The third round of matches in the 2021 County Championship is drawing towards a close. My focus for the present is the battle between Lancashire and Kent, but before I get to that, I have few details to clear up from the three matches that are already done and dusted.
THE CONCLUDED GAMES
In yesterday’s post I mentioned that Middlesex had beaten Surrey, and Somerset were poised to beat Leicestershire. That game duly ended in a nine wicket win for Somerset, Lammonby ending his horror start to the season with an unbeaten 70, which means that he now has 542 first class runs at 38.71 per innings. Those who called for his immediate elevation to the test match ranks based on six FC matches were overhyping a good young cricketer, and those who ruled him out completely based on his poor start to this season were judging over hastily in a knee-jerk reaction to the previous overhyping. The game between Sussex and Yorkshire took a dramatic turn yesterday evening, with Dominic Bess getting among the wickets, and this morning Yorkshire completed the victory that Bess’ bowling last night set up for them. This is a reassuring sign that Bess is rediscovering form and confidence after events of this winter.
THE FEATURE GAME
This one has been a remarkable game – Kent put Lancashire in had the latter 190-6 at one point. Nos 8 and 9, Wood and Lamb, both scored centuries as the last four wickets produced 335 further runs. Kent then slumped to a 169 all out and Lancashire, with an advantage of 356 had no hesitation in sending Kent in again. Kent batted better second time round, and one point were 305-4 with Kuhn and Denly both seeming set. Then Danny Lamb struck twice to remove both set batters, and Parkinson has subsequently claimed the wickets of Darren Stevens (who was playing FC cricket before the leg spinner had even been born) and Matt Milnes to take his tally for the inning to five. Kent are now 334-8, still needing 22 to avoid the innings defeat. Parkinson has 5-115 and is into his 43rd over of the innings.
Danny Lamb with his century and his wickets today has had a superb match, and he is not the only one of his family in that position today: his sister Emma scored a century for Lancashire Women today.
THE OTHER MATCHES
Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire: Worcestershire 436, Nottinghamshire 276 and 195-0. This one looks like a draw, batting an almighty collapse by Notts. Ben Slater has just completed a century, and Haseeb Hameed is closing in on what will be his second hundred of the match.
Warwickshire v Essex: Essex 295 and 244, Warwickshire 284 and 126-1. Warwickshire need 129 more with nine wickets standing. This has all the hallmarks of a fine finish and may well be my next port of call after the game I am currently listening to has finished. Warwickshire seem to be favourites but Essex have a potential trump card in Simon Harmer, the best spinner currently playing in the championship, who may yet send the midlanders into a tail spin. Hanuma Vihari, the Indian who is currently Warwickshire’s overseas player and Robert Yates, a promising youngster, both have half centuries to their name.
Northamptonshire v Glamorgan: Glamorgan 407 and 311-5 declared, Northamptonshire 364 and 170-2. Northamptonshire 185 more runs with eight wickets standing. Time may spoil this one, but it is looking like a classic at the moment, with Vasconcelos on 87 not out Rob Keogh 53 not out. Vasconcelos is now qualified for England, although he was born in South Africa and is of Portuguese ancestry (he is rivalled in this regard by Athanasios John Traicos, born in Egypt, to Greek parents and played for South Africa and Zimbabwe).
Durham v Derbyshire: Durham 475 and 175-2 declared, Derbyshire 267 and 180-3. Derbyshire need 204 more to win with seven wickets standing. Has Durham’s refusal to enforce the follow-on cost them their chance of winning this game? Derbyshire probably do not have enough time left to get the runs, but don’t seem to be in any great trouble. Wayne Madsen has just reached a 50, and Matt Critchley, who also bowls leg spin, is unbeaten on 40.
Hampshire v Gloucestershire: Hampshire 470, Gloucestershire 320 and 126-4. The draw is a clear favourite here, but credit to Hampshire for going for it by enforcing the follow on. Gloucs still need 24 to avoid the innings defeat and another couple of wickets quickly would certainly have them on the edge of their seats. Ian Cockbain is 34 not out, and Ryan Higgins has 10 not out.
None of the above matches is absolutely certain to end in a draw, and only two matches out of nine finished with more than a day to spare, which tells me that these games have been excellent and that the pitches have been well prepared for the format of the games.
SOLUTION TO A TEASER
Yesterday I posted this from brilliant.org:
The answer is that you should not play the game. Below is Shashank Tiwari’s published solution, and for more on the problem please click here.
My usual sign off…
It is tea on day four, and in the game I am following Kent are 345-8, needing 11 to avoid the innings defeat. Kent need to bat at least another hour to have any chance of saving the game.