Liddle still confident Northants can overcome Surrey at the County Ground
Bowling coach Chris Liddle believes Northants are still in with a good chance of claiming victory over Surrey at the County Ground.
A disappointing batting performance on day two of the Lv= Insurance County Championship Division Two clash, with Northants being rushed out for a below-par 171, has left the visitors in the driving seat going into Tuesday.
Surrey will resume their second innings on 102 for four, a lead of 183 and with Hashim Amla unbeaten on 24, but Liddle is staying positive and believes the County's misfiring batting line-up will be capable of chasing down a fourth innings target.
Although he does accept early wickets are going to be crucial early on day three.
"We’re disappointed as a batting unit because we looked at the wicket and we thought 300 would be par," said Liddle, reflecting on a first innings in which Saif Zaib's 37 was the top score.
"It’s played nicely for most of the game and you get value for your shots.
“It’s going to be important we get wickets, hopefully get them early and put a bit of pressure on the tail.
"We’ve chased down a big score here against Glamorgan (when Northants scored 357-3 to win) so we know we’re capable of doing it.”
As well as being frustrated by the batting performance, Liddle also felt the bowlers had enjoyed very little fortune at the start of Surrey's second innings.In particular, Ben Sanderson, who produced a high quality opening spell, only to end wicketless having conceded just 10 ruins from his 12 overs bowled.
“We know what Ben Sanderson offers with the ball, but it’s not often he bowls like that and doesn’t come away with two or three wickets," said Liddle.
"He deserved to pick up wickets and I’m sure he’ll get his reward."
Luke Procter claimed two for 24, while teenager James Sales claimed his first wicket in senior cricket on his first-class debut, producing a beauty to bowl Laurie Evans.
“James is an exciting young cricketer and he’s raw, he’s got lots of ability and talent and he’s smashed the top of off stump," said the County bowling coach.
"It was a great delivery so credit to him, he’s learning each time he goes out there, which is all you can ask for."
As far as Surrey are concerned, they were able to celebrate veteran all-rounder Rikki Clarke claiming his 800th career wicket as he snared three for 34.
The player is retiring at the end of the season, and he said: “I’m obviously delighted.
"It’s well documented that in the early stage of my career I was more of a batter, so I didn’t get to bowl a lot then.
“There are a lot of people to thank along the way who have helped me get to that milestone."
On the match situation against Northants, he said: "There wasn’t a lot in the wicket for us, so it was just a case of being really disciplined and bowling in partnerships and in the end we got the rewards.
“The wicket is starting to go a little more slow and low and as the game goes on you’d like to think it takes a bit of turn, so we’ve still got to bat sensibly, put some more runs on the board and set a decent target.”
Play on Tuesday at Wantage Road starts at 10.30am.