Titchard endures to Durham's dismay

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The Independent Online
reports from Chester-le-Street

Lancashire 264 and 395-8 Durham 181

Steve Titchard gritted his teeth and dropped anchor here yesterday to play one of the more painstaking and indeed painful innings of his life. But it was exactly what Lancashire needed on this pitch and it paved the way for more fluent half-centuries by Warren Hegg and Ian Austin, leaving Durham to contemplate another difficult day on which much of their bowling and out-field cricket reached new depths of mediocrity.

The good news for Durham was that Melvyn Betts came back well after his no-ball torments of the previous day. He had clearly put in much hard work on his run-up and delivery strides. He transgressed only once, moved the ball away from the bat at a healthy pace and only fielding lapses denied him some reward for a performance full of character.

Errors in the field were just one area of concern for Durham. The other was that their attacks bowled much too short, apparently choosing to ignore how Peter Martin and the increasingly impressive Glen Chapple had got their wickets by pitching the ball up and giving it time to do something.

And then there was the enigmatic Steve Lugsden. He will not be 20 until next month and has the rare gift of genuine, if extremely raw pace. But in striving for it in this his first Championship game for two seasons after back problems, he bowled 10 wides, plus a good deal of other stuff that did not demand a stroke. But when he got it right he was a rare handful, though he appeared to be a slow learner. For instance, having removed Mike Atherton leg-before with a delivery of full length, his first ball to the new batsman was a wide. Then when Titchard was hit on the helmet by one that failed to bounce as expected, he could not produce the yorker that was surely required next ball.

Titchard got stuck in and gave it the full grind. He was undeterred neither by another blow on the body nor by the fact that Lugsden's follow-through usually left him within glaring distance of the batsman. By the time he did succumb to a short ball from the same source, he had held things together for three hours and put the game out of Durham's reach.