Lancashire v Nottinghamshire, Aigburth, 2nd day July 14, 2014

Kerrigan disappoints but Lancashire stay even

Paul Edwards at Aigburth

Lancashire 225 and 55 for 2 lead Nottinghamshire 261 (Mullaney 82, Chapple 4-73) by 19 runs

Simon Kerrigan failed to promote his cause as an England spin bowler at Lord's following his call up to the squad for the second Test. Kerrigan's wicketless 10 overs under cloudy Aigburth skies, watched by spectators forced to don fleeces to protect against a shift in the weather, failed to lift his morale with a wicket or two before he headed off to London to join up with the England squad.

Many in the Aigburth crowd had braved the blustery winds off the Mersey in the hope of seeing Kerrigan send down a few overs following his call-up. They were to be both rewarded for their patience and then disappointed as the slow left-armer was introduced into the attack in the 69th over, only to concede 27 runs in an unimpressive seven-over spell. At least England cannot complain of overwork.

Soon after play ended, the former England captain Michael Vaughan described Kerrigan's return to the England squad after a traumatic debut at The Oval last season as premature and expressed fears that if he played at Lord's it could do serious harm to his career.

Indeed, it is something of an irony that the least threatening Lancashire bowler on Monday was the one who left Liverpool to take up international duties at the close. Kerrigan's season, with 28 first-class wickets at 35.57, has been solid but unspectacular, although such are England's thin resources that makes him the leading spin bowler in Division One. Stephen Parry, who played for England in World Twenty20 in Bangladesh earlier this year, will replace him for the remainder of the match.

The batsman to profit from the spinner's inaccuracy was Riki Wessels, who had made 46 when he edged Steven Croft's offspin to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who grabbed the chance at the second attempt. That left Nottinghamshire on 235 for 6 but the taking of the second new ball sparked a rapid collapse.

Chris Read, Siddle and Luke Fletcher all perished when attempting to take the attack to Glen Chapple and the innings ended when Andre Adams' mighty hoick off Kyle Hogg was very well caught by Andrea Agathangelou running round from deep midwicket.

When bad light ended play 17 overs early, the game was evenly balanced after Lancashire had battled back in the afternoon and evening sessions to take the last seven Nottinghamshire wickets for 103 runs and restrict the visitors' lead to a modest and manageable 36.

This was surely far fewer than Notts coach Mick Newell would have settled for when his team were 133 for 2 20 minutes before lunch; yet from the moment Tom Smith pinned the former Old Trafford allrounder Steven Mullaney lbw for 82, the ball nipping back off the pitch, batting appeared an occupation littered with hazard as first Smith and later Glen Chapple made regular inroads in helpful conditions.

In the first over of play on Monday morning, Chapple, the Lancashire skipper, produced a fine delivery to remove Michael Lumb, who could do little but nick it to Buttler behind the stumps. But that was the last success the home side were to enjoy for over 90 minutes as Mullaney and James Taylor added 64 runs in relative comfort, although Mullaney had a fourth life when second slip Agathangelou dropped a low chance on 62.

For his part, Taylor seemed content to make quiet progress towards a substantial score but he became Smith's second victim immediately after lunch when an attempted pull merely bottom-edged the ball on to the leg stump. Less than half an hour later the Lancashire seamer had taken his season's bag of Championship wickets to 45 when Samit Patel edged him to Agathangelou at second slip.

But an advantage of 36 was still valuable enough and before it had been wiped out, both Lancashire openers had been caught behind by Read off Peter Siddle, who probably views a big haul of wickets as a suitable leaving present for his colleagues before he returns to Australia. But the big-hearted Australian seamer will have worked harder for his triumphs: poor Andrea Agathangelou departed for a second-ball duck, his selection ahead of Alex Davies looking odder by the innings; six overs later Paul Horton fenced fatally at a delivery which possibly bounced a little more than he was expecting.

Fortunately for the nerves of home loyalists, Usman Khawaja and Ashwell Prince took their side to the close without further loss, by which time a lead of 19 had been ground out.

All of which leaves supporters of both sides, and of none, looking forward to a fascinating remainder of the game as Nottinghamshire strive for the win which would bolster their challenge for the County Championship and Lancashire search for a victory which would ease relegation fears. Should the home side prevail, it is fair to suppose that Chapple and Smith will play major roles, so pivotal have been their efforts this season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on July 15, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    Yorkshire Pudding: I take your point that Monty has gone off the rails with 2 different counties in the last year, and he does need to pull himself together. But he is still the best spinner in England (now that Swann is gone) and a world class player on helpful wickets. So I can't understand why everyone is turning their back on him rather than trying to help him - at a time when we're reduced to playing Moen Ali as our main spinner. The reason Australia have been so good since Lehmann took over was not down to any great tactical genius - it was simply that he identified the best 11 players in Australia, and gradually got them into his team, irrespective of perceived difficulties in their personality or fragilities in their confidence. He dropped Cowan, a very good team man, and resurrected the careers of the far less amenable Warner and Johnson; the current England regime would have done the exact opposite.

  • Chris on July 15, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    None of the names mentioned are any better than Kerrigan on the face of it, but he certainly hasn't been bowling like a Test spinner and can't work out why he's been recalled now- assuming they intend to play him which isn't certain. Although he can field well he hasn't batted too well of late, so it also poses a question of team balance. A top spinner doesn't need to bat, but a modest one is a risk.

  • Jason on July 15, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    @cloudmess, the problem is that Monty isn't even performing at county level, he needs to get himself sorted out and build bridges with Middlesex, then start bowling well.

    I expect that we have seen the last of monty at international level, and we might even see him fall out of FC cricket if hes not careful.

  • Martin on July 15, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Agree with the consensus that it's too soon to bring back Kerrigan. If England decide to replace Ali with a specialist spinner, surely what they are looking for is control and economy, to give the seamers a rest. Kerrigan, as has been pointed out, is far from guaranteed to provide either. Mind you, if Cook keeps removing his spinner from the attack every time he takes a wicket, it's hard for anyone to settle into a controlled, economical spell.

  • COLIN on July 15, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    Cloudmess: Very droll, but pretty apt. This is a strange selection, smacking of desperation. It's not as if you are putting him in against players who struggle to cope with spin bowling!

  • Owen on July 15, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    I can't remember which of the pundits pointed it out, but they pointed out how unrepeatable his action was. Once the pressure is on, and the limbs tighten up, the ball feels heavy and the pitch looks long, most spinners can rely on their action to get them through it. Kerrigan doesn't have that, so you get what happened at the Oval.

    If Kerrigan plays, you can bet the Indians will pile on the pressure, so unless he gets a couple of wickets in the first few overs then it's likely he will be going the distance.

  • ian on July 14, 2014, 23:14 GMT

    I'm with Michael Vaughan on this one. I am genuinely concerned for Simon Kerrigan. Let's look at the facts: his recent outing for Lancs have been anything but special. His best inns on figures this year was v Warwicks at Old Trafford back in April (9-1-38-4; rpo 4.22) when Warwicks were pressing for an unlikely win in a few overs. He's played at Lord's this year (17.3-2-87-1; rpo 4.97). so MV is correct, he hasn't pulled up any trees this year, in fact he's scarcely weeded the garden. Then there is what he does: SLAs are vulnerable to the yips, far moreso than any other type of bowler for some strange reason. Sometimes these can be on the day (as they were for SK at the Oval last year) and sometimes they can finish a career - as they did for the affable Keith Medlycott. SK has time on his side; he's just 25, very young for a spinner. Grant him that time. Now SK is no prodigy, so why is he there? Moores. Lancs. Got it. This is a bad call and may set SK back a long way. Send for Batty!

  • David on July 14, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    I have an ominous feeling that Kerrigan may be the new Ian Salisbury - reasonably effective out of the spotlight, but all full tosses and long hops when the pressure is on. It's a pity we had no decent spinners after Swann's retirement. But wait... who was that England spinner who destroyed India in their own backyard less than 2 years ago? But there again, Monty has since gone AWOL, and I think it is best he is left in the wilderness - no point, say, in us having a coach who's able to go up to talented but vulnerable players, asking them what the problem is and trying to sort them out. We don't want all that holistic Darren Lehmann stuff in this country. I sleep better at night knowing that Monty's being properly punished and that we'll instead take on the Indians this summer with a non-descript procession of second rate county spinners.

  • Paul on July 14, 2014, 20:09 GMT

    Kerrigan seems to have bowled little better than he did in his previous match on a turning track at Taunton. Two for 140 only became a semi-respectable 4-164 after the last two wickets fell to slogs. The lack of bounce the relatively short Kerrigan found in comparison with Dockrell was noticeable, as was his persistent inaccuracy, which resulted in Buttler conceding 24 byes.

    The England hierarchy has long made clear its contempt for County cricket, but surely someone must have witnessed his continuing post-2013 struggles out on the pitch.

  • Paulo on July 14, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Hopefully not a sign of nerves.

    Kerrigan has been economical this season and is the leading wicket taker among English spinners in division 1. He deserves to be backed.

    Parry getting a game is interesting. I thought he was discarded from limited overs duty too quickly by England (like Briggs). We need a back-up spinner to Tredwell for the World Cup.

    Still waiting for James Taylor to score runs this season.

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