Tough going

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

LANCASHIRE picked up where they had left off after lunch and, with conditions in their favour, the pressure applied by their seamers brought its reward.

Although wicketless, skipper Glen Chapple led the strangulation in a 14-over spell, broken by the interval, which cost only 30 runs.

After reaching 70 in 13 overs, it took Durham a further 37 overs to double the score and they suffered the early afternoon loss of three wickets before Phil Mustard helped the impressive Gordon Muchall to take the score to 180 for six at tea.

Only one run was scored in the first six overs after the break before Michael Richardson cross-batted Kyle Hogg for four through mid-on off the back foot.

The grip seemed to have been broken when he pulled the same bowler for another boundary, but he pushed forward and fell lbw to Hogg for 16 to spark the fall of three wickets for ten runs.

There was some variable bounce, as shown when Paul Collingwood also pushed forward against Hogg and the ball lobbed off the shoulder of his bat to gully.

After being very watchful against Chapple, Ben Stokes twice punched back-foot fours in front of mid-wicket, then straight drove the first ball of Kabir Ali’s second spell to the boundary.

He played back to the next ball, which hit a perfect length and cut back slightly to bowl Stokes for 21. It also kept low and was very reminiscent of his dismissal in the last match against Middlesex.

At 123 for six Mustard emerged, having slipped three places in the order since his pre-season promotion to No 5 failed to bring the desired results.

His lack of form was clear as he took 20 balls to get off the mark, but Muchall was looking more solid than he has in the past in testing conditions. He also timed his strokes nicely and after left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan opened up with two tight overs Muchall drove him sweetly to the extra cover boundary then lofted the next ball down the ground for four.

Muchall was on 34 at tea with Mustard on 17.

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