Northamptonshire 332 (Curran 82, Thurston 115, Vasconcelos 58, de Lange 4-84, van der Gugten 3-64) and 62 for 1 need 127 more runs to beat Glamorgan 259 and 261 (Douthwaite 86, van der Gugten 113, Muzarabani 3-67, White 4-35)
Marchant de Lange blitzed the fastest first-class hundred in Glamorgan history from No. 10 as his side recovered from 60 for 8 to 261 in their second innings, leaving Northamptonshire struggling for time to wrap up victory with rain forecast throughout the final day at Wantage Road.
Northamptonshire have been the victims of lower-order fightbacks four times in the last five innings, so there was prior notice of their inability to clean up the tail. But the scale of that recovery was certainly not foreseen, with de Lange making his maiden century including six fours and nine sixes to keep Glamorgan in the game.
He and Dan Douthwaite, who began the revival and struck three sixes of his own in making his highest score for Glamorgan – 86 from 92 balls – shared a ninth-wicket record partnership for Glamorgan against Northamptonshire of 168 in only 118 balls. This was after their record 10th wicket stand was made in the first innings.
It again saved them from humiliation and this time from a laughable innings defeat having trailed on first innings by 73 after Ricardo Vasconcelos’s 58 took Northamptonshire to 332 all out.
But again, Northamptonshire seemingly had no reply when the batsmen turned to all-out attack. They were en route to a thumping win inside three days after reducing Glamorgan to 16 for 5 and then 60 for 8. Yet the tide once more turned quickly against them and they are now hostage to the weather on the final day.
They failed again to get their plans correct against lower-order hitters. And for reasons unknown, Blessing Muzarabani – who had previously struggled badly against an aggressive tall – was allowed to bowl three overs and was taken for 47.
Marchant de Lange scored the quickest century by a Glamorgan player in first-class cricket, reaching the milestone off just 62 balls
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— Glamorgan Cricket (@GlamCricket) August 24, 2020
The damage was started by Douthwaite but taken up by de Lange to devastating effect. De Lange, a broad-shouldered South African, possesses tremendous hitting potential but a first-class average of just 15. It’s not often that his swinging comes up trumps, but with his side staring at an innings defeat and an opposition vulnerable to counter-attack, it worked a treat.
It was essentially the same shot and one seen at village grounds throughout the land. He cleared his front leg and heaved to the on-side and kept making tremendous contact. Muzarabani and Luke Procter fed him length balls and saw them disappear over the short leg side boundary – two flew out of the ground entirely.
But there was more cultured hitting against Simon Kerrigan’s left-arm spin that gave de Lange no pace to work with. He timed two slog-sweeps beautifully over midwicket and a thunderous thump over the bowler’s head.
He mistimed one on 98 but Charlie Thurston put the chance down at long-on. It allowed de Lange to break the record for Glamorgan’s fastest first-class hundred, breaking the mark set by Gary Butcher, who took 64 balls against Oxford University in 1997. It was Kerrigan who finally ended the carnage as de Lange skewed a smear to backward point.
Douthwaite was the first to have some fun and at 42 for 7 he whacked Glamorgan past their lowest total against Northamptonshire of 54. He pulled Muzarabani over midwicket for six and slapped a Procter full toss over long-on in reaching a half-century in 54 balls.
His third six was perhaps the pick of either player as he danced down the wicket to hoist Kerrigan over his head. But he tried it again, missed and was stumped. It was not how Kerrigan would have wanted his first professional wicket since 2017 to come.
Until the long-handle policy worked, Glamorgan were on the cusp of a truly miserable defeat as they crumbled under a fiery spell from Muzarabani, who removed three of the top six, and four wickets for Jack White, who found some swing. But the standard of defence was woeful and the visitors showed a complete lack of ability to survive for any length of time for a second time in the match – they had been 135 for 9 in the first innings.
Instead de Lange and Douthwaite applied a glossy veneer to the scorecard and Glamorgan may even escape with a draw if Storm Francis takes out day four.
“It’s incredible from a personal point of view,” de Lange said. “It’s amazing to be in the record books. I just wanted to contribute to the team – I just tried to play ball by ball.
“Myself and Dan wanted a partnership, and we knew if we just got a bit of bat on that shorter side of the ground, it would go the distance. There’s no secret to my batting: I try to see ball, hit ball, and keep it simple.”
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