Adams helps Notts make fine start to title defence

Hampshire 218 Nottinghamshire 6-0
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After the loss of Ryan Sidebottom to Yorkshire during the winter, the chances of Nottinghamshire retaining the County Championship must logically be diminished but if any of their remaining bowlers has the capacity to demolish that notion then Andre Adams is clearly the one.

Undemonstrative and understated, New Zealand-born Adams was far and away the most influential member of the title-winning side. His tally of 68 Championship wickets was unsurpassed. Fittingly, it was his wickets against Lancashire at Old Trafford, in the final session of a gripping season, that secured the prize.

After a winter in Auckland, he returned to England only last Monday but showed no sign of needing to acclimatise. Hampshire, who were put in after Chris Read won the toss for Nottinghamshire, shaped as if they would have the better of the day, reaching 91 without loss. But once Adams had settled into his rhythm, the picture changed rapidly. They were dismissed for 218, Adams finishing with 5 for 54.

Otherwise, it might have been a day for those pundits who have predicted a more modest season for Nottinghamshire to congratulate themselves on their wisdom. Injuries to Darren Pattinson and Andy Carter had required the champions to recall Charlie Shreck from his loan at Kent after only one match, which did not augur well. There was a touch of green about the pitch and the ball wobbled about under an overcast sky but for more than an hour and a half, as Shreck and Luke Fletcher had handed over to Adams and Paul Franks, there was little sign of a breakthrough. Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson settled into a productive opening partnership. Everything changed, however, in the last half-dozen overs of the morning.

Adams fell, five short of a half-century, when he went to pull his namesake only to miscue, the ball flying off the top edge into the hands of Fletcher at long leg. And worse was to come, in the shape of three wickets in consecutive deliveries.

Shreck claimed two, as Johann Myburgh thinly edged to Read behind the stumps and Neil McKenzie, facing his first ball, was undone by a shorter delivery that flew off the shoulder of the bat to gully, where Samit Patel took a good catch above his head. The first ball of Adams's next over then accounted for Dawson, trapped in his crease by a full inswinger.

When Nick Pothas was bowled through the gate by Shreck shortly after the restart, Hampshire were 116 for five and though Dominic Cork joined James Vince to fashion a recovery Adams pegged them back, dismissing each in turn with balls that nipped back. A stunning catch by Ali Brown at extra cover, diving full length, made Sean Ervine his fifth victim.

Fletcher claimed Danny Briggs as his sole success, Shreck upping his tally to four when he had David Griffiths caught at first slip.