Published On: Sat, Apr 28th, 2018

Shivnarine Chanderpaul stands up in Lancashire's hour of need

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Lancashire 352 for 8 (Clark 78, Chanderpaul 65, Croft 62) v Surrey
Scorecard

Hunger is so often the best sauce. Having lost the first day of this game to seven hours’ rain, spectators at Emirates Old Trafford gave themselves to Saturday’s cricket with fresh intensity. The fewer balls, the greater share of scrutiny perhaps, and few batsmen devote themselves to their craft more assiduously than Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose ability to bat long has been valued by every county he has represented.

By the tall-shadowed end of a long day, Chanderpaul’s painstaking 216-minute 65 might have faded from the memory and been replaced by the more obviously spectacular fifties struck by both Steven Croft and Jordan Clark. For their part, Surrey supporters could with justice pointed to the early breakthroughs made by Jade Dernbach or to the three wickets taken by Amar Virdi on a pitch which eased as the sun elbowed the early clouds aside.

Yet it was still Chanderpaul who did the groundwork for a home recovery which was completed in evening sunshine and in an atmosphere of unfamiliar affluence by Clark. Whatever folk may say about the appearance of a 43- year-old in the modern game, Lancashire have particular need of Chanderpaul at a time when their top four batsmen, all of them hopeful of Test selection, have made one half-century in 20 individual attempts this infant season. Thus, the Guyanan will hardly have been too surprised to find himself walking out to bat inside the first hour of play with the scoreboard reading a sickly 23 for 3.

By the time Chanderpaul departed, over four hours later and with those 65 runs against his name, Lancashire’s fortunes had been restored to the extent suggested by 206 for 6. He had added 88 for the fourth wicket with Liam Livingstone and a further 78 for the sixth with Croft. Surrey’s bowlers had failed to press home their early advantage and the final session was Lancashire’s.

Indeed it could have been even better for Livingstone’s team had not Ben Foakes anticipated Croft’s sweep and taken a superb leg-side catch; and better still had not Ollie Pope dived at square leg – when still wearing his fielding helmet, if you please – to dismiss Clark for a 101-ball 78. Both those wickets were taken by Virdi, who had earlier persuaded Chanderpaul to forget the watchwords of his career and frolic down the wicket only to sky a catch to Scott Borthwick at mid-off.

Those three dismissals may have taken a little glister off the Lancastrian day but they could not diminish its fundamental worth. Having collected their first batting point of the season just before Chanderpaul’s dismissal, the home side had added three more by the close. Most of those runs were scored by Croft, who reached his fifty with a six off a Virdi full toss, and Clark, who punished Sam Curran when Surrey took the new ball.

The temper of the day had certainly been transformed from the morning session when Surrey carried themselves as though they expected to take wickets. And before long the bearing of the cricketers was translated into achievement as Lancashire lost three wickets for eight runs in the space of 15 balls. Haseeb Hameed was first to go when he pushed forward defensively to Dernbach but only edged a catch to Dean Elgar at slip. The departure of the England opener for 4 was followed exactly two overs later by that of Alex Davies, Lancashire’s No. 3 driving Dernbach to shortish mid-on where Matt Dunn dived to his left to take a fine catch.

Two balls later Keaton Jennings was leg before to Curran to leave the home side in a familiar cart but that marked the lowest point in Lancashire’s fortunes. By mid-afternoon Surrey bowlers were fighting hard to restrict the batsmen, efforts that were assisted when second slip Borthwick dived full length to his right and grabbed a one-handed catch off the bowling of Curran to remove Dane Vilas.

The fielder then milked the moment and posed motionless with arm and ball aloft, looking rather like the Statue of Liberty. But a couple of hours later it was the huddled masses in the Old Trafford pavilion who were celebrating unaccustomed prosperity. They probably thought it their Manifest Destiny.



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