Chapple's 900th just one highlight
Gloucestershire 143 for 4 (Gidman 54*) trail Lancashire310 (Katich 96, Croft 60, Miles 6-88) by 167 runs
The exploits of two seam bowlers dominated the second day of this match at Liverpool. The most venerable of them was Lancashire's 39-year-old skipper Glen Chapple, who not only took his 900th first-class wicket when he dismissed Michael Klinger, but also scored his 8,000th first-class run during his innings of 14. Only Johnny Briggs and Jack Simmons have scored more runs and taken more wickets for the Red Rose.
So no doubt the plaudits will flow for Chapple just as they have done during much of his 21-year career, and no one will object in the slightest. Even far advanced into the autumn of his career and often nursing a range of niggles that would do credit to a double episode of Casualty Lancashire's skipper remains one of the very best seam bowlers in the country and his efforts today did much to ensure that his team remain very slightly on top in this match.
By the close Gloucestershire were still 167 runs in arrears on first innings and their hopes rest to some degree on the redoubtable shoulders of Alex Gidman whose unbeaten 54 was a fine effort in adversity.
And it would also be something of a shame if Chapple's admittedly wonderful feats overshadow the achievement of Gloucestershire's opening bowler Craig Miles, who was born a couple of years after Chapple made Warwickshire's Andy Moles his maiden first-class victim.
In the single-hour morning session permitted by the overnight rain, Miles claimed the wickets of Simon Katich for 96, Wayne White for a first-ball duck and Steven Croft for 60. The most impressive delivery was the yorker which plucked out White's off and middle stumps, and the 18-year-old seamer added the scalps of Chapple and Kyle Hogg in the afternoon to finish with 6 for 88, a career-best analysis following his 6 for 99 against Worcestershire and 4 for 83 against Hampshire in his most recent matches.
Miles is a work in progress but he bowls straight and quickly albeit that he can go for a few runs in the process; he swings the ball and moves it off the seam; at 6ft 4ins he can extract plenty of lift even from a fairly benign surface. He is one to watch just as Chapple has been one to watch for the last two decades. The Lancashire skipper is playing his 287th first-class game; this contest is Miles' fifth such match. The conjunction of these two players at such different stages of their careers made the second day of his match memorable in itself.
But Miles' exploits were not sufficient to leave his side in a position of absolute parity as the Aigburth shadows lengthened. After enjoying a good morning Gloucestershire's problems had begun when Hogg and Simon Kerrigan put on 66 for the last wicket, a stand which secured a third bonus point and made the Gloucestershire openers wait over an hour for their opportunity to bat on a wicket which has not yet begun to misbehave.
Perhaps this frustrating period of heel-kicking contributed to the dismissal of Klinger in the third over, although Chapple's movement off the seam was a more significant influence. Andrea Agathangelou took the catch at second slip with little fuss and the public address confirmed the landmark. The Liverpool crowd broke into spontaneous applause, although the man himself has little time for records. Even the fact that Chapple has now taken 901 wickets and that the other 21 players in his game have bagged a total of 769 would probably only elicit a wry smile.
"At the end of the day I look back and think that taking 900 wickets is a good achievement," said Chapple. "It comes through being able to play for a long time but the next wickets that I get are the most important. When you sit back and you're finished all your achievements will be something to be proud of."
Chapple made it 901 wickets when Chris Dent shouldered arms and was lbw. Two catches for Gareth Cross removed Dan Housego and Hamish Marshall to leave the visitors on 66 for 4 and in some peril of not avoiding the follow-on.
But Gidman combined with Benny Howell in an unbroken stand of 77 for the fifth wicket, a partnership which raised West Country hopes that their position can be further strengthened on the third day. And if Gloucestershire can continue to develop cricketers of the quality of the Swindon-born Miles, their long-term future may also be a little rosier than some pundits allow.
"The lads were saying that he looked a good prospect" said Chapple. "He ran in well, he hits the seam and he swings it both ways. Obviously it's an exciting time for him. Anyone who's playing first team cricket at 18 is doing well, so good luck to him. It's up to him how he wants to play his cricket but I'd always say get the basics right and all the good stuff will come out. Don't search for too much too soon."