Chilton rues 'below-par' Lancs

Lv County Championship
Matt Nicholson

Surrey seamer Matt Nicholson impressed after taking 3-30

Mark Chilton is rueing a “below-par” performance at The Brit Oval as Lancashire’s hopes of a first County Championship title since 1934 began to fade.

Chilton’s team were bowled out for only 234 in reply to Surrey’s 427 for nine declared - and with fellow Championship aspirants Sussex and Durham faring well elsewhere, it seemed the Red Rose’s six-point advantage going into this final round of matches may not turn out to be enough.

None of that was lost on the Lancashire captain, whose charges ended day two 214 runs adrift after Surrey had chosen not to enforce the follow-on and moved to 21 without loss second time round.

“We’re very disappointed. We’ve pretty much been second-best both days,” said Chilton - who cited Lancashire’s main problems as an inability to shift Mark Ramprakash (196) for most of yesterday, a little of bad luck but most importantly poor batting.

“We all realise that 230 is well below par on that wicket for a side with the quality we’ve got,” admitted the opener.

“We’re slightly aggrieved. I think we’ve been on the rough end of a couple of decisions - but I don’t think we’ve helped ourselves.

Mark Ramprakash

Lancashire struggled to get the wicket of Mark Ramprakash

“We certainly could have played better. There is no way we should have been bowled out for 230.”

Chilton fell to a borderline lbw decision in the first over and felt several close calls could have been more favourable.

“I didn’t think I was out early - and following that, we had a drag-on and a caught down the leg-side,” he said.

“Those are things that sometimes miss the stumps or go for four - but today it hasn’t gone for us.

“But then we also have not batted that well and haven’t got enough runs.”

Lancashire’s day started promisingly when they finally got rid of Ramprakash - but despite a battling half-century from VVS Laxman (53), they did not take their opportunity with the bat as Matt Nicholson and Chris Jordan each finished with three wickets.

“The way we set about things in the morning was good,” recalled Chilton.

“We were very positive. We knew we had to get them out for 450 or less and we looked to attack.

“But the start of our innings was pretty crucial. You need to get off to a decent start - and for one reason or another, we didn’t do that.”