Lancashire land Test stars to boost county challenge

LANCASHIRE have landed a double coup after completing the signings of Test stars Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Simon Katich for the summer.

The pair have been drafted in to make up for the loss of Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, who was due to move to Old Trafford after next month’s ICC World Twenty, but has now been forced to extend his international commitments to cover the Asia Cup.

Australian all-rounder Katich will play for the Red Rose county for around six weeks starting in June, featuring in the Friends Provident t20 tournament and the all-important County Championship Roses match with Yorkshire.

When he leaves in mid-July he will be replaced by veteran West Indies batsman Chanderpaul, who has 18,000 first-class runs to his name at an average of 54, and has plenty of county experience with Durham.

“After having such a great association with Durham, I feel ready for a fresh challenge at Old Trafford,” Chanderpaul said.

Meanwhile, Lancashire are closing in on victory over Essex after Paul Horton’s 123 helped give them a 136-run first-innings lead at Chelmsford. Essex ended the day on 46-2 in reply.

Durham look to be charge against Hampshire at the Riverside, reaching 284-5 in reply to the visitors’ 345.

In division two, Surrey got off to a dream start in taking the first two Worcestershire wickets without a run being scored after closing their first innings on 493. But centuries from Vikram Solanki (114) and Moeem Ali (122no) helped the visitors rally to 262-3 in reply.