Cricket: Robinson has to rely on spinners

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Nottinghamshire 207-8 v Lancashire

THIS IS a tricky match for Nottinghamshire, who know they must win if they are to maintain a realistic interest in the Championship, but find themselves with several disadvantages to overcome.

Chris Lewis, whose last three matches have been his best of the summer, is with England; Andy Pick, their fast-bowling spearhead, is sidelined by a hip injury; Paul Johnson, on whose pugnacious batting they rely heavily when acceleration is required, is playing but has a dodgy knee.

Not the least of captain Tim Robinson's dilemmas has been over how to instruct Ron Allsopp, the wily Trent Bridge groundsman, in the matter of pitch preparation. In the end the choice was a slow turner. Accordingly, Robinson has picked three left-arm spinners: Jimmy Adams, Andy Afford and Jimmy Hindson.

The toss went his way but, if he had it in mind to bat for a couple of days and bowl Lancashire out twice, he will have needed a rethink. Nottinghamshire batted dismally.

Robinson and Paul Pollard did the spadework in an opening stand spanning 2hr 35min, but after the captain had fallen to Gary Yates, the ball spinning back on to the stumps off a defensive bat, no one could add any substantial layers. Yates had a long day's toil, and his off-breaks were rewarded with four wickets.

Pollard's three-hour vigil ended when he shuffled into one from Glen Chapple that bounced on the low side, Adams was never fluent. Johnson passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season, and was a little unlucky when he picked up a leg- side ball from Peter Martin only to find Chapple lurking around the corner.

Much may now hinge on how the left-arm trio perform, although not the position of coach Alan Ormrod, who has pleased the Nottinghamshire committee enough during his first five months in the job to be offered a new contract.