Lancashire v Nottinghamshire, day three:
Nottinghamshire 472 (Slater 142, Duckett 116), Lancashire 173 (Trego 3-33, Barber 3-42, Chappell 3-48) and 120-0.
90 overs, 14 wickets.
If you say it quickly enough, it sounds a simple task.
Fourteen deliveries – out of a minimum of 540 – which need to best the batsman at the striker’s end.
But with weather, time and the sheer inconvenience of an opposition determined to thwart every effort, it is rarely easy.
This is the story of the day, through the deliveries that mattered.
Croft: c sub (Patterson-White) b Barber 59
Ask anyone in green and gold who they found most threatening to face in those intense pre-season weeks in July, and Tom Barber’s name would have been high on their list.
As a relative unknown to the Nottinghamshire cricket-watching public, however, the left-armer arrived with an impression to make.
Bowling with pace and hostility on debut against Derbyshire helped. As did sending Matt Critchley’s stumps cartwheeling for his maiden Notts wicket.
Polishing off a potentially-frustrating Lancashire tail will only have aided his cause all the more.
It was a brute, a snorter of a ball to Steven Croft, unbeaten on 59 from 113.
The right-hander had no time to react, let alone direct the ball to safety, as Barber’s delivery reared up, hit the bat and fell into the grateful hands of Liam Patterson-White, a spring-heeled substitute at short leg.
Wood: c Slater b Barber 6
Wood had been conspicuous by his absence through much of the Nottinghamshire innings.
Whatever the malady that had kept him from the field, it was still in evidence as he strode out to bat, runner in tow.
The news that a batsman is batting with a runner will have spread like wildfire around cricket’s community of comedians.
Opportunities for hapless running, and remarkable run-outs, seem almost guaranteed.
But it wasn’t this that accounted for the former Nottinghamshire man. Instead Wood sent the ball steepling into the West Bridgford skies, leaving Ben Slater ample time to amble into a short leg position to take the catch.
Bailey: c Duckett b Barber 4, & Hurt: c Moores b Trego 1
A tail that wags is one of cricket’s more frustrating facets.
In a low-scoring game, with a follow-on target threatening to hove into view, it has the potential to be utterly infuriating.
In that context, ninth and tenth wicket partnerships of four and one were manna from heaven for Nottinghamshire.
Two balls after removing Wood, Barber induced a wild drive from Tom Bailey, safely pouched by Duckett in the slips.
Then in the next over Trego found the perfect channel to question the edge of Liam Hurt’s bat.
As the ball landed in Tom Moores’ gloves, Trego’s leap, fistpump and almighty roar showed just what this scalp meant.
Part one of Nottinghamshire’s job was complete.
2.6: Peter Trego to Keaton Jennings, no run
Aimed squarely at the stumps, fended into the on-side, the final ball of a Trego maiden, in itself this was not a delivery to write home about.
It was, however, the final ball before bad light – before the sun had even gone over the yardarm – made its first appearance of the day.
The omens on the pitch for Nottinghamshire, with two sessions in which to complete an innings victory, were good.
The omens in the skies, with gloom descending so early in the day and with a sprinkling of rain to follow over lunch, were less so.
30.6: Matthew Carter to Keaton Jennings, no run
They’re known as the Lightning in limited-overs cricket, but Jennings and Alex Davies batted as if representing the Lancashire Limpets during the afternoon session.
With the final delivery before tea and scones, Keaton Jennings brought up his century – of deliveries faced, the most important metric for the visitors.
It had been an afternoon in which Jennings and Davies had clung tightly to their wickets.
Carter, Patel, Barber, Mullaney, Trego, Chappell – all made valiant attempts to prise the Red Rose duo from their places at the crease, but ultimately to no avail.
And so it continued as the shadows lengthened after the interval, before Mullaney and Dane Vilas agreed that nothing could be done to break the stalemate.
A moral victory, if nothing more, for Nottinghamshire. A ‘winning draw’, as club cricket would no doubt have it, with a full complement of batting and bowling bonus points.
With centuries, steepling sixes and a succession of scalps to look back on, there were points, pride and no little pleasure to be taken from the game.
It should make for a buoyant Green and Golds group at Leicestershire next weekend.
When it comes to sharing the action from Trent Bridge this summer, our multi-camera live stream has got you covered. Watch live...