Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely said the umpires made the wrong call in not bringing the players off for bad light sooner as two late wickets in gloomy conditions gave Lancashire the edge on a rain disrupted opening day at Wantage Road.
After half centuries from Wakely and Stephen Peters, Northants were 197/4 as the light closed in, the umpires keeping allow play to continue just long enough for Kyle Jarvis to dismiss Rob Keogh and Josh Cobb in successive deliveries, before coming off for bad light just six balls later.
Wakely praised Peters’ innings, scoring a second consecutive fifty with his 58, but admitted he wants the top order to make the bit hundreds, to allow Northants powerful middle and lower order to come in without the pressure of having to rescue the innings.
“I was disappointed with that to be honest,” he said on the decision to play on in the deteriorating light. “I think you often see that, after one wicket the umpires are scared to go off and it so often happens you lose another one and then they come off.
“You could see it happening, it was so dark out there, I personally thought it was a bit unfair but got to do what the umpires say, the rules changed so we don’t get the decision anymore it just happens and on this occasion I think they got it wrong.”
“Pedro [Peters] was striking the ball beautifully, as he has been all season, I know he’ll be frustrated he hasn’t gone on and got those big scores but they came back and regrouped and were a different side when they came out after lunch.
“We want our top order to try and get the big hundreds we’re looking for, unfortunately we’re not getting there, but if we’re going to have the likes of Rossington, Willey and Keogh coming in playing their shots we’re going to be in a great position, just unfortunately at the moment they’re coming in under pressure.”
Wakely’s 59 was his first 50+ since the game against Kent in September 2013 after he missed the entire 2014 season with a ruptured Achilles, and despite admitting he was frustrated not to be able to kick on and make a century, he is confident in his current form.
“My opinion on it has sort of changed, I’ve felt very good all season, I’ve felt in a good space and very relaxed, I’ve been hitting the ball off the middle of the bat.
“Bit frustrated it’s the same old story, I haven’t been going on but I haven’t been thinking about it, if I keep batting the way I am I’m going to get big runs, I’m not trying to analyse my game too much, just trying to see ball hit ball and it’s working quite well so far.
“Siddle bowled quite a good spell there, four or five overs which was quite tough, it’s very frustrating when you lose those battles and get out, you want to come through the other side unfortunate today it wasn’t to be, it’s not put us in a sticky position but the game could go either way, we need to come back tomorrow and try and get as many as we can.”
After winning the toss and choosing to bowl first, Lancashire bowled too short in the opening session, with too many loose deliveries allowing Northants to reach 115/1 at tea, 88 of which came in either boundaries or threes.
Head coach Ashley Giles admitted his side had been ‘sloppy’ in the first session but praised the way they came back after tea, and said he had simply told his side to relax in the evening session.
“I thought we were a little bit sloppy up front, almost as though we’d taken our time to get into the game with the late start and everything happening in a bit of a hurry after lunch,” he admitted.
“Thought we could have bowled a little bit better in bits of that first session however second session I thought we bowled beautifully to pick up six for 200 odd we’re in a good spot.
“It was more a message to just relax [at tea] I know I’ve said that a lot in the press, can’t expect sides to roll over and to take five for 50 every match, sides are going to fight and they fought.
“We bowled some bad balls and they hit them for four, we’ve got to concentrate on our own skill and putting the ball in the right area and putting them under pressure, and I thought in the second session we did that really well.”
“It’s looks a pretty good wicket, the sort of wicket where if you get the ball consistently in the right area, you can get some joy as a bowler but if you’re off slightly you’re going to get punished, quick outfield, small boundary on one side you can score quickly.
“If we do that, try and bowl them out quite quickly and then bat big in our first innings, that’s always the plan, it sounds simple but that’s got to be the way we’ve got to look to do.”