Northants suffer 1st LV= CC Defeat


Lancashire pulled off a remarkable victory inside two days, beating LV= County Championship Division Two promotion rivals Northamptonshire by eight wickets at Emirates Old Trafford.

Having been bowled out for 62 on the opening day after being inserted, league leaders Northants were dismissed for 169 in their second innings leaving second-placed Lancashire needing just 73 for victory.

After the early loss of Luke Procter, they knocked the runs off in 21 overs thanks largely to 38 from Ashwell Prince and Luis Reece's 22 not out.

Andrew Hall and David Murphy both made half-centuries and shared 89 for the ninth wicket to at least give Northants hope of staying unbeaten.

However, once Procter - who took 4-39 - broke the stand with the wicket of Hall for 55, it began an eight-ball spell which saw the visitors lose their last three wickets without scoring a run.

After an unbeaten 35 from Tom Smith had helped Lancashire improve their overnight 121 for eight to 159 - a first-innings lead of 97 - Northants were soon in trouble when Kyle Coetzer, David Sales and James Middlebrook perished prior to lunch.

Robert Keogh did not last long after the interval as he played a Smith delivery onto his stumps and, seven overs later, Alex Wakely cut Procter to Prince at point.

Procter struck again when Steven Crook chipped to Reece at midwicket and Northants were left reeling on 80 for seven when David Willey tamely lobbed a Smith delivery straight to Glen Chapple at mid-on.

Hall and Murphy made light of their side’s struggles with a partnership that ended any hopes Lancashire had of securing a stunning innings victory.

Yet Procter finally made the breakthrough for Lancashire when former South Africa Test all-rounder Hall edged to Smith at first slip.

Five balls later Graeme White played on to register his second duck of the game and hand Procter his fourth wicket before left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan trapped Murphy lbw for 50, leaving a modest victory target.

Earlier, Muhammad Azhar Ullah completed figures of 4-42 by claiming the final two wickets of Lancashire's first innings.

He bowled Stephen Parry in the fourth over of the morning and, after Smith and Kerrigan had put on 30 for the final wicket, sent the latter's stumps flying.

On a fine day for Lancashire, the Old Trafford surface was given the all-clear by ECB pitch liaison officer Jack Birkenshaw.

Northants suffer 1st LV= CC Defeat