Lancashire match finely balanced

Chapple - blasting back
Chapple - blasting back
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Gloucestershire pace prospect Craig Miles claimed five for 61 as Lancashire were bowled out for 275 on a compelling first day of the LV= County Championship match at Bristol.

The 20-year-old seamer took his wicket tally in the competition this season to 29 and received good support from Matt Taylor, who took three for 67, after the hosts had won the toss in sunny conditions.

Despite half-centuries from Karl Brown and Steven Croft, Lancashire were 190 for seven at one stage before useful late order contributions from Jordan Clark, Tom Bailey and coach Glenn Chapple, who blasted 29 not out from 13 balls to ensure a second batting point.

Gloucestershire suffered a blow when wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick had to be taken to hospital for X-rays on a damaged hand, with Geraint Jones taking over the gloves in the afternoon session.

By the close the home side had slipped to 15 for two from 10 overs as Lancashire, who opted to go into the game without a specialist spinner, preferring to give the evergreen Chapple a first outing of the summer, edged the day.

Miles and Taylor set the tone for a disciplined Gloucestershire bowling effort, both conceding only six runs from six-over spells with the new ball, a period that saw Paul Horton caught at gully off Miles for four.

Alviro Petersen helped Brown add 45 before falling lbw for 20, advancing down the pitch to try and clip Taylor through the leg side.

Ashwell Prince quickly followed, bowled by Miles for a single and at lunch Lancashire were 65 for three from 31 overs.

Opener Brown moved to a watchful half-century off 99 balls, with nine fours, before, he also had his stumps disturbed by Miles, playing off the back foot, to depart for 57.

Alex Davies was leg before to a full ball from Taylor for 11 and James Faulkner fell to a poor shot for nine, caught behind chasing a wide one from Miles.

Croft produced some of the best batting of the day, easing to a half-century off 68 balls and looking in little trouble until pinned lbw on the back foot by Miles for 65.

Clark and Bailey produced a useful eighth-wicket stand of 49 after tea, looking set to take Lancashire through to the new ball until Benny Howell struck twice in the same over.

The medium-pacer had Clark caught behind for 35 and then induced a poor shot from Kyle Jarvis, who miscued a catch to cover and departed for a duck.

Out stepped Chapple to face the first over with the second new ball. The 41-year-old took three boundaries off it to dent Miles’ figures and bring up the 250.

Bailey was bowled by Taylor for 30 to end the innings, having made a valuable contribution, and Gloucestershire were left with a tricky period to negotiate before stumps.

They lost both openers, Chris Dent, caught behind off Jarvis for two pushing forward defensively, and Will Tavare lbw to Bailey for four.

Lancashire cricket director and head coach Ashley Giles praised Chapple for his contribution and said: “Overall, we are pretty happy, but you always want more runs. The wicket has a little bit in it, but I didn’t think it was as bad as a score of 275 suggested.

“If we can bowl well in the morning we will put Gloucestershire under pressure. We have gone in without a spinner because of the nature of the pitch. We picked one at Leicester and he ended up bowling one over.

“We also wanted to get Glen Chapple back into cricket. He is best when fresh and to come out of semi-retirement to bat as he did says everything about him.”

Gloucestershire five-wicket hero Miles was pleased with his side’s efforts, saying: “I am trying to keep things simpler this season by keeping the ball in good areas and maintaining pressure on the batsmen.

“I felt we did that as a bowling unit today. There was some help from the pitch with the new ball, but after that we had to work hard for our wickets.

“Lancashire are an attacking side and we knew that if we could dry up the runs and be patient we would get our rewards.”