It might have been anticipated that the two returning England fast bowlers would have some impact on the first day here as an Old Trafford still in metamorphosis welcomed back Championship cricket, but probably not in the way it happened.
James Anderson, who had not bowled since the second Test in Sri Lanka a month ago, sent down 17 exemplary if wicketless overs in two spells, either side of a trip to hospital for an X-ray on a damaged right thumb, which happily revealed no fracture.
Stuart Broad, whose enforced absence goes back six weeks to the calf strain that curtailed his Sri Lanka tour, was also wicketless, having earlier risked another stain on his disciplinary record when making his feelings clearly known after being given out first ball.
The Nottinghamshire player disputed Steven Croft's claim to have caught him cleanly at short leg as he tried to sweep the left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan. Lancashire celebrated en masse but Broad stood his ground as umpire Stephen Gale consulted colleague Rob Bailey at square leg and then appeared to aim words at both Croft and Gale as reluctantly he walked off.
Gale encountered more disagreement only minutes later when Graeme Swann, another England player making his first domestic appearance of the season, stared at him in disbelief after being given out leg before to Kerrigan.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, said he believed Broad would not face any action. "He has seen the umpires and said he didn't feel his behaviour was unacceptable and they have not come to us to say it was, which they would normally have done, so hopefully that is the matter closed."
Anderson suffered his injury – to the heel of his right thumb – when he fielded a drive from James Taylor off his own bowling midway through the morning session. He bowled again after lunch but needed more ice treatment after taking another bang on the same area.
"It's pretty sore but it is good news that there is no real damage," Anderson said. "Otherwise I feel really good. If I continue to bowl like that the wickets will come."
All this overshadowed the batting performance of the day, from another England player, Samit Patel, whose 69 added at least a sheen of respectability to an otherwise mediocre performance from Nottinghamshire, who were dismissed for 169 after electing to bat first, the immaculate Glen Chapple taking 4 for 44, the hugely promising Kerrigan 4 for 45.
Lancashire are in a potentially strong position after their openers put on 48 before Paul Horton was leg before to Andre Adams to the last ball of the day.
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