“I must admit that I didn’t see that coming.”
That was Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley’s take on day one of the LV= Championship clash with Lancashire at Old Trafford.
The encounter between the division two pacesetters opened with the bowlers completely in control as 18 wickets fell on an eventful day.
Ten of those belonged to the County who were shot out for a dismal 62 as Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg - the duo who had destroyed Essex last week - caused mayhem.
Only Andrew Hall and Steven Crook reached double figures with the innings lasting fewer than 30 overs as Hogg snared seven for 27.
And Ripley admitted that he didn’t expect what he witnessed, saying: “It was a little surprising.
“On the surface the wicket looked quite dry and bare and we’d heard a whisper that Lancashire would be playing both of their spinners.
“But the overhead conditions were quite heavy and cloudy which certainly helped the bowlers but I still didn’t think as many wickets would fall for so few runs.”
While he acknowledged that their score is well under par, Ripley said that the Lancashire seamers deserved some credit for their efforts.
He added: “There was a bit in the pitch but it was good bowling.
“None of our lads were able to get in and with a break for rain we couldn’t get the change bowlers on so we had to face their best two bowlers throughout.”
With the hosts closing on 121 for eight, a lead of 59, the County are very much in the contest but Ripley knows that a good deal more has to be produced with the bat in the second innings.
“I was pleased with the way we fought back, especially in the last session, so we’re still in it,” he said.
“Hopefully the wicket will improve a bit and we know that we’ll have to do a lot better when we come to bat again.
“We’ve got more batting points than anyone else in the country so we’ve been doing alright there but 60-odd isn’t good enough.”