Even the best racehorses need a little friction. After spending the second half of winter on the sidelines, omitted from England’s West Indies tour, James Anderson flew to Old Trafford to Lancashiresecond game of the season.
He was as nimble as ever, a 39-year-old man with no signs of middle age. But for some reason – the unusual Manchester sun, the brisk breeze rustling the ground, forcing spectators to remove their gloves – it became ticketless. His first seven overs went for 21 runs; its next nine for only nine. Maybe he threw a little short, a little wide at times, maybe the toast just landed butter side down.
Gloucestershire had spent the morning spreading the Lancashire international attack of Anderson, Hasan Ali, Saqib Mahmood and Matt Parkinson onto the pitch, the only batting side in the entire Championship not to lose a wicket in the morning session. They then managed to lose six between lunch and tea as Mahmood was rewarded for his accuracy, and Hasan Ali, whose celebrations deserve to be immortalized on stage, played superbly, finishing the day with six wickets.
Another Pakistani international rushed, this time Shaheen Shah Afridi on his middlesex debut against Glamorgan, a day when 16 wickets fell at Sophia Gardens. He finished with three for 35, bowling a bewildered Marnus Labuschagne with a humdinger. Daniel Bell-Drummond made 149 as Kent gradually towards 300 against HampshireZak Crawley out for seven years after dancing unannounced to Mohammad Abbas.
Essex slumped 98 for two to 168 all on a good batting run in Edgbaston, a day made worse when Dan Lawrence limped near the end clutching his hamstring. Tom Westley had been Essex’s last man at 80. Warwickshire were 76 for two at the end, with Alex Davies for an archetypal bish, bang, swish on his Warwickshire debut; Dom Sibley survived to the stumps.
At the County Ground there were more points for Dawid Malan and Harry Brook, who combined 131, but Sri Lanka Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne was dismissed on the cheap. Gareth Berg proved a tricky prospect, finishing with five for 58. yorkshire‘s Jordan Thompson then took two quick Northamptonshire the wickets before the stumps.
At the Riverside, Liam Patterson-White took five wickets as Durham struggled at 230. Haseeb Hameed was not out on the 23rd for Nottinghamshire at the close. Sam Conners took four wickets for derbyshire in the East Midlands derby against Leicestershire, who were fired for 213.
The golden touch of Brett D’Oliveira since its creation Worcestershire captain continued his second century in two games. Dropped on the 19th, he did sussex pay, flourish as the day progresses. Sussex’s main wicket-taker – whose injured list includes winter signings Steven Finn and Ollie Robinson, who are out with a dental infection – was captain and fly-half Tom Haines.