LANCASHIRE’S over-reliance on their two overseas batsmen was all too evident as they slipped from 205 for two to 266 all out against Durham yesterday.
With Durham closing the day on 16 without loss, Lancashire are 88 behind in this LV= County Championship Division One clash, despite the best efforts of Ashwell Prince and Usman Khawaja.
The Red Rose were undone partly by Paul Coughlin (right), the rookie playing only because of injuries to four bowlers. Having clubbed 85 runs, he then chimed in with three quick wickets either side of tea.
Two of his victims were Test batsmen in the shape of Prince and Khawaja, which helped undo the visitors.
Back on the ground where he scored nought and 21 last summer in the last of his nine Tests for Australia, Khawaja made 86 before falling to a good low catch by Michael Richardson at gully.
That ended a third-wicket stand of 111 with Prince, who edged a drive to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard after making 49.
Inbetween Steven Croft edged to first slip off Coughlin, who bowled brisk seamers into a stiff breeze. There were also three wickets each for Ben Stokes and the Australian, John Hastings, who claimed the last two from skied pulls.
Coughlin, very much the man of the moment, started the day by extending his stand with Phil Mustard to 150. They needed only three balls to pick up the two runs they required to break the county’s ninth-wicket partnership record of 127.
Resuming on 71, Coughlin struggled to locate the middle of the bat. A thick edge for three off Tom Smith took him to 80 but he departed for 85 when he pushed forward to a ball from Smith which left him to trim the off stump. Having shown remarkable patience in scoring 70 off 167 balls Mustard then went down the pitch to the next one, swung wildly across the line and edged to Jos Buttler, leaving Kyle Hogg with six for 70.
Even while Durham were batting in the morning it was evident that the pitch had flattened and for Lancashire to subside as they did after Khawaja’s exit was inexcusable.
The openers had looked comfortable and Paul Horton was clearly aggrieved to be adjudged lbw by umpire Martin Bodenham when trying to work Chris Rushworth through mid-wicket.
Alex Davies timed his drives sweetly in making 45, but like many of those below him he was guilty of careless driving when he sliced Stokes to gully.
Stokes would not have impressed watching national selector James Whitaker in taking one for 65 in his first eight overs. He improved to finish with three for 97 in 18, but was guilty of eight no balls.