Nottinghamshire needed only 90 minutes of the final morning to pull off a most extraordinary victory over Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.
The drama was immediate, with the hosts being bowled out for only 73 in their second innings, having been 49 without loss at one stage.
Harry Gurney, with career best figures of six for 25, plus Jake Ball’s four for 14 (and match figures of nine for 57) were the catalysts for the win but both were backed up by some outstanding close-to-the-wicket catching.
Their performances left Notts needing only 10 runs to win but that turned out to be anything but straightforward. Four batsmen were dismissed before the decisive single was secured to seal a 6-wicket victory.
The final day began with the home county on 58 for two in their second innings, narrowly trailing Notts by just six runs. Keaton Jennings and Liam Livingstone had put on just seven runs together before rain had brought a premature close on the third day.
Gurney had taken both of the wickets to fall and was quickly adding to that tally. With just the third delivery of the morning he had Jennings palpably lbw without addition to his overnight 27.
Lancashire still hadn’t wiped out the first innings deficit when they lost their most experienced batsman. Shiv Chanderpaul nicked Gurney and would have been as surprised as anyone to turn and see Ross Taylor take a stunning catch at third slip. The dismissal and the celebrations were reminiscent of the title-winning dismissal on the same ground in 2010.
Things would only get worse for the Red Rose, as Jake Ball came to the fore once again. His five wickets in the first innings had all been from the Pavilion End. Proving that it’s the same distance both ways he sliced his way through the middle order with three wickets within the space of 12 deliveries.
Livingstone (12) played a textbook cover drive for four off Ball and attempted a repeat, only to nick the swinging delivery behind, Steven Croft (0) was comprehensively bowled and Jordan Clark (0) was athletically taken at gully by the diving Chris Nash.
Gurney’s fifth and six victims, Tom Bailey (1) and Joe Mennie (0) were both caught behind, with Ball having Dane Vilas (1) taken at first slip by Riki Wessels.
The rout had lasted for only 10.2 overs and, even with a short stoppage for rain, Lancashire were bowled out before midday.
Nottinghamshire’s expected charge to the finishing line ran into some early difficulties. Steven Mullaney (1) hooked Mennie into the hands of long leg and the same bowler quickly had figures of 3-0 when he had Nash (0) and Jake Libby (4) nicking off.
Taylor (0) fell to Graham Onions when the scores were level, leaving Wessels to clip the winning run away on the leg side. Samit Patel remained undefeated on four.
Nottinghamshire take 20 points from the win and are next in action on Friday, when they face Yorkshire at Headingley.
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