Tail-End Heroics Seal Last Gasp Win
Match Report | 15th July 2014
Last man Harry Gurney hit the winning runs to take Nottinghamshire eleven points clear at the top of the LV= County Championship after a thrilling pursuit of 170 sunk relegation-threatened Lancashire by one wicket inside three days at Liverpool.
Captain Chris Read’s unbeaten 40 off 66 balls was crucial as, having come to the crease at 79 for five after tea, he shared in stands of 37 for the sixth wicket with Riki Wessels and 44 for the eighth with Luke Fletcher.
Fletcher also played a hugely significant role in a day which saw 17 wickets fall as he claimed three wickets in five balls and hit 18 to advance Notts from 119 for seven.
Fletcher fell to Kabir Ali, who then had Andre Adams caught at long-leg with the scores level, before Gurney hit the winning run off Chapple with the first ball of the 51st over. Notts had started their chase with 53 overs left in the day.
While Notts are eleven clear of second-placed Somerset and 16 clear of Yorkshire in third, who have five to play and a game in hand, Lancashire are eleven points from safety with four to play. They have played one more than their rivals.
Usman Khawaja and Ashwell Prince, who made 53 and 45 respectively, advanced Lancashire from 55 for two at the start of play to 99 before left-arm England one-day bowler Gurney expertly used the extra bounce on offer to get amongst the wickets as the hosts were bowled out for 205.
He had Khawaja caught behind, Steven Croft caught at point, Prince lbw and Tom Smith caught at second slip in the space of 29 balls as Lancashire to 140 for six in the 35th over.
Fletcher struck in the fourth over after lunch when he had Glen Chapple caught at second slip in the 45th before bowling Jos Buttler, who shouldered arms, and getting Kyle Hogg caught at second with the first two balls of the 47th.
Stephen Parry and Ali added 36 for the last wicket to get Lancashire up above 200 and give themselves something realistic to defend.
Lancashire struck twice in the early stages of the Notts chase as Chapple had Alex Hales caught at second slip and Smith trapped Steven Mullaney lbw, leaving the score at 41 for two.
And when Smith picked up his 47th and 48th wickets of the season with the first and last balls of the 16th over, getting James Taylor caught behind and Michael Lumb lbw, Notts were 53 for four and still 117 away.
Samit Patel was caught at point off Chapple in the second over after tea with the score on 79 before Read and Wessels united for the sixth wicket to steady things.
Wessels, however, was the first of two wickets to fall in successive overs to Hogg and Chapple as Lancashire edged ahead for the first time with their visitors at 119 for seven in the 32nd, needing 51.
Wessels punched Hogg to cover and Peter Siddle was caught at point off a top-edged pull at Chapple.
Read and Fletcher steadily advanced before the latter was caught at third slip off Ali, who then picked his 500th wicket in first-class career by dismissing Adams. It was to no avail.