Rob Keogh took 9-52, Northamptonshire’s best bowling figures in 58 years before Ben Duckett’s 185 cemented the County’s position of dominance over Glamorgan after Day Two of their County Championship clash.
All of Keogh’s nine wickets came in the morning session as the hosts were shot out of 124, Keogh becoming only the seventh bowler in Northants’ first-class history to take nine in an innings, and the first since George Tribe in 1958.
Graeme White took the other wicket, after Keogh had claimed the first six, as the spinners enjoyed a used Wantage Road pitch that was offering plenty of assistance; Glamorgan’s Kiran Carlson having taken 5-28 on the opening day.
With a first innings lead of 149, Duckett then played a superb innings that took the game away from the Welsh visitors, racing to 50 in 30 balls and continuing to score at better than a run a ball throughout his innings as he went to a third Championship century of the season, having also scored 80 in the first innings.
He eventually fell having hit 25 fours and three sixes in his 159 ball knock, the pace of his innings allowing Northants to declare on 305-7, giving themselves two full days to bowl Glamorgan out and claim victory, with the target an unlikely 451.
Despite Duckett’s afternoon fireworks, it was hard to take the day away from Keogh, who had previously taken 36 wickets in 44 first class games, with a best of 3-35 before his magical morning.
The 24-year-old became the first man in Northants’ history to score a double century and take nine wickets in an innings for the county and afterwards commented,
“It’s been an interesting day, three was my best so wasn’t expecting that at all, but it’s spinning and 450 looks a long way away from here,” he said. “I did enjoy bowling out there, I’d like to take it with me wherever we can.
“I was the young debutant and saw a couple spin, always nice to see that as a spinner. I was saying in the changing room to Whitey [Graeme White] if he can get five we should be getting five, things went my way and I ended up getting nine.
“It’s been coming out really nice recently in white ball and red ball cricket – it’s just nice to get rewards!
“We were having a chat earlier, my previous [batting] best before my double hundred was 40 odd so to get a [career best] of 221 and then best wickets was three so to get nine is always nice to get a big one early.”
Keogh also praised the way Duckett came out and played in the second innings, the 21-year-old following up his first innings 80 with 185, scoring almost half of Northants’ tally of runs in the match, whilst looking at ease for most of his time at the crease when almost every other batsman has struggled.
Alex Wakely’s declaration came as a slight surprise with over two days still remaining, but after Glamorgan survived the three overs without score, Keogh believes the target of 451 will take some getting.
“He’s an unbelievable player of spin and he showed that today, he didn’t let the spinners settle at all, and when the seamers came on he made it look as flat as a pancake, he’s in the form of his life and hopefully that pitch today sets him up for a nice little trip to Bangladesh.
“We had a little look at the weather and there’s a bit around on Saturday afternoon so we thought we’d have a cheeky three overs at them tonight and you never know, we could have snuck one there and put the pressure right on them but 450 behind is a lot of runs on this wicket.”