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John Ward at Old Trafford
August 1, 2009
Lancashire 219 for 2 (Horton 84, Loye 61*) lead Yorkshire 181 (Gale 54, Smith 6-46, Mahmood 3-57) by 38 runs
In the 33 overs permitted by Jupiter Pluvius on the second day of the Roses match, Lancashire consolidated their position against Yorkshire, mainly due to Mal Loye's aggressive half-century, his third of the season. The weather must be causing the Red Rose more concern than the opposition, though, as they may well be robbed of a victory they deserve if the famous Old Trafford weather prevails.
After overnight rain, the start of play was scheduled for 11.30 and the times of the interval altered, the latter being akin to rescheduling the ports of call of the Titanic. The good ship did set sail at the amended time, but did not get much further. Lancashire began at 106 without loss, and in the first over Yorkshire struck their first blow, as Tom Smith, forgetting his admirable discretion of the previous evening, wafted his bat at a ball from Matthew Hoggard that moved away outside the off stump, and edged to the keeper. Much to his chagrin, he found himself returning to the pavilion for his overnight 40, his part in the day's play already over.
Yorkshire missed another chance soon afterwards, as Paul Horton, on 64, miscued a cut against the accurate Tim Bresnan and was dropped off a hard overhead chance by third slip. Horton celebrated his escape by settling into a fluent groove and looked quite in control of some pretty useful bowling when the rain came, after fifty minutes. There was a brief remission of rain, but it lasted only five minutes, and the major interruption came with Lancashire on 151 for 1. By then Horton had 84, and Loye, who had shown aggressive spirit, had 21.
Rain on and off for several hours prevented a resumption until 5.20, by which time the sun was shining weakly and intermittently. Loye quickly showed aggressive intent, but was a little fortunate to miscue a pull off Amjad Shahzad clear of the field; later on he was to top-edge another pull of the same bowler which carried over the keeper for six. Horton, however, did not add to his 84, as he chased a rare leg-side ball from Bresnan and was very reluctant to leave the field on being given out caught down the leg side. He faced 161 balls and hit 11 fours.
Loye and VVS Laxman saw out the day safely; the Yorkshire bowling worked hard and was quite accurate, but lacked the inspiration necessary to swing the balance of the match. Loye was strongest on the pull, and two men out for the shot was often insufficient. His 50, coming off 73 balls, contained eight fours and a six, a high proportion of boundaries. Laxman, on the other hand, favoured the delicate cut past the slips, and this pair took Lancashire into the lead with only two wickets down. They are now well placed to take a large lead and gain a much-needed victory, if only the rain would leave the soggy British Isles in peace.
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