wiseman finding some success with three wickets, aided by the efficency of Phil Mustard in the gloves. "The Colonel" - as he is widely known, for obvious reasons - claimed good catches to frustrate Mark Chilton and Mohammad Yousuf just as it seemed they were well set, and stumped Mal Loye.
Thanks to a team of highly skilled technicians armed with a ladder and some lengths of string, the noise from the dodgy sightscreen has been quietened. Any attempts to doze off were interrupted, however, when Andrew Flintoff stepped out for his second innings of the contest and successfully negotiated his first ball, prompting ironic cheers from the crowd, which Flintoff acknowledged by raising his bat.
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