Lancashire v Hampshire, Southport, 2nd day August 29, 2013

Kerrigan begins to put England horrors behind him

Paul Edwards at Southport

Lancashire 421 (Procter 66, Prince 63, Chapple 63, Kerrigan 62*, Reece 50) and 39-0 lead Hampshire210 (Vince 106, Hogg 5-39, Kerrigan 3-48) by 250 runs

Those who fall under the thrall of cricket should prepare themselves for rapture and torment. Anyone doubting the game's multi-faceted power might do worse than have a chat with Simon Kerrigan but they would probably be wise to wait a few months or so, until the dust of the last week has settled.

Seven days ago the slow left-armer's Test debut in the final Ashes Test was documented in all its horror. Plainly his return to first-class cricket against Hampshire at Southport this week was bound to be scrutinised very closely. The presence of the ECB's Lead Spin Bowling coach Peter Such, plus Jack Birkenshaw, one of the most highly-regarded spin bowling coaches of his generation, was evidence of that.

Let us take a Gradgrindian refuge in facts for a moment. On a day which Kerrigan will remember for the rest of his career, he made 62 not out, his highest first-class score, to help Lancashire amass an impressive 421 in their first innings; he then took 3-48 in Hampshire's innings, taking his fiftieth Division Two wicket when he dismissed James Vince for 106.

Lancashire then opted not to enforce the follow on and had established a lead of 250 by the close. A declaration sometime after lunch tomorrow seems in prospect. The league leaders occupy the 2s 6d seats in this game and are very warm favourites to win it.

So far, so adequate. But the full variety of Kerrigan's day has yet to be explored. For example in mid-afternoon the England spinner had bowled four overs for 27 runs, figures which barely reflected the mediocrity of his performance. Long hops and full tosses were served up and dealt with, mainly by Vince, whose high-quality innings is in danger of being obscured on this most eventful of days.

Kerrigan, though, is a tough little hombre. Anybody with half a cricket brain who has watched him regularly knows as much. Until last Thursday he responded to every challenge, whether with Lancashire or England, with phlegmatic dedication and quiet relish. All of which made his agony at the Oval seven days ago all the more surprising and painful. This was not the nuggety cricketer who, although still only 24, the county correspondents knew and admired.

A week, though, is a long time in the life of a young cricketer. Precisely seven days on from his Kennington collapse, Kerrigan responded to his poor display before tea by taking three for 21 in 10.5 overs after the second break.

Adam Wheater was splendidly caught by Paul Horton running back from mid-off, Chris Wood was bowled trying to make room to drive, and by the time Vince skied Kerrigan to Chapple at mid-on to end the Hampshire innings, the spinner was back to something within calling distance of his best. It was good to see and the home crowd responded to his very success with heartwarming enthusiasm.

But the Southport public had more than one opportunity to salute Kerrigan's fighting qualities on Thursday. In the morning session he had made a career-best 62 not out, and shared in the highest 10th wicket stand in games between Lancashire and Hampshire. Kerrigan's partner in the 114-run stand was his captain Glen Chapple, who made 63 not out and who has received almost all the game has on offer bar a Test cap, which remains a matter of deep resentment in the Rossendale and Ribble valleys.

So maybe there was no better man to accompany Kerrigan on his attempt at redemption, no cricketer more likely to remind the newest England cricketer that when the game kicks you in the teeth, you simply mop up the blood and get on with it.

Kerrigan has worked hard on his batting and fielding; he wants to be as good a cricketer as he can possibly be. In 2011 he made his previous highest score against Somerset and received a bat off Farveez Maharoof and a bottle of Jagermeister off Gareth Cross. (Lancashire won the title the same day, so the bat lasted longer than the booze.)

Thursday was a vital day in the career of this young cricketer, who still has all before him, including, his supporters will insist, a decent Test career.

Yet the second day of this game was also a triumph for Kyle Hogg, whose figures of 5 for 39 included the first four Hampshire wickets to fall. On a Trafalgar Road wicket which still contains few terrors, Hogg used the new ball in exemplary fashion, pitching it up and letting it swing and seam.

He removed the cream of Hampshire's batting in his first eight overs and returned to get rid of Matt Coles, caught behind first ball, to clinch his third five-wicket return of the season, Helped by Chapple, who had Sean Ervine well caught at slip by Ashwell Prince for 12, Hogg offered an unrelenting threat.

Hampshire will plainly do well to save this game. That, though, little concerned the paying public as they left this beautifully presented outground on the second day of this match. They had seen 374 runs scored and 12 wickets fall. They had seen one young English batsman make a superbly-crafted century and another recover from a mauling to impress with both bat and ball.

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  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 22:36 GMT

    Here in Ormskirk we have no doubt of Kerrigan's talents, been a legend for us, glad to see him back firing.

  • Android on August 30, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    I think the inconsistency in his bowling is still very much apparent, especially when the pitch is not offering much as in his first spell here. At test level this is exposed to a much greater degree. It would definitely help if he could develop his batting and it was hugely encouraging to see him get a career best knock. Perhaps the performance squad tour to Australia would better suit him at this stage of his career. He's still learning and as Graeme Swann has shown, spinners often are at their best in their late 20s and early 30s.

  • Samuel on August 30, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Fantastic report. Feared the worst following the game on the live blog when he was carted around for his first few overs. The wonders a wicket will do, eh?

  • George on August 30, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Good for Kerrigan for bouncing back. It was agonising to watch a front foot thumper like Watson take him apart, and disappointing he didn't get another chance with the ball at The Oval.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    No player should be dropped after a nervy debut for England, especially during an Ashes series, so I hope to see him again wearing the England shirt.

    Most commentators overlooked the fact that he looked very correct with the bat and not overawed. His 62 for Lancs shows he is worth taking to Oz. Good lower order batsmen are worth their weight in gold......ask the Aussies!!

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Some fantastic comments below. I am a firm believer that Kerrigan will succeed at test level, jmcilhinney, you are correct Swann will not go on for ever and, more than likely it will be sooner rather than later. Can really see no reason not to blood him on this ashes tour. In the past we took too many players with "scars," back down under for another trouncing. If we play marginally better in Aus than we played here (lets be honest 5 players under-performed) the series will be wrapped up before the Sydney test, give him a go there if the Ashes are in the bag already? Thoughts?

  • Chris on August 30, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    On a day of eminently watchable first class cricket, Kerrigan, Hogg and Chapple all notched up their 50th wicket for Lancashire this season. With the addition of Kyle Jarvis who took 5-31 in the second eleven in his first match for Lancashire, and assuming Chapple continues next year, Lancashire will have a competitive bowling attack to tackle the first division if they get promoted.

    I don't by any stretch of the imagination believe that Kerrigan's disappointing England debut will seriously hinder his progress towards further England caps and if Lancashire do lose him to the England team, Arron Lilley, a promising young spinner will step up to the plate, as he has done this year in one-day games.

    Anybody who watched yesterday's game cannot fail to have been entertained; any wicket that allows for almost 400 runs in a day and a hatful of wickets to fall should be applauded. Hats off to the Southport groundsmen for a wicket that's set up to provide positive, attacking cricket.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    As someone who's watched Kerrigan a fair bit for Lancs, and was there to witness his career best 9-for the year we won the Championship, it's been botn amusing and frustrating to see the amount of press Kerrigna has received. Like someone else has said, those of us who have seen him know he'll bounce back.

  • steven on August 30, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Most Lancashire fans will tell you if Kerrigan had been given the ball again especially after Watson was out against Oz, he would have bounced back there too. He does not yet have the consistency of a Swann or Panesar, and until this season, was not even a good 2020 domestic bowler. He learns though from every experience and will continue to improve as the years go on. There is no better young first class spin bowler in the country at the moment, they all seam to now be better at limited overs cricket or have become batsmen like Rashid and Brothwick. Like Swann did he will get better with age and become international class, whether that will be enough for England to ever select him again we will see. Gary Keedy like Chapple is a player who England managed to overlook for years when he was the best spin bowler full stop in this country. There is no guarantee they will not do the same with Kerrigan now.

  • Anver on August 30, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    Good all round display, after a failed debut against Aussies..... wish he will regain that much needed confident & play for Eng once more !!!! Best of Luck !!!

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