County Championship: Lancashire beat Durham with two balls left

Tom Smith
Smith's 35 came off 61 balls and included five fours
LV= County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford
Lancashire 421 & 107-9 beat Durham 340 & 187 by one wicket
Lancashire 22pts Durham 5pts
Match scorecard

Lancashire held their nerve to beat Durham by one wicket with just two balls remaining in a thrilling relegation battle at Old Trafford.

With the hosts chasing only 107 to win from 36 overs, seamers John Hastings (4-40) and Ben Stokes (3-25) helped reduce Lancashire to 90-9.

But Tom Smith (35) and Simon Kerrigan (14) dragged their side over the line, the former hitting the winning single.

Kerrigan's 4-61 had earlier seen Durham out for 187 in their second innings.

The victory meant the hosts leapfrogged their opponents to move out of the relegation zone, but although they hold a six-point advantage, Durham have a game in hand.

Both play Division One's top two in the next round of matches, with Lancashire facing a Roses match against leaders Yorkshire, and Durham taking on Notts at home.

No time for a tie
Lancashire's victory means the last tie in the County Championship remains Warwickshire v Essex at Edgbaston in 2003

The remarkable finish looked unlikely at lunch, after Durham had lost five wickets for 53 runs in 25 overs, including Stokes, who was caught by Steven Croft at short leg off one-cap England spinner Kerrigan.

Calum MacLeod was then run out by a great piece of work in the field by Tom Bailey, making his first Championship appearance of the season, and when Chris Rushworth fell for a duck, the hosts looked on for a straightforward chase.

However, Hastings and Rushworth (2-21) did not let the Lancashire batsmen settle, with Usman Khuwaja's 10 the highest score among the top five.

Davies and Smith added 43 for the sixth wicket as they reached 79-5, but Davies and Stephen Parry fell in the same Stokes over and when Bailey, who had never batted in first-class cricket before this match, chipped to Mark Stoneman at mid-off to leave them on 90-9, the game looked to be Durham's for the taking.

Smith and Kerrigan held out against some accurate bowling from Stokes and Hastings, and Smith hit the winning run from a cover drive - diving into his ground at the bowler's end to spark jubilant celebrations and give Lancashire only their second win in their last 11 Championship games against Durham.

Lancashire all-rounder Tom Smith told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"It was amazing, dramatic, and aside from winning the game, it was a brilliant game of cricket

"You're more nervous probably watching, rather than being out there playing. I felt really calm and I was in full control.

"I said to Simon Kerrigan that we can be heroes and credit to him I think he scored the majority of the runs in our partnership.

"We were very relaxed out there and when Simon blocked a full toss I said to him is there any danger of hitting a four or what.

"It's a massive win for us and there are a few teams right in the mix towards the bottom of the table."

Durham skipper Paul Collingwood said:

"I guess the closer you get the more emotions are involved.

"It's heart-breaking when you get so close and don't win. It was a monumental finish, and gut-wrenching to lose. I'm very proud of the guys and how they fought in that last innings. It was an unbelievable game of cricket."

BBC Radio Newcastle's Martin Emmerson:

"Durham and Lancashire served up a corker on an afternoon in which drama was the last thing most expected.

"But having lost with the last pair at the crease in their last game a month ago, Lancashire tasted victory in the same position, scrambling the winning run with two balls to spare.

"Credit to the Durham's bowlers, who bowled their socks off in the defence of just 106 runs, but after a crushing defeat, their second in a row in the Championship, they now find themselves in the relegation zone.

"I am sure there are twists and turns yet, but Durham need wins and quickly."