Lancashire11 for 1 trail Gloucestershire 252 (Harris 67, Dent 52, Higgins 51*, Hasan 6-47) by 241 runs
Old Trafford in April. Glimpsed between the behemothic stands and also in the distance, almost every tree displays the frail effrontery of an English spring. In the foreground, though, yet another new building is under construction, one that will replace the demolished Red Rose suite and obscure the pleasant aspect. Three huge mechanical diggers are clearing the ground; their slow, angular and yet very effective motions remind one rather of the old Kent seamer, Norman Graham.
Harris’s approach was especially refreshing. There were two fine boundaries in a Danny Lamb over and when Dane Vilas brought Matt Parkinson into the attack six overs before lunch, Harris deposited the final ball of his sixth over into the crowd at long-off. And it was a proper crowd, too. A couple of the stands at Emirates Old Trafford are shut to allow building work to take place but the pavilion and other stands were thickly populated. Some spectators will have turned up because it was the first day of the first-class season here; others will also have wanted to attend this evening’s AGM. But most of them, including the congenitally discontented, were surely cheered by an afternoon session in which six wickets fell for 69 runs, all of them to Lancashire’s pace attack but none of them to Anderson.
Anderson, meanwhile, after conceding 21 runs, including a wide and four overthrows, off his first seven overs, found his range and leaked only nine more in as many overs to finish with never from 30 from 16 overs. That might not satisfy a man whose perfectionism explains his success; yet he will probably not mind leaving this evening’s major plaudits to Hasan, who completed his first five-wicket return for Lancashire – indeed, he took 6 for 47 – when he dismissed three batsmen in the space of 17 balls late on a long-shadowed evening.
Before that, however, Gloucestershire’s total had been hoisted well beyond 200 by a 65-run stand between Ryan Higgins, who invariably does something useful for the county in every game, and Zafar Gohar, who batted sensibly for his 27 runs until he tried to smack Parkinson over the Hilton Garden Hotel and was stumped for 27. This gave Salt his fourth victim of the day and completed another decent day’s work for a keeper who had not taken the gloves in a four-day game until last week’s match at Canterbury.
Higgins was left unbeaten on 51 when last man Ajeet Singh Dale chipped Hasan to Josh Bohannon but what had been a satisfactory day for Lancashire was spoiled in the final over when Balderson was run out by Gohar’s direct hit from square leg. Luke Wells, who had rightly sent his partner back, held his arms out horizontally as though bemoaning the foolishness of youth, even in a glorious springtime.