Lynch thwarts leaders' plan

Cricket michael austin reports from Northampton Northants 321 and 120-5 Gloucestershire 293
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The Independent Online
At 37, Monte Lynch might be a back number to some, but Northamptonshire would testify to his enduring talent. Lynch upset their schemes with his fifth hundred this summer and 39th overall as Gloucestershire closed the first innings gap on the Championship leaders to 28 runs. They are 148 ahead with only five wickets intact, having batted poorly.

The plan was simple, too simple. Make Gloucestershire follow on, bowl them out again and have a day off on Monday on the eve of their NatWest Trophy semi-final at Headingley.

Allan Lamb thought Northamptonshire would have to bowl badly to miss this scenario. As it happened, Lynch, with 104 from 115 balls with 17 fours and a six, batted extremely well with Andrew Symonds, the Anglo- Australian, sharing a seventh-wicket partnership of 99 in 21 overs.

It carried Gloucestershire beyond base camp one but whether the result will be altered is debatable. The destiny of this match is in the spinning fingers of Anil Kumble, whose 6 for 76 elevated his Championship total to 81.

In the past seven innings, Kumble has captured 39 wickets. His latest bag included Lynch, leg-before hitting across the line, as well as Tim Hancock and Javagal Srinath, both caught in the deep as they sought to break the spell which he had cast on all and sundry.

Symonds made 56 from 67 balls, emphasising his impeccable credentials as a candidate for the Cricket Writers Club's "Young Cricketer of the Year" award. He struck 10 fours with the freedom that suggests Test appearances will not be too long deferred.

Northamptonshire, with 43 from Alan Fordham, elevated their lead into three figures despite Kamran Sheeraz having him caught off the splice through extra bounce. Rob Bailey was taken at the wicket, along with Russell Warren and Lamb was caught and bowled driving loosely at a half volley.