Notts v Lancs CLOSE
Lancs 273-9 (96 overs)
Honours were just about shared on the opening day of Nottinghamshire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at Trent Bridge.
Tom Smith scored 70, having battled his way through the first two sessions, as the Division One leaders posted 273 for nine, after winning the toss.
The opener faced exactly 200 deliveries and hit nine fours in his 260-minute innings, adding 84 for the second wicket with Luke Procter, who made 48.
Bowling honours were split between Stuart Broad, with three for 50, and Imran Tahir, who impressed on his first appearance of the season in taking three for 78.
Lancashire’s decision to bat first looked a brave one, with runs appearing difficult to come by in a tricky opening hour, in which Broad conceded just nine runs from eight testing overs.
His departure from the attack coincided with the initial breakthrough as Haseem Hameed thrust bat and pad towards Brett Hutton and ballooned a looping catch into the hands of Michael Lumb in the gully.
Procter took the fight to the home attack and raced to 45 out of the 75 runs added in the second hour of the morning.
Tahir, who played one championship match for the county last year, had an inauspicious start to his return to Nottinghamshire colours, going for 13 from an opening over which included two boundaries and two no balls.
The South African international found his rhythm quickly and teamed up with Broad to apply pressure at the start of the afternoon. With over 1,300 first class wickets between them, the experienced duo winkled out three key batsmen to halt the Lancashire march.
Procter’s eyes lit up as he tried to heave Tahir away but he paid the ultimate price as the ball straightened enough to bowl him. The spinner also had Steven Croft given out lbw but the visitors’ captain may feel that his purposeful stride forward may have saved him on another day.
In between, Broad removed Alviro Petersen, thanks to a diving, one-handed catch by Riki Wessels down the leg side. With Chris Read still absent, missing his fourth consecutive championship match whilst recuperating from a hand injury, Wessels proved himself as a more than capable deputy.
The ‘keeper added to his haul of dismissals by completing a smart stumping to end Smith’s vigil and then took a routine edge as Karl Brown feathered the new ball behind.
Broad produced the ‘wow’ moment of the day as he completed a stunning return catch to account for Jordan Clark but the mood quickly changed as Neil Wagner was felled by a Harry Gurney bouncer which struck the helmet, before rolling back on to the stumps.
Thankfully, after the fielders had gestured for immediate treatment, the New Zealand international was able to get up and walk off under his own steam.
Liam Livingstone made a typically punchy 33 but he fell just before the close, with Samit Patel taking a well-judged catch in the covers to give Broad his third scalp.