Lancashire 189 for 3 (Croft 65* Maxwell 58) beat Durham 117 (Steel 58) by 72 runs

It turns out that Glenn Maxwell, as far away from a synthetic cricketer as it is possible to get, just needed an artificial pitch to put his English summer to rights.

Well, not an artificial pitch exactly, a hybrid pitch, used for the first time in English county cricket by Lancashire at Old Trafford (unless somebody in High Office somewhere is keeping a secret) as they made light work of Durham by 73 runs.

At least 10 counties have installed hybrid strips, with The Kia Oval housing as many as six on their square. Although the majority are used chiefly as practice nets, confidence in them is growing and several others could potentially stage a match during the Blast.

Although the ECB plan to appraise hybrid pitches officially on a variety of measures - how much they seam or swing; how fast or bouncy - the initial verdict is a positive one. The pitch appeared to have good pace and carry and Lancashire, in making 189 for 3, struck nine sixes, only two short of their T20 record.

Maxwell, who had an undistinguished World Cup for Australia, averaging only 22 with the bat without a half-century to his name and not taking a wicket in 49 overs, must have been sick of the sight of English grass by the time the hosts picked up the trophy at Lord's a week ago.

But give him up to five percent polyethylene yarn sewn into the Old Trafford pitch and he strutted his stuff again, blazing 58 from 33 balls with four sixes before he top-edged a sweep against the left-arm spin of his fellow Australian, D'Arcy Short, to deep square.

Hybrid pitches are not destined to play a part in Championship cricket - at least not Championship cricket as we know it - because they don't wear naturally in the time-accustomed manner so robbing the longer format of much of its charm.

But that hardiness - up to five times more wear - could be a saviour for tired English squares, especially on Test grounds with demands growing ever greater and The Hundred scheduled to begin next summer.

Maxwell's second-wicket stand of 93 in 52 balls with Steven Croft was the centrepiece of Lancashire's victory in front of a crowd of 13,710 - a Lancashire record for a non-Roses T20 tie at Old Trafford.

Croft had a successful afternoon, too, batting through for 63 from 45 balls - the sixth Lancashire batsman to achieve it in T20 - opening for Lancashire for the first time since Leicester at Liverpool early in 2009 because of injury to Liam Livingstone and making light of the fact he received only 36 percent of the strike. His contract is up at the end of the season, but, at 34, he is having a good one.

His verdict on the hybrid pitch was a positive one. "It was good," he said. "We have netted on them last year and this year. It played well and the pace felt really nice. We have a brilliant slow-bowling department and they got a bit out of it as well. So it's thumbs up from us."

Three of Maxwell's four sixes actually came off full tosses, leaving a possibility that an ECB analyst might have to stride onto the square and request that for the benefits of research could they please make more of an effort to locate the cut bit.

Two successive full bungers from Ben Raine took Maxwell past 50, the first six mishit and barely making it, the second leaving nothing in doubt. The one that bounced, from Short, finished on the pavilion TV gantry.

The best shot of all, though, came from Alex Davies, who hauled Brydon Carse over midwicket into Brian Statham Way. Carse is a physically more imposing figure than he was a couple of years ago, and bowls a quick ball, but his figures filled out, too, and his four overs went for 51.

Durham did not even manage nodding acquaintance with the target as they suffered one of their worst-ever defeats - and they have had some terrible years mixed in with some very good ones. They were dismissed for 117 inside 17 overs and that included opener Scott Steel's spirited 58.

James Faulkner's third ball removed Short's off stump and Maxwell ran out Ben Raine out with a direct from mid-on at the non-striker's end as Durham ended the Powerplay feebly at 30 for 2.

One wicket was particularly poignant. Matt Parkinson's mother, Maria, had died suddenly last week and when Lancashire's legspinner had Durham's captain Stuart Poynter caught at short fine-leg he pointed to the sky in celebration before receiving hugs from all his team-mates. He is a fine prospect and given any sort of fair wind he will do her proud.