Taunton, July 16, 2000, National League Division One
(38/45 ov, T:199) 202/3

Lancashire won by 7 wickets (with 42 balls remaining)


High quality strokeplay from Atherton and Ganguly

Mike Atherton and Sourav Ganguly produced a feast of high-quality strokeplay to become Lancashire record-breakers at Taunton

Richard Latham
Norwich Union National Cricket League
Mike Atherton and Sourav Ganguly produced a feast of high-quality strokeplay to become Lancashire record-breakers at Taunton.
Replying to a modest Somerset total of 198, the two Test players put on 192 for the first wicket in 34 overs to lead their side to a seven-wicket victory - only Lancashire's second in the National League this season.
The stand was the county's highest opening partnership in the competition, beating the 177 compiled by Graeme Fowler and Gehan Mendis against Kent at Canterbury in 1986.
It was murderous batting, particularly in the closing stages, when Atherton and Ganguly appeared to be trying to out-hit one another with a succession of thumping boundaries off the medium-pacers.
Atherton hit a near faultless 105 off 115 balls, with 14 boundaries, managing to score faster than his partner for most of the stand.
Ganguly was first to go for 82, having smashed a six and 10 fours, in a typically elegant contribution. He had faced 93 balls when trying one big hit too many and departing with just seven runs needed.
Atherton quickly followed and John Crawley missed out before Lancashire cruised home with seven overs to spare, denting Somerset's title hopes in the process.
While the serene batting will be remembered by most of a bumper crowd basking in glorious sunshine, it was the visiting bowlers who set up victory after Somerset had won the toss.
Home skipper Jamie Cox opted to go into the game with an extra bowler, calling up all-rounder Jason Kerr for his first appearance of the season at the expense of Mark Lathwell.
It proved a mistake as, despite an encouraging start, Somerset batted poorly, with too many players tossing their wickets away through poor shots.
Wicketkeeper Rob Turner was promoted to open with Cox and the pair put on 46 in quick time. Then, after Piran Holloway had fallen for a duck, Peter Bowler helped Cox add 45 for the third wicket.
But from a promising 103-2 in the 19th over Somerset fell away as spinners Chris Schofield and Gary Yates took two wickets each in key spells that enabled Lancashire to peg back the run-rate.
The pair sent down their combined 18 overs for only 73 runs, sharing the vital wickets of Cox, Bowler, Mike Burns and Ian Blackwell.
Somerset were never able to accelerate again and the total of 198 all out in 44 overs looked woefully inadequate on a typically batsman-friendly Taunton pitch. Glen Chapple weighed in with 3-23 from his nine overs as only Keith Parsons of the later batsmen showed much composure in making 25.
As it turned out, 250 might not have been enough against players of the calibre of Atherton and Ganguly in top form.
But Cox conceded he had got it wrong. "We should have played Lathwell. But our medium-pacers have been going for a few with the white ball and I thought Kerr would be a handy extra option," he said.
The only Somerset player with cause to smile was Bowler, whose benefit game this was. His coffers will have been swollen considerably by the gate receipts and a bucket collection that raised more than £1,700.

Lancashire Innings
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National League Division One