With an illustrious career spanning over 25 years, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is no stranger to entering his name into the record books.
On the second day of Lancashire’s County Championship clash with Surrey, he made another piece of history, becoming the oldest player to hit a first-class century since Graham Gooch in 1996.
Aged 42 years and 240 days, Lancashire have brought Chanderpaul in for his vast experience and enduring quality. Over the course of the first two days at The Oval, Chanderpaul proved that he is still every bit as good as he has always been.
Having played 358 first-class matches in his career, there’s very few scenarios that the left-hander hasn’t faced. Therefore, when Lancashire found themselves struggling badly at 67-5 on Friday morning, Chanderpaul was the perfect man to have at the crease.
The Lancashire fightback from that position has been quite remarkable, with the West Indian legend the glue that has held it all together. First, he steadied the ship with Ryan McLaren, as the pair put on a half century stand for the sixth wicket yesterday afternoon.
But that was nothing compared to what would follow for the seventh. Jordan Clark grabbed the headlines on Day One, and deservedly so, as he notched a maiden first-class century. At the close of the first day, Lancashire had battled back to 294-6, with Clark on 108* and Chanderpaul patiently waiting on 85*.
His moment in the spotlight would come on Saturday morning, as he brought up his 74th first-class century. This is his second spell with Lancashire, and he was reminding supporters of his class.
While his style of batting may be unorthodox, and his strike rate far from rapid, Chanderpaul has a record up there with the greats of the game. Chanderpaul has 30 Test Match centuries to his name from 164 Tests, with an average of 51.37.
One can only imagine the benefit of having someone like Chanderpaul around the dressing room for some of Lancashire’s young stars.
Clark certainly seemed to be enjoying his time in the middle with the West Indian, as the seventh wicket stand at The Oval reached a remarkable 243.
It was broken by another veteran, as 39-year-old Gareth Batty removed Clark for 140. From 67-5, Lancashire had reached 365-7 and were frustrating a Surrey side looking to underline their title ambitions.
Chanderpaul wouldn’t stop there, forging another useful partnership of 42 with Stephen Parry, as the pair pushed the Red Rose beyond the 400 mark.
He wasn’t the only one enjoying a positive day, as Mark Footitt backed up his 6-14 against Warwickshire last week with another five-wicket haul, as he returned to remove Parry and then Kyle Jarvis in three balls.
But Surrey’s frustration wouldn’t end quickly, as Chanderpaul found another willing and able partner in number 11 Simon Kerrigan. The pair put on 63 for the final wicket before Chanderpaul’s mammoth knock was brought to an end by Batty.
He finished on 182 from 328 balls and had seen Lancashire to a superb first innings total of 470. After their first morning struggles, Glen Chapple’s side couldn’t have hoped for a better recovery.
But it was certainly not a day, or a pitch, for the bowlers. Lancashire had surprised many yesterday by naming two spinners, and just one frontline seamer, in their side.
And Surrey made a comfortable start to their reply, with a 67-run stand for the opening wicket. Mark Stoneman looked set to repeat his form of last week, but fell for 40 as Clark continued his excellent match by picking up the wicket.
Stoneman’s opening partner Rory Burns, and Scott Borthwick looked like guiding Surrey through to the close with ease. But there was to be a final sting in the tail, as Jarvis removed Borthwick with the final ball of the day.
Surrey closed on 112-2, with Burns unbeaten on 48, and will set about eradicating Lancashire’s lead in the morning.