A total of 37 overs were lost to the bad weather on the opening day of Nottinghamshire’s latest LV= County Championship match at Trent Bridge.
Put in to bat by Chris Read, Lancashire were indebted to an undefeated innings of 63 by Ashwell Prince, which enabled them to reach 203-6, with Andre Adams claiming 4-77 and Andy Carter picking up the other two wickets to fall, including the dismissal of Steven Croft – which gave Read his 700th dismissal for Notts.
“I’m very pleased with that,” confirmed the ‘keeper. “Obviously with regards to dismissals it’s all down to the bowlers – it’s just my job to grab on to the edges.
"I thought it was going to go over my head but I just back-peddled as fast as I could and all was good in the end.” Chris Read
“This maybe wasn’t the most memorable of catches – it just flew off the glove and for a while I thought it was going to go over my head but I just back-peddled as fast as I could and all was good in the end.”
Adams’ wickets all came after he’d conceded a flurry of early boundaries to Karl Brown. “He struggled with his length early on,” admitted Read. “When the ball was new it did a little bit and he was striving to keep it nice and full to bring edges into play – as well as clean-bowled and lbws. But he dragged his length back just a little bit and after that it was the same old Andre.”
As in every other fixture this season Notts again made a change to their starting line-up, with Paul Franks returning in place of the injured Ben Phillips from the side that defeated Sussex in the last championship.
An entertaining morning session began and ended with three consecutive maidens, although the opening ball of the day had gone away for four byes, as Harry Gurney fired one outside off that swung further away from the bat and the ‘keeper.
In between time, 104 runs were scored for the loss of three wickets.
Lancashire had won at Trent Bridge last year on their way to winnng the title and that success had been built on opening stands of 82 and 64 between Paul Horton and Stephen Moore.
This time the pair had only added eleven, when Andy Carter dislodged Horton (3), thanks to a sharp catch by Adam Voges at second slip.
The Australian could have added another but put down a sharper chance in Adams’ first over, when Moore was on 8.
Adams, who had claimed ten wickets in last month’s win at Old Trafford, seemed to be the target of a surprisingly attacking approach by the visitors. Brown, in particular, went after the Kiwi – hitting him for back-to-back boundaries in three consecutive overs.
On the third occasion he made it three fours in a row but then perished next ball, taken by a diving one-handed Samit Patel effort at third slip.
Brown (34) had made his highest score in ten innings against Notts but looked crestfallen, after adding 53 runs in just 7 overs with Moore (24).
The opener had twice been dismissed by Adams at Manchester, each time falling to the one that jagged back sharply. His feelings at being bowled again, leaving one alone that nipped in off the seam, could only be imagined.
Notts would have targeted those three wickets after inserting Lancashire but a healthy run-rate made for a really watchable two hours of cricket.
Light showers interrupted the early part of the afternoon, with the session starting three minutes late and then enduring a stoppage of around five minutes after just eight deliveries had been bowled.
Once the afternoon had properly got underway the visitors continued to prosper, with Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft extending their stand to 60 before Notts struck again.
A short-pitched delivery from Carter seemed to fly off the glove and loop high in the air for Read to take, leaping over his head. The jubilant bowler continued his follow-through into a full-blown celebration and although Croft (29) stood his ground, he was sent on his way by umpire Michael Gough.
The additional significance of the dismissal came with it being Read’s 700th dismissal for Nottinghamshire – only Thomas Oates, Bruce French and Ben Lilley have taken more.
Luke Proctor (7) became Adams’ third victim as he presented Patel with another – slightly easier – catch at third slip. Prince reached his fifty but should have gone immediately afterwards but was put down by Alex Hales, again off Adams.
At around 3.20pm the overhead conditions deteriorated and heavy rain drove the players from the field for a period of around one and a half hours.
The restart saw Prince and his new partner, Gareth Cross, bring up the third fifty-plus stand of the innings and also secure a first batting point.
After hitting Adams through midwicket for four Cross (35) tried it again but couldn’t keep the ball down and James Taylor – at deep square leg – almost in his own postcode – took an excellent diving catch after sprinting in to give himself a chance.
Before any further deliveries were bowled the rain returned to bring an early end to a pulsating day’s play.