Lancashire v Essex: Chopra chases early wickets
PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 September 2017
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Varun Chopra is hoping Essex can wrap up Lancashire’s innings quickly on the third day of their Specsavers County Championship clash at Old Trafford.
Stand-in skipper Chopra saw his bowlers make early inroads into the home side’s line-up after deciding to bowl first, before Haseeb Hameed led a Lancashire fightback to 222-8 at the close on Wednesday.
And Chopra is looking for the leaders to make up for lost time against their nearest rivals after seeing the first day washed out without a ball being bowled.
He said: “It was a fairly easy decision with the state of the league and the conditions to have a bowl first.
“The guys started really well, they were about 100-5 so it would have been nice to be batting but the wicket just eased a little bit and a couple of their guys got stuck in and had a few partnerships at the end.
“We want to try and get our three bowling points first thing by bowling them out. Then with the bat to get close to them, get past them and get our batting points. The forecast isn’t great but we went out to win, we’ve won in two and three days this year. Results are still possible.”
Jamie Porter struck with the third ball of the match to dismiss Alex Davies and finished with four scalps, while debutant Sam Cook bagged a brace and there was a wicket apiece for Paul Walter and Simon Harmer.
But Hameed carried his bat to finish unbeaten on 85, from 233 balls, and Chopra added: “I’m delighted for Sam Cook, it was a really good start from him on debut. No nerves, his first ball was right on the money. He probably deserved a few more wickets to be honest.
“Haseeb Hameed played well. Conditions at the start weren’t easy. He was patient as always and picked us off a bit at the back end. He stuck to his plans well. Lancashire sides always do this to be honest. I’ve played against them many times over the years and they are a gritty bunch who dig in.”
Lancashire assistant coach Mark Chilton was pleased to see his side dig themselves out of a hole, having been 92-6 at one point.
He added: “It was a good fightback. It was an obvious bowl first with the wicket having been undercover for a few days and the cloud cover.
“We knew it would be challenging up front, but to still be batting at the end of the day proves we have done pretty well for ourselves.
“We have spoken about how to approach games in conditions like this. We want players to have confidence to play their way. We saw Haseeb dig in and other players take the ball on and we saw some important partnerships.
“The way we are now, we are pretty happy with things. t is great to see Haseeb still batting. Clearly you can see more confidence in his play and his body language. That comes with runs. Confidence grows as your innings progresses and you become more fluent.
“When you have not had a run of scores, your confidence gets challenged, that’s the nature of the game we are in.
“Haseeb showed at Hampshire he was defensively and technically in good shape. To absorb the pressure and movement early on, then bat the length of time he has shows his game is in good order.”