Matt Parkinson Toils for Four-Wicket Haul
Leg-spin bowling, like radical socialism and Samuel Beckett’s novels, will always be regarded with suspicion by the English establishment. Matt Parkinson bowled 40 overs at Emirates Old Trafford on Thursday, and he walked away unscathed from the Brian Statham End on a pitch that provided him with some assistance but not extravagant charity.
Parkinson would have finished with more than the four wickets for 94 runs that the books will forever show against his name if he had a little more luck on a tense morning. More to the point, Lancashire could have taken wickets more quickly, allowing Dane Vilas’ batsmen to mount a run chase.
However, at 4.50 p.m., the players shook hands with Warwickshire on 239 for 6, a draw secured, and their position atop an intriguing Division One table maintained. Parkinson, of course, will sleep soundly, despite the fact that he may awaken with a stiff shoulder and the knowledge that he could have done more to help his side. But it’s hard to believe that a scruple has improved his chances of playing five-day cricket for England.
If Parkinson’s doubts are well-founded, he may find some solace in the fact that he has joined an honorable lineage. ‘Tich’ Freeman is the only bowler in the history of the game to have taken more first-class wickets than Wilfred Rhodes, despite the Kent leggie having only played a dozen Tests.
Later eras maintained the reluctance to give wrist spin a proper go in five-day games: Robin Hobbs played seven Tests, Ian Salisbury 15, and so on. Such bowlers were regarded as exotic, expensive luxuries who were rarely chosen and even less trusted when they did get a job. Maybe they are still there. Cricket with white balls is a different kind of flannelled soldier sport.
Warwickshire should be commended for their tenacious determination to eke out a draw on this last-day pitch. Other counties might have given it away, but Will Rhodes’ men showed the bravery that could yet make them County Champions in three weeks or so.
Following Chris Benjamin’s leg, before attempt to sweep Parkinson in the sixth over of the day, Dom Sibley batted for 207 minutes and Sam Hain for just over two and a half hours. They were the innings that turned the draw into a heavy-betting favorite.