CRICKET: Oxfordshire set up chance of campaign's first victory

Oxfordshire’s Shabaz Alam gets a big stride in to crack this delivery away for four during his innings of 29 against Berkshire

Oxfordshire’s Shabaz Alam gets a big stride in to crack this delivery away for four during his innings of 29 against Berkshire

First published in Sport

Oxfordshire set up the chance of a first Unicorns Counties Championship Western Division win of the season by taking charge of their basement battle against Berkshire at Great & Little Tew.

Luke Ryan’s side finished day two with a lead of 252 runs, with five second-innings wickets remaining.

The start was delayed for 20 minutes due to rain.

But Oxon quickly made up for lost time with Chad Keegan bowling opener Harry Stephens without adding to his overnight 69 as Berkshire resumed their first innings on 126-2 in reply to the hosts’ 227.

Brothers Richard and James Morris fell lbw to Karl Penhale and Keegan respectively, with the score on 131.

Keegan then ran out Stewart Davison as he went for a suicidal second run to make it 152-6.

Liam Manley bowled And-rew Rishton, and Ryan took two wickets in two balls with Matt Carter caught by Lloyd Sabin at mid-wicket and Richard Kaufman pouching Robert Williams at first slip.

It was left to Francois Vainker to trap Gurveer Singh lbw as Berkshire were all out for 206, leaving Oxon with a lead of 21.

A 50-minute break for rain preceded Oxon’s second innings, and Sabin was soon heading back to the pavilion after falling lbw to Williams.

Shabaz Alam made 29 before he edged a delivery from off-spinner Stephens to Simon Macey at slip.

And when Kaufman was caught behind by Davison off Waqas Hussain, and Hugo Darby went in identical fashion to Alam, Oxon were wobbling at 76-4 at tea.

But Jonny Cater hit a fluent 70 off 68 balls, which included nine fours and two sixes, before he was caught behind off Hussain.

With Chris Watling playing a sheet anchor role for an unbeaten 48, Keegan smashed 41 not out, including one six to deep mid-wicket, which crashed through the rear window of a parked car.

Scores: Oxfordshire 227 & 231-5 (J Cater 70), Berkshire 206 (H Stephens 69).

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