(Photo: Getty Images)
By Paul Edwards
James Franklin is not the sort of cricketer to gloss over the truth with empty phrases or meaningless clichés. So it was entirely in character that the Middlesex captain should react to his team’s first defeat in 21 Championship games with a blunt assessment of their performance.
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“The run had to come to an end at some point, we were totally outplayed by Lancashire for two- and-a-half days,” Franklin said, after Steven Croft’s thumping straight six off Ravi Patel had confirmed Lancashire’s eight-wicket victory.
“We were 50-60 runs light in the first innings and they were probably 50-60 runs over par, and that was the difference,” he added.
“That first innings was the real difference and we never able to claw ourselves back. We’ve been dominated here by a team that has played better cricket.
“We’ve seen over the first five games that we’ve played this season that the standard in this division keeps getting better, so we’ve got to move with that.
“That’s the challenge for a team that’s won the title and at the moment the pack have well and truly caught up and we’re not quite firing on all cylinders.
“We have to keep trying as hard as we can to dominate games but we’ve been dominated here by a team that has played better cricket.”
For his part, the Lancashire coach, Glen Chapple, did not need to agree with Franklin. His team had done all the talking for him.
Instead, Chapple could merely reflect how much better it was to be chatting on the Trafalgar Road outfield last Monday afternoon than it had been to be explaining Lancashire’s ten-wicket defeat in the Roses match exactly a week previously.
“We faced a challenge after Yorkshire and I think we’ve come through that brilliantly,” he said.
“When you face your first loss of the season it’s always a mental challenge, so it’s always nice to come back from a loss with a performance like that.
“There’s eight good teams in this division and one week you can beat last year’s champions, so you can’t make any predictions.”