Lancashire prevail in thrilling finale
Ajmal Shahzad and Kyle Hogg saw Lancashire to a surprisingly tense two-wicket win with four balls to spare against fellow LV= County Championship Division One strugglers Durham.
A half-century by overseas star Ashwell Prince looked to have set the reigning champions on course for a comfortable first win of the season, particularly when they were 156 for four in pursuit of only 200.
But when skipper Glen Chapple was eighth out, they still needed 32 to win in 5.4 overs, before Shahzad and Hogg saw them home in a pulsating finish at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Defeat spelled further agony for Durham, who also suffered a four-point deduction for a slow over-rate and are now further adrift at the foot of the table.
It was also an injustice for Graham Onions, who had career-best match figures of 11-95 but was let down at the end by Steve Harmison.
Having removed Paul Horton the previous evening, Onions' figures on the day were 16-4-26-5.
However, when Harmison was recalled with Lancashire needing 22 off three overs, his first over cost nine and he began the final over with an unreachable no-ball which bounced high over the batsman's head. Two balls later Shahzad drove him to long-on for the winning four.
With rain preventing any play until 2:55pm, Lancashire had 44 overs to score the 144 runs needed when they resumed on 56 for one.
Onions opened up with a superb 11-over spell, broken by tea, in which he took 3-12.
When he was rested with the score on 108 for four, he had taken all the wickets and no-one else was really threatening, although Harmison almost succeeded in having Prince caught at leg gully on 14.
A chance flew fast and low to Ben Stokes' left hand but the fielder was unable to hang on and shortly afterwards the brakes came off when the left-handed Prince hooked Harmison over fine-leg for six.
With Onions out of the attack at that point, 20 runs suddenly came off two overs after only 52 had come off the day's first 22.
Luke Procter helped Prince to put on 58 and Lancashire looked to be in control until left-arm swing bowler Jamie Harrison had the number six batsman caught behind for 15.
The target was 41 off eight when South African Prince was sixth out for 51, brilliantly caught at first slip by Gordon Muchall when giving Harrison the charge.
In the next over, Onions completed his second 10-wicket match haul of the season by pinning Gareth Cross lbw and when he removed Chapple in the same fashion, Durham were favourites.
Ultimately, they could not find the necessary support for Onions as Shahzad, with 19 not out, and Hogg, who finished unbeaten on 12, clinched victory.