James Anderson’s five-wicket hauls in each innings at Wantage Road inspired Lancashire to their first County Championship win of 2014 against Northamptonshire, in what was Glen Chapple’s debut as the club’s new head coach.
The game was perfectly poised on the final morning with the home side starting on 145-5, requiring another 95 runs for victory. Opener, James Middlebrook, was still at the crease and he remained Northamptonshire’s greatest hope of securing 14 points.
But he gradually started to run out of batting partners as the Lancashire seamers made breakthroughs in the morning session. Anderson began proceedings by dismissing Ben Duckett (26) and Steven Crook (1).
The former was caught and bowled after getting a leading edge, which flew straight back in the direction of the bowler.
Middlebrook now had the incentive to start scoring more rapidly with the tail alongside him. An attempted drive was his downfall when his edge carried to Ashwell Prince at gully.
His removal for 87 - which also signalled despair for Northants - came courtesy of Chapple, who was playing his first match since inheriting head coach duties from England-bound, Peter Moores. His new job was made a lot easier with help from a resurgent Jimmy Anderson.
The England seamer showed positive signs that he is warming up nicely for this summer’s visits of Sri Lanka and India respectively, by finishing with 5-41 on day four to provide him with match figures of 10-89.
Kabir Ali then mopped up the remaining wickets of Olly Stone and Muhammad Azharullah to guarantee a 60-run victory for Lancashire - a result that had seemed improbable following their opening innings batting collapse.
Chapple (26) and Anderson (28) were charged with bailing out their batsmen on day one after the hosts had won the toss and elected to field. The two England-capped players helped the visitors limp up to 119, which would leave them with a first innings deficit of 45. But a resurgent second innings with both bat and ball helped provide an opening win of 2014.
Anderson - who only managed to take 14 wickets during last winter’s Ashes series - is seemingly preparing brilliantly for England’s five-day contests at home to Sri Lanka and India this summer, which will please his former county coach, Moores.
Striving to become his country’s most successful strike bowler in Test history, the 31-year-old only needs 41 more wickets to surpass Ian Botham - who dismissed 383 opponents in the traditional format of the game.
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