Aussie Faulkner makes instant impact

Faulkner - maiden ton for Lancashire
Faulkner - maiden ton for Lancashire
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James Faulkner, the Australian all-rounder who has built a world-wide reputation as a one-day finisher, showed he can also play the longer game on Tuesday.

Faulkner hit his maiden first-class century on his LV= County Championship debut for Lancashire cricket team, after the Division Two leaders had slumped to 107 for six in reply to second-placed Surrey’s formidable first innings total of 448.

Faulkner struck a magnificent 121 off 152 balls with 15 fours and was joined in a seventh-wicket partnership of 183 in 47 overs by Jordan Clark as Lancashire finished the third day on 342 for eight.

It was Surrey Schools’ Day at the Kia Oval and thousands of children screamed their delight at the fall of every wicket when Surrey seamers Tom Curran, Matt Dunn and Stuart Meaker were tearing into the Lancashire batting.

Curran struck first when he had Karl Brown caught at second slip and in the next over Dunn had Paul Horton caught behind to make it nine for two.

Alviro Petersen and former South Africa batsmen Ashwell Prince held up Surrey for a while with a third wicket stand of 46 but then Curran claimed the prized wicket of Prince, who went into this match with 771 runs from nine innings, leg before wicket for 20.

Left arm spinner Zafar Ansari chipped in with the wicket of Steven Croft, caught at mid-off, and Meaker had Petersen, who had played well for 46, and Alex Davies caught behind in successive overs.

Lancashire were 192 runs away from avoiding the follow-on with only four wickets left but Faulkner did not look in the least concerned as he scored his first half-century off 61 balls while Clark, a formidable strokemaker himself who once hit six sixes in a second XI game, provided admirable support.

Most of the schoolchildren had gone home when the duo were playing their shots in the evening sunshine. Faulkner reached his century off 141 balls and got a pat on the back from Kevin Pietersen, while Clark made 63 off 142 balls - with four fours and two sixes - before he was bowled by Dunn.

Dunn also bowled Faulkner but not before he had saved the follow-on - and probably the game for the visitors.

Earlier, Surrey, 435 for eight overnight, had lost their last two wickets for 13.

Kyle Jarvis bowled Meaker with the first ball of the day and Tom Bailey had Dunn caught behind, leaving former Essex and England Lions wicketkeeper Ben Foakes unbeaten on 63 on his Surrey debut.

Faulkner said: “I suppose it (a first-class century) has been a monkey on my back for a little while. I seem to work my way up the batting order in most teams.

“It’s obviously nice to start well and contribute to a new team whether it’s t20 cricket, one-day cricket, four-day cricket but, having said that there’s so much cricket remaining.

“My focus wasn’t on my first game for Lancashire. It’s on every game I play and this was another opportunity to play red-ball cricket which I haven’t had much in the past couple of years.”