James Anderson has become the youngest player ever to take a hat-trick for Lancashire, as Essex slumped to 97 for 7 at lunch on the first day of the Frizzell County Championship Division One match at Old Trafford.
Anderson was already a shoo-in for his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's next week, but he emphasised his readiness by trapping Nasser Hussain lbw first-ball for 0 with a beautiful inswinging yorker, the second of his three wickets. Darren Robinson had already fallen for 11, caught in the gully by Alec Swann, and Anderson completed the hat-trick with the first ball of his next over, when Will Jefferson was caught behind by Warren Hegg for 19.
It was the first hat-trick at Old Trafford since Dominic Cork famously skittled the West Indies in 1995, and the last Lancashire bowler to complete the feat was Mike Watkinson, their current coach, against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1992. Anderson's achievement overshadowed the Lancashire debut of Carl Hooper, the former West Indies captain, who has gained special dispensation to replace the injured Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.
It was a mixed day for England captains. Essex's captain Ronnie Irani, who led England's one-day side in a tour match at Bowral last winter, also fell for a first-ball duck, but Michael Vaughan scored 103 for Yorkshire against Northamptonshire, his first century of the season.