Javid's brilliance puts Seconds on top

SCORE | Day 2, Second XI Friendly (3 days): Durham Second XI 464 for 4 declared and 39 for 2 v Leicestershire Second XI 457 for 8 declared


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Ateeq Javid made a superb unbeaten 173 as Leicestershire Second XI enjoyed much the better of the second day of the Friendly at Emirates Riverside.

I was immediately at the coalface this morning, when upon checking my overnight emails, there was one in my inbox from the Big Cheese of the new Pro Scorer website. It was instructing all County Scorers, especially those involved in a game today to download an important update. It was recommended that this be done before leaving for the ground. It even stated that if you were at an away game, and staying at a hotel, to download it before leaving your hotel. Yours truly obediently complied with this request, and please be reassured that it did not interfere one iota with my appointment with my Full English. I am fast coming to the conclusion that a descendant of Albert Einstein has had input into the new Scoring software. I was in ‘laptopia’, as my trusted laptop gleefully accepted the download.

Upon arrival at the Emirates Riverside for day two of our SEF encounter with Durham CCC, we were greeted by a cool and fresh spring morning. The strong breeze, disturbing the many flags around the ground from their slumbers, caused the base of the flags to fly at 90 degree angle to the ground. The white sheeting draped over seats adjacent to the sightscreens was billowing in the strong wind. Whilst taking my morning constitutional around the ground I strolled past the exclusive Bannatyne’s Health Club that is in the corner of the Lumley End, regrettably no sign of Joanna doing her early morning workout. 

The few members present that were taking early morning exercise with weights, and running machines within, gave a knowing nod of approval sprinkled with empathy, as my finely honed racing snake like figure passed by the large windows. I was content in the knowledge that just some 60 minutes earlier I had negotiated my way through a delightful breakfast!

Leicestershire CCC bounced back magnificently from day one, where they faced an uphill struggle for the majority of the day. They responded with a superb 457 for 8 declared in reply to Durham CCC’s 464 for 4 declared. County then put the icing on the cake to an excellent day by ripping out two Durham CCC wickets in the remaining time available. The day belonged to Javid who racked up a superlative 173 not out. A heavyweight performance from AJ, not at all ring rusty after the winter break.

There were two overnight changes to the Durham side as Michael Richardson and Cameron Steel had been summoned to travel down to Northampton with the First XI, replaced by Ross Greenwell and Jamie Dass. Also Dieter Klein was required to travel back down to the FCG, so Jack Nightingale came in to the Leicestershire team

Leicestershire resumed from their overnight 40-1, Tom Wells 19 *, Tom Taylor 1*, trailing Durham CCC by 424 runs. Two Toms at the wicket, if they formed a pop group a good name for them would be The Cats. Wells and nightwatchman Taylor looked extremely comfortable against the Durham CCC attack of Gavin Main and Olly Gibson. Not the first O Gibson to open a Durham attack. You may recall one Ottis Gibson, ex-Leicestershire CCC, doing likewise. Taylor was playing some accomplished shots off both bowlers, finding the ropes on four occasions. He did not look at all out of his comfort zone, and belied his status of nightwatchman. 

The Stoke Stalwart then executed a delightful shot, of textbook quality, caressing the ball through mid-wicket for four off Gibson. Taylor just leaned into the delivery, with minimum effort, the ball leaving the bat at maximum speed, text book stuff from Tom. Wells took two boundaries off Gibson and one off Main. Wells demonstrating that he can be disciplined in a red ball game, whilst being able to show his aggression in the white ball game. 

A news alert then appeared on my phone saying that Prince William was to be Best Man at Prince Harry’s wedding next month. I had kept the date, Saturday 19 May, free just in case Harry was on the look out for a Best Man. I can now watch the Cup Final with having no prior engagement. I wonder what Prince William (President of the FA), is doing with his ticket? 

Wells and Taylor had added 48 runs for the second wicket when Wells (39), after 6.4 overs of the morning session, edged seamer Main and was caught by wicket keeper Ryan Davies, County on 84 for 2 from 16.4 overs. Aadil Ali joined Taylor. I was beginning to think that Leicestershire had inserted a ‘ringer’ in the nightwatchman role, as Taylor was treating the bowling dismissively. 

Very shortly afterwards however, Taylor (28) was caught at long-off by Gareth Harte off the bowling of spinner George Harding. County 97-3 off 24.3 overs. Javid joined Aadil, and the pair ensured that a solid foundation to the innings was built. Aadil, after taking two early boundaries, then played out three successive maidens. Javid played out a number of dots, interspersed with a couple of boundaries from the limited amount of balls he was facing, Aadil taking the lion’s share of the strike. The pair brought up their 50 partnership from 103 balls when the score reached 147-3.  

Aadil went to his half-century (6x4, 1x6, 105b); a disciplined innings from Aadil, showing much responsibility. County went into lunch on 177-3 from 42, Aadil 58* Javid 29*, the effort they had put in being reinforced by the balls they had faced, 129 and 64 respectively.  

In the second over after lunch, Aadil deposited off spinner Ryan Pringle for a maximum. Javid was playing such a strong supporting role, that I double checked to see if his initials were RSJ. Sunderland AFC then reappeared in the conversation of my two compatriots in the Scoring Chateaux, some three hours having elapsed before mention of the Black Cats. 

Soon after lunch, seamer Main put his foot on the gas, and had Aadil (61) from 138 balls caught behind by keeper Davies, County 185 for 4. Mark Pettini joined Javid, and batted with urgency, taking runs from the majority of balls he faced. Meanwhile Javid was still there, blocking and pushing singles. Javid and Pettini posted a 50 partnership from 67 deliveries, the score now being 235-4 from 66.3 overs. 

Three balls later Pettini (34) was caught behind by Davies off Pringle. A couple of overs later Javid went to his 50 (2x4, 121b). Javid looked set for the long haul. With Zak Chappell at the crease with Javid, I made the comment that the only way I could see Javid getting out was that if he had to leave the field, retired injured, as a result of a stiff neck, through constantly looking up at Chappell during their conversations between overs. 

The pair also having spent time together in the middle during our 50-over game on Tuesday. Chappell had a cameo, including a little dip at Pringle, where he took him for two boundaries in four balls. Chappell (12) departed when he became keep Davies’ four victim of the innings, edging spinner Scott Steel into the gauntlets. Leicestershire now 257 for 6. 

At this juncture we had a musical interlude in Scoring Towers. The gentleman who sits at his desk in the corner had a variety of ring tones on his phone to identify who was ringing him. Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison for his wife, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses for his daughter etc.

Rest assured Javid is still at the crease, and Rob Sayer having joined him. Javid continued to deal mainly in dot balls and singles at this point. Sayer was hitting the ball cleanly and racking up boundaries all around the wicket. My Champagne Moment of the day arrived when Javid played a sumptuous shot through extra cover for four off seamer Gibson. The ball arrowed to the ropes, on the carpet all the way, a Crown Green Bowler’s wood could not have kept contact with the grass for as long. 

In the last over before tea, Sayer (37, 57b) got one on the bottom of the bat and departed caught and bowled Harding. An eye-catching innings from Sayer, who had to negotiate the new ball during his time in the middle. Jack Nightingale came in and was adjudged lbw first ball. Cricket can be a cruel game, County into tea on 340-8 from 93 overs. 

After tea came the highest partnership of the innings, Javid and Ben Mike being the players responsible. In the second over after tea Javid went to his century (5x4) from 200 balls. It was a tremendous knock from Javid, giving no chances at all, patience personified. Mike began  circumspectly, taking 15 balls to get off the mark. The pair brought up their 50 alliance from 82 balls after 106.4 overs. 

Then we had some fireworks, Mike sweetly striking eight boundaries all around the ground, and the irrepressible Javid, coming out of his shell, taking nine boundaries and a maximum, all this in the space of 10 overs. The pair brought up their 100 partnership from 119 balls. Javid then went to his 150 (12x4, 1x6, 245b). What an innings this was, dedication, discipline, hard work, responsibility all rolled into one. AJ certainly ‘packs a punch’. Once he was in it looked increasingly unlikely that anyone would be able to get him out. Somewhat like when my very good friend Dale Page and I go into a pub. (Leave that bit in Mr Editor, he is a much respected Sponsor!).

Also, a very mature, and controlled knock by Ben Mike, surely the best at Number 10 since whichever Prime Minister floats your boat.  County declared their innings on 457-8, trailing Durham by 7 runs. Javid 173* from 258 balls, Mike 41* from 65 balls.

The 104 overs for the day had been bowled, but there was still 45 minutes playing time available. Ross Greenwall and Michael Jones opened up for Durham against an opening attack of Taylor and Harry Funnell. Taylor being in action at the end of the day with the ball following his early morning stint with the bat. It was Funnell who took the first wicket. Steaming in from the Finchale End, Funnell had Jones (9) all at sea, when he edged the young paceman to Aadil at slip. I am sure the club harbour great prospects for Funnell. Congratulations to Harry on his first three-day wicket for the Second XI.

Davies joined Greenwall, County were pressing hard for another wicket, and in the penultimate over of the day Davies shouldered arms to a ball from Taylor that nipped back and took his off stump. A (Tailor) made delivery. Durham 33-2 off 8.3. Play ended for the day at 6.30pm sharp, Leicestershire having bowled 10 overs. Durham closing on 39-2, a lead of 46 runs going into the final day.

* Leicestershire CCC Second XI are in action at the Fischer County Ground next Wednesday for a Trophy fixture against Northamptonshire CCC. Admission is free with the match due to start at 11am.