COUNTY CRICKET Middlesex CCC v Lancashire CCC: Jimmy Anderson displays his quality at Lord’s
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Middlesex CCC hosted Lancashire CCC on day one of the first County Championship match at Lord’s this summer. Read on for Layth Yousif’s afternoon session report with the homes side on 175-3 at tea.
The mind wandered as you made the way past the emblem of the three seaxes indented on the tiles at the well-ordered St John’s Wood tube.
Middlesex were hosting visitors Lancashire at the home of cricket on day one of their County Championship clash in NW8 with a moveable feast of cricketers awaiting for your delight, even in Division Two – especially in Division Two.
Anderson, Onions, Footit and Bailey may sound like a provincial firm of unprepossessing solicitors but there was nothing dull about relishing the chance to watch messrs, Jimmy, Graham, Mark and Tom in action for the Red Rose.
With an uncontested toss resulting in the Old Trafford outfit battling first the chance to savour a fit again Toby Roland-Jones, Steven Finn, James Harris and the wily Tim Murtagh was postponed for another day.
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So, as you made you way up the elegant escalator and into the light and along the Wellington Road stepping up your pace, racing the clock to see the first ball of 2019 bowled at Lord’s, glorious Lord’s you hoped, no longed for the remarkable – and let it be said, legendary - Jimmy to roll back the clock.
Anderson didn’t disappoint.
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The scowl. The hunched shoulders. The air of perpetual grievance.
His disdain of batsmen who played and missed off his bowling was a delight to watch, never mind his utter annoyance at inside edges - which lent him the air of a man who had forgotten to put his bins out after a Bank Holiday weekend.
It was wonderful to study Anderson’s technique at close quarters even after more than 15 years of watching him play cricket in the flesh.
His rhythm and pace. His shielding of the ball with his left hand until the last split second before release. His sublime, whippy away swing.
His figures by the end of the afternoon session bore witness to his craft: 14-4-30-1.
And he will still tell you he should have hade more wickets and conceded fewer runs.
You could tell that by the way he thrust his sweater into the umpire’s hand without deigning to look at the official after discarding his top on a sunny day, very much in the way a millionaire would hand a harassed waiter an empty glass at a private function.
Anderson, the old warhorse, steamed in with the evocative terracotta pastels of the evocative Edwardian pavilion behind him to end the morning with figures of 9-2-24-1 including snaffling the wicket of talented opener Sam Robson.
He was ably bolstered by Onions who ended the morning with a 10-2-32-0 with Steve Eskinazi 38* and Nick Gubbins 43* with Middlesex on 84-1 after 31 overs.
The score moved on to 175-3 at tea with the fluent Eskinazi finally falling for a creditable 75 off 158 balls after being caught by Guest off the bowling of Bailey (16-3-41-2) who toiled hard for his brace of wickets in the afternoon spring sunshine in north west London.
Prior to that Bailey had Gubbins leg before for 55 off a redoubtable 139 deliveries after a partnership of 112 with Eskinazi, before Dawid Malan 18* at tea with Max Holden a sprghtly 19* off 26 balls steadied Middlesex at tea.