Ashwell Prince and Hashim Amla both failed to capitalise on favourable batting conditions in the latest round of the English County Championship. GARETH STEVENS reports.
Prince looked in wonderful touch in the second innings of the drawn match against Warwickshire. The Lancashire left-hander was punching Keith Barker down the ground and through the covers with ease on his way to a fluid 36. Unfortunately, he threw away a good start when he danced down the wicket and was beaten by Kiwi off-spinner Jeetan Patel. He didn’t get to the pitch and the ball spun past his defences to leave him stranded.
Prince, who played for the Warriors in South Africa before retiring at the end of the domestic season, would have been keen to fill his boots after scoring just 12 in the first innings. Nevertheless, Lancashire worked their way into a position of strength. Captain Glenn Chapple showed that he would rather draw than give Varun Chopra’s men a sniff of winning. When Chapple did finally declare, Warwickshire were left needing to score 287 runs at a rate of 7.36 per over. The scoring rates in the previous three innings of the game had been 2.68, 2.60 and 3.92.
It was a decision that Chapple may rue. His spinners Simon Kerrigan and Steven Croft extracted some vicious turn on the final afternoon, which saw Warwickshire crawl to 86-5 and secure the draw. It was a slow pitch that probably required five days to see a result, but in hindsight Lancashire would have liked more than the 40 overs they bowled in the fourth innings.
Amla has replaced Graeme Smith in a Surrey team that piled on the runs against Gloucestershire at Bristol. Unfortunately, the Proteas Test skipper missed a golden opportunity to gain form ahead of South Africa’s tour to Sri Lanka.
Gloucestershire chose to bat first and were skittled for 112 on a tricky first morning. The roller used at the change of innings flattened the pitch out and Surrey took full advantage by amassing 626-6. Amla strode to the wicket at the fall of the first wicket with 215 already on the board, but was trapped in front for just nine.
The hosts resume their second innings on 274-5 at the start of the final day. They still trail by 240 runs and will need to bat out the entire day to avoid defeat.