CricInfo Championship: Lancashire v Leicestershire at Manchester, 6-9 Jun 2001
Andy Wilson

Lancashire 1st innings: Lunch - Day 3,
Lancashire 2nd innings: Day Four: Tea,
Leicestershire 2nd innings: Tea - Day 3, Stumps - Day 3,
Live Reports from previous days


LANCASHIRE MOVE TOWARDS VICTORY

Muttiah Muralitharan completed his best figures of the season as Lancashire closed in on a second consecutive Championship victory against Leicestershire at Old Trafford.

Muralitharan took the last three Leicestershire wickets to end with six for 74 as the visitors, 208 for six overnight, were all out for 251.

That left Lancashire needing 162 for victory off a minimum of 46 overs, and by tea they had reached 52 for one.

Mark Chilton was the man out, bowled by a yorker from James Ormond with the score on 37. But Mike Atherton was in good touch, moving to 26 including a top-edged six over the wicket keeper off Ormond, and John Crawley avoided a king pair after going for a golden duck in the first innings.

Both teams were frustrated by morning rain, which prevented any rain before lunch.

But when play did begin it took Lancashire only five balls to break Leicestershire's stubborn sixth-wicket stand.

Jon Dakin punched an offside boundary off Peter Martin but then lost his off stump to a superb delivery, giving the Lancashire seamer his fourth wicket of the innings.

Then Murali took over, with Carl Crowe snapped up by Atherton at backward short leg.

Darren Maddy, who had batted 202 minutes for an unbeaten 57 in the first innings, continued to resist but his vigil was finally ended by the Atherton-Muralitharan combination after he made 40 in two-and-a-half hours.

Malcolm joined Ormond to frustrate Lancashire for a further four overs, with the former England paceman driving Martin for one glorious boundary. But Muralitharan bowled Ormond for 20 to round off the innings, completing impressive figures of 40-17-74-6, with Martin ending with 27-9-64-4.



DAKIN SHINES FOR LEICESTERSHIRE

Jon Dakin was Leicestershire's all-round star on a third day of twists and turns at Old Trafford.

The 28-year-old all-rounder took season's best figures of four for 53 as Lancashire slumped from 264 for five to 292 all out, and a first innings lead of only 90.

Then, after Muttiah Muralitharan and Peter Martin had each taken three wickets to reduce Leicestershire to 156 for six in their second innings, Dakin joined the patient Darren Maddy to hit 31 in an unbroken seventh- wicket stand of 52 which gives them a lead of 118 going into the last day.

The day had started with Neil Fairbrother completing his second century of the season and his third in as many games against Leicestershire.

He reached three figures off 161 balls with a six and 13 fours, the last a square cut off Dakin. But Fairbrother lost his off stump to Dakin's next ball and although Warren Hegg, who had shared a sixth-wicket stand of 85, also completed an 80-ball half-century, Dakin's spell dragged the visitors back into the match.

Muralitharan then undermined that work by sending back both Leicester openers before they had wiped off the deficit, bowling Trevor Ward and trapping Iain Sutcliffe lbw to leave them 61 for two.

Ben Smith and Daniel Marsh steadied the ship with a third-wicket stand of 65 but then Smith went lbw to Murali and Martin bowled a super spell from the Warwick Road End to put Leicester on the back foot again. He had Marsh caught at cover, Vince Wells lbw and Neil Burns caught behind.

But Maddy, who had batted 202 minutes for an unbeaten 57 in the first innings, grafted on and Dakin then collected three consecutive boundaries off Andy Flintoff to revive Leicestershire's hopes of completing a Championship double over their hosts.



LEICESTERSHIRE CREEP PAST LANCASHIRE TOTAL

Jon Dakin grabbed four wickets to hit back for Leicestershire after Neil Fairbrother had completed his second century of the season at Old Trafford today.

Fairbrother, 70 not out overnight, moved to his 44th Lancashire hundred from 161 balls, including 13 fours and a six, and sharing a sixth wicket stand of 85 with Warren Hegg. But the ball after reaching three figures, the 37-year-old was bowled by Dakin.

And the tall Leicester all-rounder then fired out Hegg, Glen Chapple and Peter Martin in a spell of four for 29 in nine overs as Lancashire lost their last five wickets for 28.

That left them with a first innings lead of 90, and by tea Leicestershire had reached 105 for two to nudge 15 runs ahead. Muttiah Muralitharan sent back the openers Trevor Ward and Iain Sutcliffe, but Daniel Marsh joined Ben Smith in an unbroken third wicket stand of 44.

Lancashire had resumed on 191 for five, still 11 behind, but they steamed ahead by taking 13 runs from a wayward first over from Devon Malcolm.

Fairbrother and Hegg continued to score quickly until Dakin made the crucial breakthrough.

Later in the same over Hegg, fresh from his match-winning century at Northampton last weekend, reached another 50 from 80 balls with eight fours.

But he then sliced a short ball to Darren Maddy at backward point, one of several poor shots which left Lancashire short of a third batting bonus point.



WICKETS TUMBLE AFTER FAIRBROTHER HITS CENTURY

Jon Dakin grabbed four wickets to hit back for Leicestershire after Neil Fairbrother had completed his second century of the season at Old Trafford.

Fairbrother, 70 not out overnight, moved to his 44th Lancashire hundred from 161 balls, including 13 fours and a six, and sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 85 with Warren Hegg. But the ball after reaching three figures, the 37-year-old was bowled by Dakin.

And the tall Leicestershire all-rounder then fired out Hegg, Glen Chapple and Peter Martin in a spell of four for 29 in nine overs as Lancashire lost their last five wickets for 28.

That left them with a first innings lead of 90, and Leicestershire openers Trevor Ward and Iain Sutcliffe chipped eight runs off it by lunch.

Lancashire had resumed on 191 for five, still 11 behind, but they steamed ahead by taking 13 runs from a wayward first over from Devon Malcolm.

Fairbrother and Hegg continued to score quickly until Dakin made the crucial breakthrough.

Later in the same over Hegg, fresh from his match-winning century at Northampton last weekend, reached another 50 from 80 balls with eight fours.

But he then sliced a short ball to Darren Maddy at backward point, one of several poor shots which left Lancashire short of a third batting bonus point.

Dakin ended with four for 53, his best figures of the season, with Daniel Marsh claiming the last wicket of Muttiah Muralitharan to complete figures of two for 37 in 19.2 overs.

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Date-stamped : 09 Jun2001 - 22:31