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New boy Kerrigan spins Lancs to victory

April 18, 2010

Simon Kerrigan's impressive performance was the highlight of Lancashire's win -

As documented in last week’s preview to Lancashire’s season, the loss of Gary Keedy could have a major effect on the start of the county’s bid for a first league title in 76 years. It may still, but replacement spinner Simon Kerrigan has already cemented his place in the side for next week’s trip to Essex with a commanding second-innings spell in today’s win against Warwickshire.

Kerrigan began with a few tight overs on day two of the Old Trafford clash after his side had been bowled out for 253 – a decent achievement after losing the toss and being 14-4 half an hour after play began. The top order collapse was worrying as Chris Woakes was repeatedy rewarded for finding good line and length, but Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft notched a solid century partnership for the fifth wicket and the home side’s eventual total was a decent one.

The first two days in particular were a joyful celebration of cricket. A county championship match played in front of several more than the customary one man and a dog, the match progressed pleasingly as hundreds gently browned in the April sun. Armed with a few newspapers and as many pints, this game is what the English summer was designed for. It’s enough to bring one out in a patriotic rash – or at least a mild sunburn.

Kerrigan, who has done his time in the seconds, came to bowl when the visitors were four down, having suffered a similar top order collapse to the hosts instigated by Glen Chapple and James Anderson. Shortly after lunch, ‘Keggsy’, as he is imaginatively called by teammates, claimed his first wicket for the first team, having England’s Ian Bell caught by Mark Chilton close in on the leg side off a ball that looked set for a boundary. It was both a fortunate and superb start to Kerrigan’s career as Warwickshire ended their first innings one run ahead.

The momentum swung as much as the ball early on the first three days, and Lancashire recovered from another poor start (Tom Smith at the top of the order did not work last year, but has been tried again) to make 318. Debutant opener Stephen Moore contributed 43 to complement a heroic 77-run tenth wicket partnership between Chapple (registering his second half-century of the match) and Sajid Mahmood, who made his highest four-day score since 2005 with a heady mix of conservative blocking and liberal smashing.

318 was always a tough ask with the quality of Lancashire’s attack, and so it proved. Three down by stumps yesterday (one apiece for Smith – who is far more suited to delivering the ball than receiving it – Chapple and Mahmood), all lingering hope soon faded faster than Samit Patel’s international career. Warwickshire lost five wickets for 12 runs before lunch with numbers seven to ten failing to score. Kerrigan was responsible for four of those, having earlier got rid of Jim Troughton for 39.

With the visitors nine down at lunch, the end was nigh, and Sajid Mahmood’s fourth wicket of the match secured the 121-run victory shortly after the break. It was Kerrigan, though, the centre of attention as he walked off with a hugely impressive debut to his name. Warwickshire counterpart Imran Tahir, the final man to fall (leaving opener Ian Westwood on 82 not out), had failed to cause anywhere near as much damage with much more top-class spinning experience.
Kerrigan may only have 35 overs to his name – but with seven wickets already, the future seems bright.

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