Nottinghamshire in charge against Lancashire
Nottinghamshire hold the upper hand against Lancashire as they look to make it back-to-back Division One wins in the final phase of the LV=Insurance County Championship.
Making light of the absence of injured England pace man Saqib Mahmood, Lancashire’s bowlers had them 127 for five in their second innings. Tom Bailey and George Balderson picked up two wickets each after Ben Duckett made 44 for the home side.
But after earlier bowling out the visitors for 168, with Brett Hutton taking five for 62, to claim a first-innings lead of 104, Nottinghamshire hold an advantage of 231 going into the third day and Lancashire may not fancy chasing too many more on a wearing surface.
A win for either team would give them the lead in the Division One table if leaders Warwickshire fail to beat Hampshire at Edgbaston, with every point vital in the four-round mini-series that will decide this year’s title.
Mahmood, meanwhile, continues to be assessed after suffering a side strain on the opening day.
From 28 for two overnight, Lancashire lost four wickets in the morning despite Nottinghamshire putting down two chances in the slips.
Luke Fletcher, the competition’s leading wicket-taker, struck first as Balderson chipped to short midwicket but saw Danny Lamb spilled at second slip on 12 and Josh Bohannon at fourth on seven.
Bohannon profited, racing to 35 before edging Hutton to second slip, his departure quickly followed by that of Lamb, caught behind after going seven overs without a run.
Hutton, who had both wickets overnight, claimed another in the last over of the session as Rob Jones, looking to play to leg, nicked to third slip, and bagged his fifth soon after lunch when Dane Vilas was leg before offering no shot.
Paterson nipped one back to uproot Steven Croft’s off-stump and dismissed Bailey leg before and, after last man Mahmood joined him with a runner, wicketkeeper George Lavelle was caught behind swinging at Fletcher, having made a bright 32 in only his third first-class match.
Openers Duckett and Ben Slater extended Nottinghamshire’s lead by 51 before Balderson hurried one through to bowl the latter. Duckett was denied a second half-century of the match when Lamb had him leg before, and with still something in the pitch, Lancashire’s bowlers stuck manfully to the task.
They were rewarded further as Sam Northeast fell to an athletic catch by Lavelle off Bailey, Joe Clarke to a catch at second slip off Balderson and Steven Mullaney to another fine effort by Lavelle, five wickets falling for 56.