Lancashire captain remains unbeaten on 158 after rescuing side from top-order wobble
Lancashire 339 for 5 (Vilas 158*, Davies 61, Jones 58) lead Sussex 301 (Haines 155, Robinson 59, Bailey 4-48) by 38 runs
Counties nowadays do plenty of research before they invest in overseas players. There is little doubt Lancashire had a good idea what they were getting when they signed Dane Vilas in advance of the 2017 season. Yet even the most painstaking official could scarcely fail to have been surprised by Vilas’s impact on life at Emirates Old Trafford. Time and then time again he has changed games. His influence as captain on the dressing room is deep and abiding. And today, as spring’s impertinent ambition transformed the so recently skeletal trees around this most urban of grounds, Lancashire’s captain performed his familiar trick once more.
There are occasions when too much importance is attached to sportsmen’s body language. But as Vilas marched off the ground with an unbeaten 158 to his name and Sussex’s players dragged themselves back to their dressing room after they had suffered the sort of mauling handed out by an irritable lion, it was plain where the balance of this game lay. Although only 64 of his runs had come in boundaries, Vilas had harried Ben Brown’s bowlers at every opportunity, constantly exhorting his partners, Alex Davies, Rob Jones and Luke Wood to sprint harder and increase the pressure on a young attack.
But admirable avarice has been one of Vilas’s trademarks at Lancashire and it has only been satisfied because the captain takes pride in his fitness. During the course of his century against Sussex he passed 3000 runs in his 50th first-class match at an average exceeded by only three Lancashire batsmen at similar stages of their careers. Then there is the multi-faceted leadership; Vilas is not simply Lancashire’s skipper; he sets the standard and provides the example for others to follow. Rob Jones, with whom Vilas put on 125 for the fifth wicket against Sussex, is a far better player for having been encouraged to assess situations by his captain and then bat according to his findings.
This has been a match of dropped catches. Yet as Vilas took Lancashire into a 38-run first-innings lead late in the evening session, it became clear that the most significant spill will not be those that allowed Tom Haines to make 155 on the first day but the diving chance at slip that George Garton put down off Jack Carson’s off spin when Vilas was a mere 47. It would certainly have improved Carson’s day, albeit the young off-spinner at least claimed the final wicket to fall when Jones reverse-swept a full toss straight to Tom Clark at backward point and departed for 58.
By then, however, Vilas was in full flow. His unbroken stand of 82 with Luke Wood has set Lancashire up for further riches tomorrow and Sussex may well have a tricky task saving this game even though the pitch remains true and blameless. Yet none of these riches had appeared likely to come the home team’s way as they slipped to 41 for 3 just before lunch on what now seems so distant a session that it could have taken place on another day altogether.
To forget the morning’s play, though, would do little credit to Ollie Robinson, whose pace and accuracy with the new ball induced Keaton Jennings to edge to Aaron Thomason at fourth slip and Josh Bohannon to nick the ball to Ben Brown. When Steven Croft’s attempted pull off George Garton merely gloved another catch to Brown, Lancashire were 41 for 3 and the home coaches may have been reflecting sombrely on the fact that for something like an hour, 24 hours previously, their side was within two wickets of having their boots on Sussex’s neck.
Instead they watched a trifle nervously today as Davies pulled and punched his way to 61 and put on 91 with Vilas before the debutant left-arm seamer Sean Hunt brought one back off the seam to have him leg before wicket. Hunt bowled well on his first appearance and deserved his wicket but Sussex’s other bowlers faded in the face of Vilas’s calibrated attack. Brown’s attack is young and in time his players will learn much from days like today. Yet as the spring sun took command and the day deepened into afternoon, our attention shifted from callow bowlers trying to further their careers and focused instead on the iron will of a Lancashire batsmen intent on preventing them doing so.
“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring,” wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins and on afternoons like this it was easy to agree. Even photographers who had talked darkly of their chances of ending this game with a full complement of toes observed that the temperature had gone up a notch or two. So we took details of the snappers’ next of kin, loaded them up with Kendal Mint Cake and sent them out to sunbathe. Then Vilas punched another four through the covers and suddenly we again noticed the lack of a crowd and their warm salutes for one of Lancashire’s finest.
Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications
Recent Match Report – Kings vs Zalmi 24th Match 2020/21-2021
Peshawar’s bowlers restricted Karachi Kings to their lowest ever PSL total before Zazai made short work of it
Peshawar Zalmi 109 for 4 (Hazratullah Zazai 63, Imad Wasim 2-2) beat Karachi Kings 108 for 9 (Abbas Afridi 27*, Abrar 3-14, Wahab 3-34, Gul 2-13) by six wickets
Only Islamabad United have gunned down a target quicker, and even their ten-over chase against Quetta Gladiators earlier this week looked like it would be eclipsed comfortably. In the end, three late wickets slowed things down slightly, but it still meant Zalmi had coasted to the target with nine overs to spare. Karachi Kings’ poor run since the resumption of the league continues, but the damage this defeat will inflict might reflect just as heavily in the minds as it will in the run-rate column.
Zazai’s devastating debut
Zazai is set to become a T20 franchise darling over the years, but even so, the contempt with which he lay waste to experienced, wily Kings bowlers in his first PSL game was a sight to behold. Once Kamran Akmal was dismissed in the second over, Zazai decided he wouldn’t let it scupper plans to wrap up the game in a hurry, and Amir was the unfortunate recipient at the end of his first offensive.
The first six was a shade streaky, a top edge over third man, but there was nothing chancy about the three boundaries that followed in an over that leaked 21. It was followed up by an over from the other Aamer Yamin – which proved even costlier, two sixes and two fours from the Afghan seeing him hurtle along to a blitzkrieg half-century. The timing and power were both astonishing, a fearsome 97-metre swipe over square leg perhaps the shot of the night. The 50 would come in just 17 balls – a joint record – and by then, the match had long been over as a contest.
Abrar haunts his old franchise
When legspinner Abrar was first introduced to the PSL by Karachi Kings in 2017, he looked a proper mystery spin bowler, one who might go on to become a valuable asset for his franchise. Opportunities were hard to come by and he was let go after a couple of seasons, but making his debut for Peshawar Zalmi, he showed his old side what they missed. Coming in when Imad Wasim’s side were already hobbling after a difficult first ten overs, he kept the Kings on a leash in his first over, allowing just two runs.
The 22-year old burst to life in the one that followed, though. He broke the budding partnership with a carrom ball Najibullah Zadran ended up holing out to long-off, before one that drifted back in put paid to Yamin’s brief stint at the crease. With Wahab deciding to bowl him out consecutively, he would sign off by deceiving Waqas Maqsood with a googly, two balls after the batsman had smashed him for six. He would end his day with figures of 4-0-14-3, and they didn’t flatter him in the slightest.
Where they stand
Karachi Kings were top when the league resumed, but slipped to fifth, outside the qualification spots. Peshawar Zalmi moved up to 10 points alongside Lahore Qalandars, and into second place.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
Recent Match Report – Essex vs Sussex South Group 2021
Skipper slams 75 from 44 to help make short work of small chase
Sussex 130 for 3 (Wright 75) beat Essex 128 for 8 (Garton 3-31) by seven wickets
The Blast’s all-time leading run-scorer missed the opening two rounds after splitting the webbing in his hand while practising fielding on the eve of the competition. But he made up for lost time by bringing up his fifty in 33 deliveries as Sussex chased down Essex’s below-par 128 for eight with 36 balls to spare.
Wright looked at home right from the start, with boundaries from his second and third deliveries – two of eight fours.
Opening partner Phil Salt earned a life when he bludgeoned a full toss to mid-on, only to earn a reprieve for the umpire to judge the ball to have been above waist-height, much to Simon Harmer’s chagrin. Salt was run out for 13, after putting on 54 with Wright before Travis Head added 60 together with the skipper.
Wright continued to his 26th Blast half-century, going past 8000 T20 career runs, with a pair of straight sixes and another over cow corner. He departed with six still needed but Delray Rawlins clattered the winning runs over long-off soon after.
Wright’s day had started perfectly as he won the toss and stuck the hosts in – although Will Buttleman struck successive sixes in the fourth over. On a used hybrid pitch, scoring proved difficult for Essex with only Buttleman, Michael Pepper and Jimmy Neesham’s strike rates topping 100, for those who reached double figures.
The strain on scoring was exemplified by the last over of the Powerplay, which saw just one run, as Paul Walter struggled to lay a bat on Chris Jordan – the run rate throughout the innings hovering just below seven an over.
To add to the Eagles’ woes, wickets were a regular occurrence. Tom Westley and Buttleman fell in the Powerplay – the former picking out deep midwicket off George Garton and the latter slapping a Tymal Mills slower ball to cover.
Walter was stumped, Ryan ten Doeschate clubbed old pal Ravi Bopara to long off, Pepper – having scored 38 off 25 balls – drilled to extra cover, Harmer miscued to midwicket, Jack Plom skied to mid-off and Neesham was comprehensively bowled.
Garton ended up with 3 for 31, with Mills, Jordan and Bopara all going at under a run-a-ball.
Eng vs Ind Women’s Test
“Maybe in the coming years it might also lead to a World Test Championship [for women]. You never know.”
“I feel this Test match and even the pink-ball Test, which is in Australia in the coming months, it’s just the beginning of having a three-format bilateral series,” Raj, India’s Test and ODI captain, said on the eve of the one-off Test against England in Bristol. “It probably opens up the channel to have another format added in a bilateral series and that will clearly help the overall standard of women’s cricket.
“Also, the players – I mean, you ask any modern-day cricketer, they still want to play the longer format because they eventually know that the format tests the skill of a player.”
The last time India played two or more Tests in a year was in 2014, which was also the last time they appeared in the format. The Bristol Test, which marks their return to red-ball cricket after a break of 2401 days, carries four points for a win under the multi-format system for the tour, which also includes three ODIs and three T20Is.
A draw will fetch the teams two points apiece and one point will be awarded for a no-result. Wins in the white-ball games will be worth two points each. The Ashes, which has been the only occasion that has involved Test matches in women’s cricket since 2014, follows the same grading system.
“It’s good to have the Test match in a series,” Raj said. ‘We [already] had the one-dayers and the T20Is. Maybe in the coming years it might also lead to a World Test Championship [for women]. You never know. This is just the beginning. I hope we continue to have bilateral series where all three formats are there.”
The announcement of both the Test against England and the pink-ball game against Australia, scheduled for September-October, was an unexpected development in Indian women’s cricket. On the international circuit, the ODI World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, to be played in the T20 format, both scheduled for next year, and the 2023 T20 World Cup remain the focal points of India’s long-term preparations. In domestic cricket, no red-ball tournaments for women’s cricketers have been held in India since the 2017-2018 season.
“There were a few sessions that we tried to have in the whites so that the girls don’t get [intimidated] when they walk into the ground tomorrow because for most of them it’s their first time getting into the ground in the whites,” Raj said. “That is one thing [Powar] tried to get into the sessions. There were four-five sessions where we trained together as a team in the whites, so we get a feel of it in the nets sessions and it doesn’t feel alien for the girls when they get onto the ground.
“He also got the seniors to speak to the other players who are less experienced about the format about the last time we played a Test match, so there was a lot of communication with Jhulan talking to the fast bowlers and I’m talking to the batters. So, I think when you have this communication going, it sort of gets the team get collectively prepared for the Test match.”
“In terms of marketing the sport, I think it is great to have a Test match live on television because clearly, a lot of people will follow, now with the pandemic [on] and there’s partial restrictions everywhere [because of lockdowns], so a lot of people will be watching the game,” she said. “As far as the players are concerned, it is equally important [to play well in this Test match]. Seven years back, the scenario was very different for women’s cricket.
“Having said that, that team never really thought whether the match is [covered] live or not; it never really crosses a players mind as long as we get in there and we put forward our best performance. Whether it is covered live or not, that’s [not] the players’ lookout. We are there to get there and give our best standard, and if it’s covered live, nothing like it because that’s how the sport will grow being viable.”
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha
Recent Match Report – Kings vs Zalmi 24th Match 2020/21-2021
Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif says watching Kansas City Chiefs kept him ‘grounded’ while working pandemic front line
Man Utd star Paul Pogba could face punishment for potential COVID breach after France win
Motivated Cam Newton unfazed by New England Patriots’ decision to draft quarterback Mac Jones, ‘the right pick in my opinion’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's 2 Man Utd transfer dilemmas come to light during France vs Germany
Australia vs Jordan, Socceroos news, football, 2021, Trent Sainsbury, scores, results, video
Recent Match Report – Essex vs Sussex South Group 2021
Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow still on track for Week 1, hopes to reach ‘100%’ before training camp
Protester nearly crashes into fans in scary near miss before France vs Germany
Washington Nationals put Max Scherzer on IL with groin injury
NFL7 days ago
Saints’ Jameis Winston, Taysom Hill supporting each other but focused on winning job as QB competition looms
Soccer2 days ago
Liverpool's fatal transfer error that will make things difficult for Jurgen Klopp
NFL6 days ago
From Robert Saleh to DeMeco Ryans: What will the 49ers’ defense look like? – San Francisco 49ers Blog
Soccer4 days ago
Sky Sports presenter Jim White announces departure after 23 years 'with a heavy heart'
NFL7 hours ago
Minnesota Vikings bring back DT Sheldon Richardson
NBA6 days ago
LeBron, Kobe and other Lakers legends to wear multiple jersey numbers
NFL2 days ago
Stephon Gilmore’s contract status in spotlight at New England Patriots camp – New England Patriots Blog
Cricket5 days ago
IU vs LQ, PSL 2021 – Rashid Khan on cameo