Thorp shines as wickets tumble
Lancashire 84 & 4-0 Durham 186
Tuesday 28 June 2011
Lancashire collapsed in a heap and Durham, with the notable exception of Dale Benkenstein, followed suit on a day on which a worried Aigburth groundsman will have been reassured to be told that the dominance of ball over bat was officially disproportionate to the conditions.
When as many wickets tumble as did yesterday, suspicion tends to fall first on the batting surface, but Peter Walker, on pitch patrol duty for the England and Wales Cricket Board, made a point of announcing at lunchtime that he was perfectly happy with what he had seen and reiterated that view at tea.
"It is a very good pitch, as good as I've seen. There is not a mark on it," Walker said, which will come as a relief to Terry Glover, the Liverpool Cricket Club groundsman. Walker's other telling comment was that it was "hard to believe these are the top two sides in the Championship", which would be less pleasing to the ears of the batsmen representing the current leaders and their closest pursuers.
But that is not to say that poor batting fully explained why 18 wickets fell in the first two sessions as second-placed Lancashire were bowled out for their lowest total in 14 years and Durham tumbled to 102-8 in reply. To give credit where it is due, the bowlers on both sides did their job rather well.
Callum Thorp was particularly impressive, finding an off-stump line and length that drew batsmen repeatedly into playing at a ball that was swinging and getting help – albeit not excessively – from a pitch with a good covering of grass. The 36-year-old medium pacer finished with 6 for 20. Three of his victims were taken by wicketkeeper Phil Mustard, another two caught in the slips.
Stephen Harmison could not muster the same control but Graham Onions was largely on the money and for Lancashire there were impressive bursts from Kyle Hogg and Saj Mahmood. Pakistan's Junaid Khan, a 21-year-old left-arm quick who has joined Lancashire on Wasim Akram's recommendation, looked sharp, too, taking a debut wicket.
But Durham's great strength is that any one of seven or eight in their line-up has the capacity to make a score. This time it was Benkenstein who applied himself, finishing unbeaten on 83 as Durham clawed their way to what may already be a match-winning position.
QPR vs Arsenal match report: Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez on the scoresheet for the Gunners
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Newcastle vs Manchester United match report: Ashley Young scores late winner as Angel Di Maria fails to shine yet again
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The majority of sex workers enjoy their job - why should we find that surprising?
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin