Smith leads the way for Lancashire on Day One
Tom Smith led the way with a patient 70 as Lancashire posted 273-9 from 96 overs on the opening day against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge today.
The Specsavers County Championship leaders are bidding for their fourth win of 2016 but first away from home, and they were a touch frustrated at not advancing more strongly from 118-1 on a tacky pitch.
Smith battled hard against Stuart Broad with the new ball and another Test Match regular, the South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who he eventually fell to shortly after tea.
Those two finished with three wickets apiece, with Broad returning 3-50 from 25 overs.
Left-handed opener Smith, who hit nine fours in 200 balls, shared partnerships of 34 for the first wicket with Haseeb Hameed, 84 inside 21 overs for the second with Luke Procter and 45 for the fifth with Karl Brown.
Procter and Brown, with 48 and 36 apiece, provided Smith with valuable support after Steven Croft had earlier elected to bat on a surface which is expected to turn later in the game.
“You’d always want a few more, but we’re happy with the score so far,” said Smith. “There’s a bit going on out there with the new ball, and it’s been swinging all day.
“We’ll come out tomorrow and try and get a few more. If we can push up towards 300, get that extra bonus point, you never know. Then, with our new ball, we’ll try and make it count.
“We were disappointed with that period of play (From 118-1 to lose eight wickets relatively cheaply). But credit to Notts, I thought they bowled a lot better than they did in the morning.
“It shows at Trent Bridge what can happen if you bowl in the right areas. We can pile on that scoreboard pressure if we can get a couple of early wickets.”
Lancashire reached lunch in a healthy state at 109-1 from 32 overs, losing only Hameed caught in the gully off Brett Hutton after inside-edging onto his pads.
Procter settled quickly and reached lunch on 45 not out from only 58 balls, hitting two fours in Tahir’s first over, which went for 13.
To be fair to Tahir, however, he was much improved after lunch and kept a lid on things for his captain Steven Mullaney, the former Red Rose all-rounder.
Lancashire lost three wickets in an afternoon session which also saw Smith reach his second fifty of the season off 113 balls with seven fours.
Smith drove nicely down the ground on a couple of occasions.
But he saw Procter, Alviro Petersen and Croft all depart as Lancashire fell from 118-1 after 36 overs to 154-4 in the 54th.
Procter was bowled playing aggressively across the line at Tahir, although Petersen and Croft can consider themselves unfortunate, particularly the former.
He was adjudged caught behind down leg off Broad by umpire Alex Wharf, although the England man did not appeal and the keeper, Riki Wessels, only went up half-heartedly.
Croft was then trapped lbw by Tahir having been hit on the boot after advancing down the track.
The Red Rose reached 192-4 after 65 overs at tea, with Notts rattling through their overs. By that stage, Smith and Brown had added 38.
Broad, warming up for England’s forthcoming Test series against Pakistan, bowled beautifully.
He took the new ball and conceded only nine runs from his first eight overs.
He started new spells immediately after lunch and tea before taking the new ball with Lancashire at 235-5 from 80.
By that time, though, Tahir had picked up his third wicket by getting Smith stumped as the score slipped to 199-5 in the 70th.
The new ball worked for Notts as Harry Gurney, having switched ends with Broad from earlier to the Pavilion End, had Brown caught behind in the 83rd over - 239-6.
Broad then took a sharp return catch to get rid of Jordan Clark in the 88th over before Neil Wagner, in the next, was bowled off his helmet by a short ball from Gurney.
The ball initially hit him on the shoulder and ricocheted up into the helmet. It is hoped he will be fit to bowl tomorrow.
And when Liam Livingstone, for 33, miscued Broad high to Samit Patel at point in the 90th, Lancashire had lost three in three overs to fall to 253-9.
Kyle Jarvis and Matt Parkinson then added an unbeaten 20 through to close.
“Tomorrow morning’s session is going to be key to the whole game I think,” added Smith. “If we can get up to 300 and then bowl well, it’s going to go a long way to deciding which way this fixture goes.
“Personally, it was nice to get a score out there. I was disappointed I didn’t go on and get a big score because I felt set out there.”