If you were one of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann or Steven Finn (probably) would you rather bowl at Phil Hughes or Simon Katich?
I reckon it wouldn’t be far wide of the mark to suggest that the quartet who will make up the England bowling attack due to do battle with the old enemy as of tomorrow morning would much rather ply their trade with the former of the two Australians standing at the other end.
But that isn’t going to be the case, unless there’s a late night phone call to the Lancashire team hotel, and it was the job of the Northamptonshire attack to try and repel the latter on day two of the clash with Lancashire.
The former Western Australia and New South Wales left-hander, a veteran of over 50 Test matches, continued his consistent run of form in the four-day game this season with an assured 114, without being dismissed, as the visitors replied to the home side’s first innings of 310.
Solid in defence and quick to pounce on anything short of a length or with some width, Katich looked in good touch right from the moment he came to crease shortly before lunch after Muhammad Azharullah had dismissed Karl Brown.
That was the Pakistani’s second of three wickets, sandwiched between the first, Luis Reece edging behind, and the third, Ashwell Prince drilling a pull shot straight at square leg.
On a pitch that wasn’t offering a great deal to those doing the bowling, toil was the order of the day and they stuck to their task well but they lacked the incisiveness of previous weeks.
That shouldn’t detract from Katich’s performance and when he cut Lee Daggett to the backward point fence for his 17th boundary, it brought up his 56th first class hundred.
Stands of 76 with Prince and 114 with Luke Procter, who made a neat, unbeaten 62, ensured they will go into the third day in a healthy position of 262-4, by no means dominant but with the potential to establish a decent lead.
From the County’s perspective, they will have the second new ball available first thing in the morning and they will need to make some inroads with that to stay level pegging.
Earlier in the day, the County had added 35 to their overnight score with Kyle Hogg taking the remaining three wickets.
David Murphy moved on to 30 before he walked in front of a straight, full delivery, Lee Daggett was lbw on the front foot to give Lancashire maximum bowling points and Cameron White fell 10 short of what would have been a thoroughly deserved century when he was unluckily caught down the leg-side.