David Balcombe: Returned figures of 5-92 on day one David Balcombe claimed a five-wicket haul as Hampshire reduced Lancashire to 252-9 on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash at the Ageas Bowl.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat but were in danger of being skittled for a paltry total when Balcombe helped reduced them to 182-8.
But an unbeaten knock of 93 from Andrea Agathangelou dug Lancashire out of trouble and left the contest finely poised heading into the second day.
More to follow…
Graham Onions’ second five-wicket haul of the season has put Durham in command of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Middlesex at Chester-le-Street.
It could have been much worse for the visitors, who recovered from 35-5 to make 196 before Durham stretched their lead to 100 by reaching 37-0 in their second innings.
Middlesex resumed on 11-2 and that became four inside the first hour’s play when Joe Denly was caught at second slip by Scott Borthwick and left-hander Dawid Malan fell lbw, Onions taking both wickets.
The resumption after lunch was delayed before, in the third over, Ben Stokes hit nightwatchman Tom Smith on the boot to gain an lbw verdict.
Onions had to be recalled and there was an element of fortune about the breakthrough as John Simpson toe-ended a short ball to mid-off to depart for 42, made off 51 balls with eight fours.
Edge Paul Collingwood then clung on at the second attempt to an edge from Gareth Berg to give Onions 5-26 at the time.
Those figures were slightly spoilt by Dexter taking three fours off an over and he reached his 98-ball half-century by cover-driving Stokes for his ninth four.
But Stokes nipped one back to find an inside edge and have Dexter caught behind on 52 before Harris showed his batting prowess by making 37.
He finally hit a full toss from Scott Borthwick to mid-wicket and without addition Roland-Jones chipped Mark Wood to mid-on.
Durham had what looked likely to be a tricky 11 overs to bat in gloomy conditions, but Middlesex bowled too short to Mark Stoneman, who cut and pulled his way to 31, with Keaton Jennings surviving on six.
Darren Stevens continued to shine in between the rain at Chelmsford as Kent ended a shortened second day on 214-5.
Having taken four wickets to help dismiss the hosts for 212 on Wednesday, all-rounder Stevens made a superb 91 not out to help Kent battle back from 43-4 in their first innings.
The 37-year-old certainly seems to have a liking for playing at Essex’s home – he made 119 not out at the same ground 12 months ago and also reached three figures in a first-class fixture at the venue in 2010.
Stevens shared a fifth-wicket stand of 145 with Ben Harmison as the pair dug in after a disastrous start to the day for Kent, who had resumed in the morning on 20-1.
Left-arm pace bowler Reece Topley struck twice in his opening four overs, bowling Brendan Nash before then getting Michael Powell caught at second slip by Tom Westley.
Ravi Bopara chipped in with the wicket of Sam Northeast, caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper James Foster, as Essex sensed the chance to gain a crucial first-innings lead.
Their hopes, however, hit a sizeable stumbling block in the form of the alliance between Stevens and Harmison, with the latter taking 43 balls just to reach double figures.
Essex used six bowlers in their attempts to separate the pair before Ryan ten Doeschate, playing in his first match for the county since returning from IPL duty, had Harmison caught behind for 55.
Throughout much of the 1980s Australian cricket was a mess, the national team cast about on the winds of rebellion, hamstrung by retirements and peppered by regular defeat.
Yet in the 1990s the Baggy Green side was one of the greatest the sport has seen.
A generation of England fans grew up knowing the Australian side only as an all-conquering force, one who would habitually humiliate whichever side England sacrificially put out to take them on.
The pivot between the old, shambolic and (crucially) Ashes-losing Australia of the 1980s and the new, terrifying Pommie-pounding Australia of the 1990s came in the Ashes series of 1989.
And perhaps the simplest way to encapsulate the spirit of that summer is with two bottles of champagne and a glass of water.
First, the bubbly.
Terry Alderman, written off before the series as over-the-hill, a 30-something whose potency had been eroded by years of injury, a has-been that never really was, confounded the critics with match figures of 10 for 151 as Australia tore England apart in the first Test at Headingley.
The bowler whose swing swung the game in the tourists’ favour pipped Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor to the man-of-the-match award, accepted his magnum of champagne, then ordered it to be put on ice until the Ashes were back in Australian hands.
That was the first bottle in our tale.
The second makes its appearance in the hands of a waiter at lunch on the second day of the fifth Test.
Taylor and Geoff Marsh had batted through the entire opening day, Australia, 3-0 up with two games to play, the Ashes already heading back down under, were 370 for one, well on their way to amassing 400 plus in their first innings for the fifth time in five matches.
Marsh had at last been dismissed for 138 in the morning session and, “to celebrate”, the England captain David Gower ordered himself a glass of the good stuff.
If it was meant to be a self-deprecating attempt at light humour in the face of a crisis, it came across as a gesture of utter demoralisation, a sign of England’s all-too-obvious inadequacies and impotence in the face of a Baggy Green steamroller.
And, coupled with Alderman’s magnum, it showcased the contrast in attitude between the sides one shrugging its shoulders, one ruthlessly hell-bent on victory.
Which brings us on to that glass of water.
Later in that Test, during England’s doomed attempt to avoid the follow on, Robin Smith, arguably the only England player to come out of the series with any credit, asked the Australian captain if he might have a glass of water.
“No you fucking can’t, what do you think this is a fucking tea party?” came the unequivocal response from Allan Border.
This was a new Australia and a new Border.
No more Mr Nice Guy.
The seeds of the new era were sown in the Ashes series of 1985, one that for Australia had been preceded, in Border’s words, by “a monumental shit fight” following defections from the squad for a rebel tour of South Africa “I was a very unhappy captain, and I clearly had a very unhappy team on my hands.” Border’s team, defending the urn won back in 1982-83 by Greg Chappell, lost 3-1 to Gower’s England, but the atmosphere was convivial there’s an illustrative photograph in Border’s autobiography of the two captains at the end of a day’s play during that tour, Border clasping his opposite number in a handshake with one arm, the other draped chummily across Gower’s shoulders, smiles all round.
It was too convivial for some.
“AB, these blokes are belting the hell out of you,” Ian Chappell told the Australian captain, “but you’re out there being their best mate, for Christ’s sake.” Border would remember those words, and act accordingly, on his next visit to England.
Even fresher in Australian minds was the chastening beating they suffered on home soil at the hands of the West Indies in 1988-89.
“We got beaten by the West Indies in the Boxing Day Test they smashed us up and embarrassed us and we made a pact afterwards it would never happen again,” said Dean Jones, the Australian No5.
“That was the biggest turning point we’ve had in Australia.
Everything changed for us.
AB and all the players were harder on ourselves.” The tourists disembarked from 26 hours in business class (the first time an Australian side had not flown economy to England “‘Aussies mean business’ had a nice ring to it,” reckoned Border) to be greeted by the usual “worst touring side ever” headlines.
There was no doubt the home side expected to win.
Gower had announced himself “supremely confident” of not just retaining the Ashes but beating the Australians on his reappointment as captain in April.
If the confidence of the England side and media looks ludicrous in hindsight and in poring over the faults of the visitors they entirely overlooked the weaknesses in their own side it’s worth remembering that since winning the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on 27 June, 1985, Australia had won only five of 34 Tests, and of the 13 Tests played away from home in that period they had won none.
In the 1980s up to that point they had won just one series on foreign soil and that a one-match affair in Sri Lanka and they had won only three series anywhere since 1983.
The future greats in the side Taylor, Waugh, Healy were yet to reveal their greatness.
They even lost their opening three-day match of the tour in a low-scoring game against Worcestershire then drew against Somerset in the next.
Yet even during those games Border had a new demeanour.
He had always been a rugged character, a battler, but this was a new, harder edge he refused to talk to the opposition, and demanded complete discipline and commitment from his team in the field.
And from England’s point of view, the counties made the mistake of throwing fuel on the fire.
In 1985 Border had complained about county sides fielding below-strength lineups in tour matches, so in 1989 counties were offered cash prizes a share of 25,000 for wins over the tourists, in a rather ill-thought-out attempt to ensure competitive matches.
It certainly did that but a side-effect was that county sides tended to prepare result pitches.
Fiery, bouncy, mind-your-head pitches.
In the final tour match before the first Test, against Derbyshire who fielded Devon Malcolm and a young West Indian named Ian Bishop the Australian batting lineup were peppered with short deliveries.
Fuelled by the cold pizza served up for lunch, they were bowled out for 200 in their first innings, 180 in the second and scraped home by 11 runs .
That experience was the final straw.
In the first Test Australia would be determined to, in Border’s words, “show the bastards”.
And show them they did.
At Headingley, scene of Border’s lowest point in 1981, Gower won the toss (at which the Australia captain did not speak to his counterpart) and put the tourists in.
Taylor smashed his first Test century, Waugh did likewise, Australia declared at 601 for seven and despite England avoiding the follow-on, Alderman bowled the tourists to victory in the fourth innings.
The champagne went on ice.
After another game of what Border described as “bounce the Aussie” against a Lancashire attack including Wasim Akram and Patrick Patterson, Waugh made an unbeaten 152 in the first innings at Lord’s, Merv Hughes was warned for intimidatory bowling and an Australian side went two up after two Tests in England for the first time since Donald Bradman’s side in 1948.
Two moments at HQ again illustrate Australia’s new-found focus.
Border points to the incident when he swiped at and missed a triple-bounce ball from Neil Foster.
England were tickled, the Australian captain furious: “Maybe in 1985 I’d have responded to such an incident, and their joking, with a bit of light-hearted banter of my own.” This time around there was just naked rage.
After the match the Australian camp received a telegram from the makers of the Crocodile Dundee films: “The party is on us.
When and where do you want it?” Again it was decided to wait until after the Ashes were secure.
For the third Test at Edgbaston England recalled Ian Botham, despite the fact that he had neither scored a first-class fifty nor taken five wickets in an innings for two years, and rain came to the rescue.
But at Old Trafford in the fourth Test (ahead of which England were rocked by the announcement of a rebel squad to tour South Africa) there was no escape from the throttling, aggressive fields, disciplined bowling and belligerent dismantling of the England attack.
Three-nil, the Ashes back in Australian hands, but the relentless tourists and their captain were not yet satisfied.
“We had some unfinished business: we wanted to win the series 5-0, the greatest winning margin by an Australian team.
We had a team meeting at which the feeling was very much: ‘Let’s go for the jugular.’” At Trent Bridge Taylor and Marsh did not just go for the jugular they ripped it out and made balloon animals with it.
The first day ended with Australia 301 without loss, the opening pair becoming the first players to bat through an entire day’s play in a Test in England and only the third openers to do so anywhere.
The home side by this stage were in disarray Australia won by an innings and 180 runs.
The ordeal was nearly over for Gower and England.
On the opening morning of the sixth Test Border was asked if he would like England to up their game a little, just to try his side’s mettle, to see how his youngsters responded to pressure.
“Nope,” came the reply.
England, who with their team selection took the number of players used during the series to 29 (Australian, in contrast, used 12), escaped with a rain-affected draw after Border, ruthless to the end, had delayed a declaration on the final day.
An earlier end to the Australian innings “would have given England a sniff of victory and I had no intention of doing that”.
The demolition work was complete, England reduced to rubble.
Australia, 4-0 winners for the first time since 1948, had their party courtesy of Crocodile Dundee’s box-office takings, flew home for ticker-tape parades and prepared for a new era of hard-nosed dominance.
England hunkered down for a rebuilding job that would take a decade.
That was definitely no tea party.
Michael Carberry continued his excellent form in the Yorkshire Bank 40 as holders Hampshire extended their lead at the top of Group B with a nine-wicket victory against Lancashire in Southampton.
Hampshire chased down a target of 245 with six overs to spare, Carberry finishing on his career-best one-day score of 150 not out.
The opening batsman, who hit 96 against Durham last Sunday, plundered 18 fours and five sixes in his 115-ball masterclass.
He dominated a first-wicket stand of 77 with James Vince, whose departure for 25 to Kyle Hogg in the 10th over was the only moment of joy for Lancashire’s bowlers.
Carberry was joined by his skipper Jimmy Adams and the second-wicket duo guided Hampshire across the winning line without further loss.
Adams’ contribution to a 172-run partnership was 66 off 62 deliveries.
Prince ton Ashwell Prince had earlier hit a century in Lancashire’s total of 244-6.
The South African scored 100 off 85 balls, including 11 fours and a six, at the top of the order after Lancashire had been asked to bat.
He received good support from Karl Brown (44) in a third-wicket stand of 112 before Wayne White (27no) and Gareth Cross (36) finished the innings with a flourish.
The result is Hampshire’s fourth victory from five matches in this season’s competition, putting them four points clear of Essex in Group B, while Lancashire have won only one of their first four fixtures.
The new ball proved more of a threat in the evening than the morning at Chester-le-Street as Division One leaders Middlesex replied to Durham’s 259 by slipping to 11-2.
Corey Collymore had taken two wickets in two deliveries with the second new ball to finish with 4-61 as Durham’s last four wickets went down for 29.
Then Graham Onions knocked back Sam Robson’s off stump with the sixth ball of the reply and Chris Rogers was lbw to Callum Thorp in the next over.
With leading wicket-taker Tim Murtagh on Ireland one-day duty against Pakistan, Middlesex struggled in the morning to capitalise on winning the toss in conditions expected to favour the seamers.
Collymore had Mark Stoneman caught behind in the sixth over, but there was no further success before lunch.
They bowled with more purpose afterwards and reduced Durham from 108-1 to 149-5 before Phil Mustard made the top score of 62.
Dropped catches Durham failed to capitalise on three dropped catches, with skipper Paul Collingwood surviving an edge off the first ball he faced only to miscue the second to midwicket.
Keaton Jennings and Ben Stokes survived straightforward slip chances with opener Jennings sticking around until early afternoon in sharing a second-wicket stand of 101 with Scott Borthwick.
Continuing in his new role at number three, Borthwick pulled Gareth Berg for his ninth four to reach an 86-ball half-century, only to drive at the next ball and edge to wicketkeeper John Simpson.
Jennings was lbw to Collymore for 38 and Stokes inside edged a drive off James Harris to be well caught by Simpson, diving to his right.
Collingwood became Harris’s second victim, attempting to pull, before Will Smith and Mustard put on 55, while Smith grafted for 107 balls to make 37 before both he and Gareth Breese were victims of edged catches when driving loosely.
Once the new ball was taken Thorp never looked surviving against Collymore and had his leg stump knocked back, then Wood was lbw.
Mustard drove Harris back over his head for his sixth four to reach 50 off 97 balls then stepped back to loft a four over extra cover.
But he gave Harris a third wicket when he drove to long-on, where Toby Roland-Jones held an excellent catch.
Darren Stevens: Finished as the pick of the bowlers on opening day Kent’s pace bowlers combined to dismiss Essex for 212 on the opening day of their LV= Country Championship Division Two match at Chelmsford.
Darren Stevens returned figures of 4-36 while Mark Davies and Charlie Shreck each claimed three wickets before the visitors finished the day on 20-1 in reply.
It could have been worse for Essex if not for a half-century from Graham Napier, who along with skipper James Foster dug his side out of a major hole at 109-6.
Both batsmen made progress with confident drives and cuts, the stand of 88 being broken when an attempted square drive from Foster (48) against Shreck (3-61) ended up in the hands of Matt Coles in the slip cordon when just three short of his half-century.
Napier mixed a certain amount of caution with controlled aggression to collect five fours and a six before finally being undone by Stevens for 58.
The only other stand of note featured openers Tom Westley (30) and Jaik Mickleburgh (37) after Kent had gambled on putting their opponents in after winning the toss.
Davies (3-31) removed both batsmen.
The loss of Mickleburgh triggered a run of four wickets for eight runs in the space of 32 deliveries, with Mark Pettini adding just 16 before Napier and Foster led a meaningful recovery.
Left with 12 overs before the close, Kent lost Rob Key, who was caught behind off David Masters after contributing just a single run.
Worcestershire’s veteran seamer Alan Richardson claimed a career-best 8-37 against Gloucestershire on the opening day at New Road.
Gloucestershire were all out for 234 in 70.3 overs and, at the close, the Worcestershire had reached 65-0 in reply with skipper Daryl Mitchell unbeaten on 46.
Richardson, 38, quickly carried on where he left off in Worcestershire’s previous game when he bagged match figures of 12-63 in a two-day, 10-wicket demolition of Kent at Canterbury last week.
He ensured it was an unproductive return to New Road for Gloucestershire skipper Michael Klinger, who played in six Championship games for Worcestershire when he deputised as the club’s overseas player before Phil Hughes’ arrival last season.
The Australian scored just five before he pushed forward and was trapped leg before by Richardson, who soon went on to capture Dan Housego during an opening spell which yielded figures of 7-0-12-2.
Chris Dent went on to complete a half-century partnership with Alex Gidman before he pushed forward on the back foot off Richardson and was caught behind by Michael Johnson.
Dent departed soon after lunch when undone by a Richardson delivery which cut in and knocked back his off stump for 41, which contained eight fours.
Stability At 99-4, Gloucestershire needed stability which was provided by Hamish Marshall and Benny Howell who steadily constructed a half-century stand in 14 overs.
Their partnership spanned 20 overs and produced 74 runs before Mitchell’s first ball accounted for Howell for 36.
Mitchell then highlighted his fielding abilities in the next over by holding on to a low, one handed reflex catch at second slip to remove Marshall for 45 off paceman Chris Russell.
Jack Taylor, accompanied by Gareth Roderick, pushed Gloucestershire past the 200 mark in the 61st over by striking Russell for fours in a row and at tea Gloucestershire were 219 for six off 64 overs.
Richardson struck with the third ball after break by ousting Taylor to complete his third successive five-wicket return and then went on to dismiss James Fuller, Craig Miles and Roderick to complete a spell of four wickets for eight runs in 3.3 overs.
Michael Clarke: Australia skipper says farewell in Sydney Australia captain Michael Clarke has promised to do everything he can to win the Ashes series in England this summer.
Clarke admitted his side were the underdogs at a ceremony ahead of the squad’s departure from Sydney airport, but is ready to battle hard to bring the coveted urn back home.
“England have a lot of experience.
A lot of the guys have been involved in Ashes series before and they’re playing some really good cricket,” he said.
“Our recent series in India wasn’t nearly as good as we would have liked so I accept that we are the underdogs but we’ll be doing everything in our power to have success.
“Our goal is to win the series, we know it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to have a red-hot crack at hopefully winning the Ashes for the Australian people.” Australia, who lost the last Ashes series 3-1, were hammered 4-0 by India and Clarke admits they need to improve.
“The batters know we didn’t perform as well as we needed, we didn’t make enough runs and we are certainly accountable for our performances,” he said.
“We know that if we can bat well as a unit, that will give our young, talented fast bowlers every opportunity to take 20 wickets.”
Danny Cipriani: Sale fly-half says he is ready to grow up Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani believes he is finally ready to take responsibility and fulfil his potential after a difficult year which culminated in him being hit by a bus.
The 25-year-old, who was once rated as the brightest prospect in the English game, was treated for concussion after being struck on a night out with his Sale team-mates in Leeds last month.
But he says that night was one of a number of events – including the death of his friend Tom Maynard, the Surrey cricketer – which have shaken him into seeing his life in a new light.
Cipriani said: “It is frustrating that I’m not doing what I should be doing but I know on my day that is what people have said.
And as much as I have wanted to blame other people, it is me, isn’t it? I’m just glad I’ve realised this now.
“It is the first time I’ve reflected on that.
It is mixed emotions of frustration, everything.
“As a kid I was always selected, I was always top dog, I was the guy who had to get the runs, take the wickets, score the goals.
In rugby, people look to me too.
I’m just so glad that I’m 25 not 35.” He added: “I’m just used to being spoilt and that being the way it is, it has always been my life and I do have to grow up and be a better person in that way.
“Maybe I could have realised this a year ago but maybe I was too stubborn to actually wake up and smell the coffee.
But through a course of events I have been made to do that.
“I don’t want to be as dramatic as saying being hit by a bus was a life-changing scenario, because even before the bus I had been making a few changes in my life but it has given me an extra impetus and it gives you a new sense of life.”