On their return to four day cricket, Nottinghamshire scored 326 all out on the first day of their LV= County Championship match against Lancashire at Trent Bridge. There was just time for the visitors to reach seven without loss by the close.
Half centuries from Paul Franks, Chris Read, Samit Patel and Alex Hales took Notts towards a respectable total but it was a typically flamboyant 43 from Andre Adams that took the score beyond 300 and gave the crowd some entertainment.
On winning the toss Read elected to bat – a decision he said had changed over the preceding 48 hours.
“Initially the weather forecast wasn’t too promising”, he said.
“I was looking to field if we’d started under leaden skies but once I saw the morning sunshine I had no hesitation in batting. It wasn’t the easiest wicket we’ve played on though.
“As the ball got softer there was the opportunity for partnerships to form but when the ball was hard there was some invariable bounce.”
Notts showed four changes from their previous championship fixture against Worcestershire three weeks ago. The fit-again Neil Edwards and Alex Hales returned to bolster the top three, replacing Akhil Patel and the now-retired Mark Wagh. David Hussey had taken over from Adam Voges as the one permitted overseas star, whilst Luke Fletcher’s recall to the bowling ranks offered Darren Pattinson the opportunity of a breather after his t20 exertions.
Notts’ sixth different opening pairing of the summer didn’t remain together for long. Edwards edged Hogg behind for 2 and then Wessels (4) mistimed a legside pull off Sajid Mahmood, with Farveez Maharoof taking a well-judged catch down at fine leg.
Alex Hales, playing his first championship match since his broken jaw, timed the ball impeccably from the off. Samit Patel was more circumspect and lost a run as umpire Jeremy Lloyds signalled one short as the two batsmen scampered a three.
On 45, Hales was put down by Karl Brown at short extra cover. A powerfully hit drive from Tom Smith’s bowling flew to the fielder’s right but, although he got both hands to it, the chance went begging.
Capitalising on his moment of good fortune Hales moved to his half century (68 balls with 8 fours) but then fell tamely – chipping the returning Hogg straight to Mark Chilton in the covers. The stand of 88 had been Nottinghamshire’s highest for the wicket this season but to fall just before lunch was a huge blow to the home side.
Resuming from their interval score of 107-3, Notts soon found themselves in deeper trouble as both David Hussey and Steven Mullaney fell cheaply. Both made 5 but then lost their wicket to edges – the Australian nicking to the ‘keeper off Mahmood and Mullaney to slip off Hogg.
Patel reached his fifty from 92 balls with 4 fours but chased his next delivery and gave Paul Horton his second slip catch. Chris Read and Paul Franks stabilised the innings through the second half of the afternoon session, adding 74 together to bring up a batting point.
The pair both passed their fifties and extended their stand to 135 before a rising delivery from Mahmood brushed the glove of the Notts captain (58) and flew through to Cross behind the stumps. That gave the former England bowler his fourth wicket and he celebrated his first five-wicket haul of the summer later in the same over when he trapped Franks lbw for 69.
Luke Fletcher (1) offered a return catch to Kyle Hogg to bring the last pair together on 279-9. With Charlie Shreck offering solid support when needed, Andre Adams went on the offensive.
Five maximums – including a huge blow which was still rising when it was caught in the middle tier of the Radcliffe Road Stand delighted the spectators. Two more straight sixes, one into the New Stand and a further one into the William Clarke sped him to 43 before another mighty effort sliced to the deep point boundary, where Horton took his third catch.
In the two overs that remained, Lancashire eased to 7-0.
During the course of his innings Chris Read passed 10,000 first class runs for Nottinghamshire, a welcome piece of news for the home skipper.
“That’s very nice,” he commented. “That’s a decent milestone to bear in mind and one to look back on once your career is over but I just want to keep on pushing on and hopefully continue to score many more.”