Red Rose break their duck
Defending LV= County Champions Lancashire finally recorded their first victory of the 2012 campaign in the most dramatic of circumstances at the Emirates Durham ICG.
The Red Rose, who resumed on 56 for one against Durham, sneaked to a target of 200, for the loss of eight wickets, with just four balls to spare after rain had kept the players off the field until 2:55pm.
Ashwell Prince and Karl Brown underpinned a thrilling run chase with 51 and 42 respectively, but it was Ajmal Shahzad who hit the winning runs as Steve Harmison struggled at the death.
While fellow seamer Graham Onions returned 6-52 to complete exceptional career-best match figures of 11-95, Harmison was found wanting when it mattered most and conceded nine in his penultimate over before proving expensive again when a further nine were needed from the final set of six.
Durham, who remain winless in the championship and are rooted to the foot of the Division One table, suffered further misery when they were deducted four points for a slow over-rate.
Middlesex closed to within 16 points of leaders Nottinghamshire by completing an impressive 10-wicket victory over Sussex at Lord’s.
The visitors, who resumed 174 behind on 34 for one, were dismissed for 225 shortly after tea on the final day, despite 53 from Ben Brown. England paceman Steven Finn and Gareth Berg shared six wickets.
Middlesex were subsequently left with a target of 18 and openers Sam Robson and Chris Rogers took less than four overs to complete the formalities and secure a third win of the campaign for last year’s Division Two champions.
Wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter marked his first bowling stint in senior cricket with figures of 2-3 from three overs as Somerset’s clash with Worcestershire petered out into a predictable draw at New Road.
Matthew Pardoe had the dubious honour of becoming Kieswetter’s first victim when he was bowled for 28.
Ben Scott was then run out without scoring in Kieswetter’s next over and Gareth Andrew fell lbw for a duck before Worcestershire, aided by Moeen Ali’s unbeaten 47, declared with a lead of 171 on 129 for seven.
Somerset, for whom George Dockrell returned 3-56, had earlier been dismissed for 298 in their first innings, Jack Shantry completing figures of 5-58.
The Division Two match between Yorkshire and Northamptonshire also finished in a draw following a defiant display from the visitors’ batsmen at Headingley Carnegie.
Alex Wakely’s 66, Rob White’s 42 and an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 52 between David Murphy and Con de Lange helped Northants close on 250 for six, a lead of 87.
Mitchell Starc was the pick of Yorkshire’s attack with 3-50.