Rain and sun conspire against Notts
Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship title ambitions receded further on another weather-ravaged day against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Their disappointment at being limited to one over’s play yesterday was compounded by the loss of a further 69 today.
While heavy overnight rain and a torrential downpour this morning were the reasons behind play not starting until 4pm, the setting sun caused a delay of more than 20 minutes late on.
It was a bizarre - not to mention hugely ironic - late twist on a day that saw Somerset, who have been blessed with significantly better weather in Durham, usurp Notts at the top of the table.
Notts progressed to 89 for two in the 27 overs possible today here, but the strides made by title rivals Somerset and Yorkshire will be of equal concern to Notts as the lack of time they have spent on the pitch here.
Somerset reached 226 for four after bowling Durham out for 286 at the Emirates Durham ICG - their haul of four bonus points takes them two clear of Notts at the summit - while Yorkshire, who began the game seven points adrift of top spot, have collected four against Kent at Headingley Carnegie.
Notts made healthy initial progress when they eventually resumed after tea on eight without loss, Alex Hales and Paul Franks, who made 36 and 40 respectively, extending their fluent opening alliance to 75 in 15 overs.
Both batted with an urgency which reflected Notts' desire to make up for lost time, prospering against the new ball on a pitch that showed few signs of being under cover for the best part of two days.
Sajid Mahmood was taken for 15 in an over and Kyle Hogg’s opening spell proved equally fruitless as Hales and Franks made use of the plentiful gaps in the field.
However, Gary Keedy’s introduction into the attack checked Notts’ momentum, the left-arm spinner drying up the runs before locating Hales’ edge as he pushed forward at one that spun and bounced appreciably.
The amount of turn extracted by Keedy cannot have done much for Notts’ mood, for they have no specialist spinner in their side.
Left-hander Franks followed three overs later, undone by the angle and caught behind via a faint outside edge as he played back to Tom Smith.
Mark Wagh and Adam Voges were sufficiently inconvenienced by the glare of the sun off the roof of the Stretford End media centre to leave the field shortly after 5.30pm. although it will be of little consolation to Notts that this is the last first-class game being played here before the square is turned 90 degrees to avoid such problems.
The third-wicket pair continued to bat with watchfulness in the 3.4 overs permitted after the resumption, by which time survival was the primary objective.
With Yorkshire’s game looking set to end in a positive result, and Somerset in a position to push for victory over Durham, the likelihood of Notts needing to engineer a result to maintain their title hopes is increasing all the time.
Whether Lancashire, whose title dream ended last week, are willing to co-operate is another matter.