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Defeat at Trent Bridge despite Hurst heroics

Defeat at Trent Bridge despite Hurst heroics

A maiden first-class century from young wicketkeeper Matthew Hurst could not stop Nottinghamshire completing a nine-wicket first victory of the season in their Vitality County Championship match at Trent Bridge.

Nottinghamshire had begun the final day of this Division One clash sniffing an innings win, holding a 72-run advantage with Lancashire six down. Yet 20-year-old Hurst defied them with an impressive 104 that included 10 fours and four sixes.

Lancashire were dismissed for 252, leaving the home side needing just 81 to win with 50 overs remaining, so the result was never in serious doubt, but given that they had been 61 for six on the third evening, the visitors could console themselves with having put up a fight.

Hurst and England spinner Tom Hartley (50) were the principal sources of frustration for Nottinghamshire, sharing a seventh-wicket stand of 116.

Dillon Pennington, who delivered several spells of top-class fast bowling over both innings, was rewarded with figures of four for 61, his best return so far for Nottinghamshire after moving from Worcestershire over the winter, before the home side wrapped up a 22-points win in 18.4 overs with opener Ben Slater their only loss.

Lancashire remain bottom of Division One after three defeats in their opening five matches, while Nottinghamshire have their first win under new red-ball captain Haseeb Hameed, whose magnificent unbeaten 247 in their first innings was the biggest component in their victory. Opener Hameed, who finished 24 not out in his second innings, was on the field for every minute of the contest

When Hartley joined Hurst at 61 for six on Sunday, a target of 172 just to make the home side bat a second time was looking beyond Lancashire.

But having battled through to the close, the pair set themselves again on the fourth morning, determined that those efforts would not go to waste.

They began with Nottinghamshire, who had made 501 in reply to Lancashire’s first-innings 331, still comfortably ahead and at short odds to get the job done ahead of the lunch interval.

But after seeing off Pennington and Olly Stone through their opening overs, the two kept their focus well enough to survive the first hour unscathed and grew confident enough as the ball began to lose its hardness to up the tempo, Hurst greeting leg-spinner Calvin Harrison’s appearance in the attack with a six over long-on.

An on-drive for four by Hurst off Harrison took the partnership into three figures. The pugnacious right-hander was dropped by Harrison at slip off Lyndon James on 46 but quickly completed his fifty from 87 balls, bringing the scores level in the same over.

Hartley’s half-century came off 98 balls with seven fours but he could not add to it before Harrison atoned for his earlier error with a fine catch at second slip as James at last achieved a breakthrough.

Pennington then had too much pace for Tom Bailey, who was dismissed leg before just ahead of lunch, Lancashire heading for the dining room with a lead of just 26 and only two wickets in hand.

With Phil Salt currently playing in the Indian Premier League, Hurst has made himself first-choice ‘keeper in the Lancashire squad but would justify his place as a batter on the evidence so far.

He had three half-centuries in nine first-class innings before this match and had the confidence to take on the likes of England speed merchant Stone and the similarly pacy Pennington despite suffering a painful blow on his bottom hand facing James just before lunch.

After Harrison’s dismissal of Will Williams left him and Saqib Mahmood as the last men standing, Hurst hammered Stone over the wide midwicket boundary and cleared the rope twice in the same James over to go to his hundred, before another attempt at a maximum saw him caught at deep midwicket off Harrison.

Mahmood ended Slater’s attempt to bring a rapid conclusion by having him caught behind for 31 off 32 balls but Hameed and Will Young guided Nottinghamshire to the finish line with no further alarms.


Photos: Luke Adams and Daniel Adams

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