Match Preview: Nottinghamshire vs Lancashire
Nottinghamshire v Lancashire
LV= Insurance County Championship
Sunday September 5 - Wednesday 8, 2021, 10.30am
Lancashire head to Trent Bridge on the back of a high-scoring draw against Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this week, a game in which they fought back impressively following a disappointing opening day when the Bears made 259-3.
The Division One table has been log-jammed somewhat by a victory for Notts at Somerset in the opening round of games last week.
With three games to go, it now reads as follows; Warwickshire 33, Lancashire 28.5, Notts 28, Somerset 20.5, Hampshire 19.5, Yorkshire 16.5.
As the Red Rose and the Bears drew at Emirates Old Trafford, Notts beat Somerset by an innings at Taunton. It was a victory built upon a century for spinning all-rounder Liam Patterson-White and seven wickets apiece for seamers Luke Fletcher and Dane Paterson.
Matthew Parkinson also took seven wickets in the match for Lancashire against Warwickshire, while Josh Bohannon hit a brilliant 170 as the hosts replied to a first-innings 371 with 341. Warwickshire then reached 239-6 in their second innings before the players shook hands on a draw.
Nottinghamshire are having an exceptional season in the County Championship, something coach Peter Moores and co have been longing for following recent struggles against the red ball.
Take Coronavirus out of the equation and Notts would have started 2020 in Division Two of the Championship.
Instead, the new Conference system enabled them to start last season’s shortened Bob Willis Trophy on a level playing field. There was further frustration last year when they ended the campaign winless.
But this season, they have got on a roll and have an excellent chance of clinching silverware.
In beating Derbyshire in early May, they won for the first time in 30 first-class matches - a run dating back to 2018.
In all, Notts have won five of 11 Championship matches this season.
They won four in 10 to finish top of Group One from Warwickshire, who actually beat the Trent Bridge side twice and carried more points forward, before beating Somerset by an innings inside three days at Taunton earlier this week to start Division One in ideal fashion.
Captained by Steven Mullaney, Notts have employed South African seamer Dane Paterson as their overseas player. But it is another seamer who has stood out for them this year - Luke Fletcher.
The 32-year-old is the only bowler in the competition to have reached the 50-wicket mark, claiming 54 to be precise with four hauls of five wickets or more.
Haseeb Hameed is their leading run-scorer with 642 in nine games, a haul which has elevated him back into England’s Test team. Instead of facing his former county over the next few days, he is facing India at the Kia Oval and will be returning to Emirates Old Trafford for next week’s fifth Test.
Fellow opener Ben Slater (636) and Mullaney (606) are their next best performers with the bat.
The two sides met at Trent Bridge in last season’s Bob Willis Trophy, the game finishing in a rain-affected draw which Nottinghamshire had the better of on the back of a sizeable first-innings 472 all out.
Bens Slater and Duckett both scored centuries - 142 and 116, sharing 178 for the second wicket. Notts finished day one on 268-2 before the second day was rained off.
Notts finished on 472 all out, with three wickets apiece for Tom Bailey and Liam Livingstone, before Lancashire closed day three on 129-6 and were bowled out for 173 early on a fourth day also weather-hit.
They were immediately asked to follow-on, but finished on 120-0 from 40 overs as Alex Davies made 69 not out and Keaton Jennings unbeaten on 37.
What they said
Saqib Mahmood says he is putting England matters to the back of his mind having broken into the Test squad on the back of some impressive white ball displays.
Mahmood missed out on a Test debut at Emerald Headingley late last month, with Craig Overton preferred.
The Red Rose quick claimed 13 wickets in three ODI and as many T20 internationals against Pakistan in July. He claimed the player of the series award with nine wickets in the ODI series victory.
Mahmood was released back to play for Lancashire with Chris Woakes back from injury, with him claiming five wickets in the draw against Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford.
A Championship title challenge, says the Rochdale quick, is “at the top of my priority list at the moment”.
“I was close to playing (at Headingley), but they went with Craig (Overton) in the end and the way he performed was pretty good. It's hard to get in the side when the boys are bowling well, but that's the way you want it. It's just a case of taking that opportunity when it comes.
“To get in the England Test side is hard work. If I had made it, it would have been great. But hopefully there will be another chance.
"It's crazy how things work. Initially I wasn't in any of the squads, but I got my opportunity through the squad isolating and put in some performances. Before you know it, you're in the frame again.
"As a cricketer, you’re always looking to improve.
“I feel I do that every year, and I work on things over the winter. So to get the rewards for that is a great feeling.
“I'm sure when I get some time off to reflect, it will be nice. But, personally, I'm still thinking about the rest of the season and what I can potentially achieve with Lancashire.”