Glamorgan and Northants fight out thrilling draw

Lewis McManus’ only previous first-class century came for Hampshire in 2016
Lewis McManus’ only previous first-class century came for Hampshire in 2016 [Huw Evans Agency]

Vitality County Championship D2, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (day four)

Northants 279 & 472-8 dec: McManus 168*, Vasconcelos 99, Procter 98

Glamorgan 490 & 207-8: Labuschagne 64; Patterson-White 3-102

Glamorgan 15 pts drew with Northants 11 pts

Match scorecard

Glamorgan and Northants fought out a fascinating draw in Cardiff as the home side held out on 207-8 after being set 262 in 39 overs.

A superb career-best knock of 168 not out from Lewis McManus and 98 from Luke Procter allowed the visitors to declare on 472-8.

Glamorgan chased hard thanks to Marnus Labuschagne’s 64.

Labuschagne was fifth out with 100 still needed and Northants’ spinners ended up pressing for victory.

It was a fine fight-back from the visitors to set up the final day drama after they had fallen 211 behind on the first innings.

Glamorgan looked more likely winners at the start of the day, but were without James Harris because of a leg strain and failed to make any impact in the first session despite a second new ball.

McManus was the more aggressive, but there were few alarms for the fifth-wicket partnership, who came together with the scores level, but batted Northants to the verge of safety after McManus was dropped on 77 by Harry Podmore off Mason Crane.

Glamorgan’s only consolation was making up an over rate that slipped to minus five.

McManus reached three figures off 149 balls after overtaking his skipper and Procter looked likely to join him, but his chanceless innings came to an end when Timm van der Gugten trapped him lbw.

Northants unexpectedly stepped up the tempo against the spinners as the feel of the game changed and Justin Broad (13), Liam Patterson-White (18) and Gus Miller (4) all fell swinging at Crane and Kiran Carlson.

But McManus changed up even more gears as he smashed Crane for four consecutive sixes over mid-wicket, taking 27 off the over before heading for the dressing room.

A required run-rate of 6.7 looked improbable and though Glamorgan started purposefully, Eddie Byrom was caught behind down the leg-side off Rob Keogh for 16 to leave them 30-1 at tea.

Billy Root made a positive 31 before being run-out by Keogh in a mix-up with Labuschagne, while Carlson looked to play shots all round the wicket.

But Northants’ spinners held their nerve to prevent acceleration and Carlson was bowled slogging at Welsh leggie Alex Russell for 34 off 27 balls, while loanee left-armer Liam Patterson-White forced Sam Northeast (4) to chip to cover.

Labuschagne’s high-quality effort kept Glamorgan in the hunt until he chipped Patterson-White to point, while Chris Cooke (27) also batted aggressively before lofting Russell to long-off.

That signalled the end of the chase with eight overs left, but Crane went quickly to Patterson-White and Keogh bowled Harry Podmore in the penultimate over as Procter marshalled his bowlers brilliantly.

Andy Gorvin blocked two balls and Van der Gugten played out the first five balls of the final over from Patterson-White before the teams shook hands.

Glamorgan coach Grant Bradburn told BBC Sport Wales:

“It was a roller-coaster day and probably a roller-coaster game. We played well in parts and not so well in parts, Northants also played well, and credit to both teams in terms of the intent to search for a win.

“With a shorter amount of overs left, it was a tough chase, but (it was) a fair chase and one we were prepared to have a good crack at.

“It wasn’t to be, but fans will go away seeing a brand of cricket they’re excited by.”

Northants coach John Sadler told BBC Radio Northampton:

“We don’t do boring games. Credit to both sides, I thought it was a brilliant game and a great advert for county cricket. Those people who say four-day county cricket isn’t interesting, they’re wrong.

“Our plan was to try to save the game first, then the longer the game drew out, the more chance we had to potentially cause a twist.

“Lewis and Procter, and Vasconcelos yesterday, the balance between defending and keeping the scoreboard moving was fantastic. Our blueprint was to try and cause some panic in their dressing-room, and it materialised pretty well.”