Lancashire cruise to victory
Lancashire took just 7.4 overs to take the two wickets they needed to complete a comprehensive innings-and-200-run victory over Northamptonshire on the final morning of the LV= County Championship Division One game at Emirates Old Trafford.
Simon Kerrigan trapped Graeme White lbw on the front foot for six with his first ball of the morning but Muhammad Azharullah stayed with Andrew Hall long enough to allow the South African to complete a deserved half-century.
Moreover, Azharullah slog-swept Kerrigan for two sixes off successive balls and also hit the left-arm spinner for a couple of boundaries before he attempted another massive blow but only succeeded in skying the ball on the leg side. Paul Horton ran round from slip to complete the dismissal of the visitors' last man for 24.
Kerrigan finished the innings with figures of four for 76 while Hall remained undefeated on 50 as Northants were all out for 270.
Indeed, the Northants all-rounder faced 223 balls without being dismissed in the match, thus offering a useful example to his colleagues as they seek to salvage their season.
At almost no point in either of their innings did Northants look like avoiding a very heavy defeat although their determination to resist for as long as possible during their second effort with the bat was admirable.
The defeat keeps Northants firmly rooted to the bottom of the Division One table with 32 points and it will now take a colossal recovery in form for Stephen Peters' side to avoid relegation. Lancashire remain eighth in the table with 100 points but they have now moved much closer to Warwickshire and Sussex, the teams immediately above them.
"I think the win gives us belief back that we can play good cricket and win games like we did last year," said Lancashire coach Gary Yates. "The players will feel good about themselves because they've played some positive cricket. The victory will give everybody a lift."
Northants captain Peters said: "It is difficult for us to take much from this game. There was some resistance in the second innings and Andrew Hall's played really well not to be dismissed in the match."
"We managed to take the match into the fourth day, albeit only just, but it was always going to be difficult in the second innings as the pitch began to turn more."