Hooper And Law Set Lancashire Record
Carl Hooper and Stuart Law rewrote the record books at Edgbaston as Lancashire stepped up their late challenge for the First Division crown in the Frizzell County Championship yesterday. They put on 360 against Warwickshire to beat their county's previous highest partnership for the fifth wicket, also set in Birmingham by Barry Wood and Andrew Kennedy in 1975.
The duo were only 11 short of the record for any Lancashire wicket when Hooper was finally dismissed for 177 after completing 1000 runs for the season in only his 16th innings. Law became the first batsman to reach 1500 runs this season and stretched his sixth hundred of the summer to 168 before Lancashire were dismissed for 781, the third highest Championship total in the history of Edgbaston.
The massacre opened up a lead of 332 and, following hundreds by Mark Chilton and Mal Loye on the second day, Lancashire had four century-makers in an innings for the second time in a fortnight. The same four players had reached three-figures in a score of 734 for five against Middlesex at Old Trafford last month.
Warwickshire's attack was depleted by the absence of Dougie Brown, who strained a calf muscle when making a century on Wednesday, but even with the all-rounder, they would have been hard-pressed to stop the tide of runs. While Law gave the impression that he was merely ticking over, Hooper hit half-a-dozen sixes off the only spinner, Mark Wagh, and one each from the medium-paced support bowlers, Ian Bell and Michael Powell.
After a relatively sedate start - they took 27 overs to compile a century stand - the runs came in a torrent and Lancashire certainly did not need the assistance of more than 60 extras, mostly in no-balls. Hooper was closest to giving a chance in his century, edging the otherwise wayward Melvyn Betts inches wide of slip on 67, and Law was almost faultless in picking off 23 fours.
Hooper, who hit 24 boundaries including six sixes, was first to go for 177 when caught at long-off by Corey Collymore. The wicket was one of seven for Wagh, a personal-best but at a cost of 222 in 39.5 overs. Alan Richardson was the only pace bowler to test the batsmen and no-one was more deserving when Law's innings, spanning nearly five-and-a-half hours, finally ended with a catch at slip.
It was not much in the way of relief for Warwickshire as Glen Chapple smashed 60 to take Lancashire beyond 700. The only other counties to do this at Edgbaston were Yorkshire (887 in 1896) and Warwickshire, with 810 for four against Durham in 1994 - the match in which Brian Lara made his 501 not out.