Result: Lancashire 394 (Petersen 105; Meaker 4-78) beat Surrey 191 & 107 (Curran 53; Jarvis 5-49) by an innings and 96 runs, at Emirates Old Trafford
Heading into the third day at Old Trafford, Surrey were left facing a mountain to climb if they had any hope of avoiding defeat. But Lancashire ensured they had no chance of scaling such heights as they brought an avalanche down on the visitors and roared to the top of the Division One table.
Surrey collapsed to 107 all out in their second innings, as the rampant Red Rose sealed victory by an innings and 96 runs before tea on the third day.
After Alviro Petersen’s century on the second day left Surrey chasing the game, seamer Kyle Jarvis picked up where he left off in the first innings, acting as tormentor in chief to Surrey’s ailing batsmen.
The Zimbabwean finished with career-best match figures of 11-119 after clinching five wickets in the second innings. It was a performance of true class, spearheading a Lancashire attack that continues to shock opposition this season.
Surrey’s chase was hampered by the fact that opener Rory Burns, who had posted 92 in the first innings, was unable to bat after taking a blow to the head on day two. The odd decision was made to open with regular number eight Tom Curran, who remarkably proved the only resistance to Lancashire’s victory charge.
Curran posted an impressive 53 before becoming the final wicket to fall. His opening partner Arun Harinath was the only other batsman to make it to double figures as Surrey folded rather meekly. Having won the toss on the first morning, the game had hardly progressed as they envisaged.
But all credit must go to Lancashire. Their bowling display on the first morning, reducing Surrey to 76-5 at lunch, set up the victory. A first innings total of 191 never looked like being enough and the Red Rose batsmen ensured it wouldn’t be.
Petersen’s century was a game-changer, but he found support from Tom Smith who made 50 on his Championship return after a year-long injury, and skipper Steven Croft, with whom he shared a century stand.
Even Lancashire’s last pair made Surrey toil. At the start of day three, Surrey were trailing by 151 and needed just one wicket to get batting. But Jarvis and Simon Kerrigan put on 63 for the final wicket, taking the total to 394 and giving Lancashire a first innings lead of 203.
It knocked out whatever stuffing was left in Surrey and the relentless bowling attack wrapped up the job for Ashley Giles’ side. Tom Bailey and Neil Wagner struck early doors, the latter removing the influential Kumar Sangakkara.
They then enjoyed a 21-ball spell where four wickets fell for just five runs. The writing was on the wall for Surrey and so it proved.
Lancashire take 23 points from the match, with Surrey heading south with just three. It was enough to see the Red Rose jump to the top of the table, 19 points above rivals and defending champions Yorkshire ahead of the much-anticipated Roses clash next week.
Giles’ men continue to surprise on their return to Division One. It’s the first time they have won the first three games of the season at Old Trafford since 1952.
Tipped for a relegation battle, few would have predicted Lancashire would head into the Yorkshire clash ahead in the standings, and it’s testament to their superb performances that they do just that.