Notts game in the balance after a rain hit day
A weather-shortened day at Emirates Old Trafford, where only 54 overs of play were possible, ended at tea with Lancashire on 58-2 in their second innings, trailing Nottinghamshire by 6 runs.
Riki Wessels and Tom Moores combined in a gutsy partnership to frustrate Lancashire during the morning. The Nottinghamshire pair resumed on 127-6 and batted for the first 80 minutes of the session to add 67 vital runs to the total and take the visitors some way past Lancashire’s first innings score of 158.
Moores played a variety of attractive attacking shots, a cover drive for four bringing up the 50 partnership from 99 balls, before he launched a Keaton Jennings delivery for the only six of the match to date as Notts looked set to gain a significant advantage.
The introduction of spin provided the breakthrough for Lancashire with Liam Livingstone trapping Wessels lbw for 44 to end a partnership worth 82 priceless runs for the Trent Bridge outfit.
Rain then brought an early lunch with Notts on 204-7 and Lancashire quickly wrapped up the innings at the start of the afternoon. Luke Wood departed to a great catch at slip by Dane Vilas to give Livingstone a second wicket, Moores was bowled by Joe Mennie (3-46) for 38 and Jake Ball was stumped by Alex Davies for 9 with Livingstone picking up his third wicket to finish with 3-27.
That clatter of wickets ended the visitors’ first innings at 222 and holding a useful lead of 64 despite having lost their final four wickets for 28 runs. It was a good fightback by the Lancashire attack considering a much larger deficit appeared to be on the cards as the morning progressed.
Jennings was quickly off the mark with pull for four in Lancashire’s second innings, and he forged a steady partnership with Haseeb Hameed as the pair steadily eroded Nottinghamshire’s lead. Umpire Neil Mallender had to move swiftly to evade a fierce drive by Jennings off Samit Patel at one point but just as Lancashire’s openers had nearly reached parity, Harry Gurney struck with two wickets in consecutive overs to boost the visitors’ hopes.
Hameed edged behind to wicketkeeper Moores for 19 and the Moores-Gurney combination were soon celebrating further success, albeit Alex Davies could count himself somewhat unfortunate in getting a nick from an attempted pull to a wayward leg side delivery.
That left Lancashire on 51-2 and Livingstone had time to strike a lovely cover drive for four just before tea to steer Lancashire to 58-2 at the break to which Jennings had contributed 27 not out.
Rain and bad light prevented any further action from taking place, but even so it still leaves a game that is still very much alive going in to the final day.
“A good session for either side could still put them in a match winning position,” said our overseas signing Joe Mennie. “The rain has come in this afternoon and spoiled that a bit. But tomorrow is a massive day for both teams.”
The Australian fast bowler was pleased with how his Red Rose debut had gone so far.
“It was nice to get a few wickets and I thought I bowled pretty well and that the lads bowled pretty well too. It would have been nice to wrap things up a bit quicker this morning, but I thought they batted pretty well.
He did admit to a few nerves when play finally started yesterday.
“You’re always nervous when you come to a new club,” he said. “You come up against teams you don’t know much about. You can do all the research and talk to the other players but when you get out there it’s a different scenario.
“But I’ve settled in here very well and I’m pretty happy.
“I was happy to get my first spell out of the way and also bowl well. That was a massive confidence boost.
“As a unit I thought we did pretty well. Getting those wickets to helped to drag us back in (to the match). We seem to complement each other pretty well. Me and Bails kept the runs dry, as did Graham. I thought we gelled pretty well.
Photo: Simon Pendrigh