All things considered – especially an extraordinary batting collapse by Lancashire – Nottinghamshire had the better of things on day two here but the two batsmen at the crease overnight still have much to do to gain the upper hand against a side battling to stay in the race for the County Championship.
With the ball swinging more than it had on the first day, the unbeaten 87 from 21-year-old Alex Hales that held the leaders together as they sought to deliver a meaningful reply to Lancashire's 319 was a gutsy effort, even if he did enjoy a couple of major strokes of luck.
He and his captain, Chris Read, had shared a partnership worth 84 when rain arrived at tea. But with no David Hussey in the side and Adam Voges, his replacement, not due until next week, Nottinghamshire's batting is one component light and once the fifth-wicket pair are parted, Lancashire will be among the all-rounders and the tail.
What's more, Nottinghamshire are still 141 behind, which means that a morning session as eventful as yesterday's could rapidly put the visitors in control. Knowing local conditions as they do, Nottinghamshire would have considered a score close to 320 as a decent effort.
How Lancashire will kick themselves, then, that they did not do even better. Before Shivnarine Chanderpaul was out on Tuesday, they were 280 for 2. But after losing three wickets in eight balls on the first evening, they lost four in 14 yesterday, which meant that, adding the two catastrophic passages together, they had surrendered their last seven wickets for 27 runs in the space of 56 deliveries.
As usual here, it was the swinging ball that did the damage. Andre Adams, who finished with two in two balls on Monday, could not complete the hat-trick but it was not long before he was celebrating again as Luke Sutton edged to third slip.
Ryan Sidebottom ended Mark Chilton's five-hour 67 with the plummest of leg-befores, after which Adams removed Sajid Mahmood and Kyle Hogg with the first and last balls of the 100th over to finish with 6 for 79, his best figures for Nottinghamshire.
Adams, 35, who played against England in his one Test appearance in 2002, was a decent limited-overs all-rounder during his peak years with New Zealand but his career had seemed on the wane. In the last couple of years, however, he has flourished as a bowler in England and his tally of 51 first-class wickets at 23.06 this year – his best for one season – follows 48 last summer.
Batting, Nottinghamshire knew they faced a tough time in the 19 overs they faced before lunch and lost Matt Wood, Mark Wagh and Samit Patel cheaply. Mahmood was the pick of the Lancashire attack. But the bowling lacked discipline in the afternoon and Hales and Ally Brown put on 57 before Mahmood made his second breakthrough. Not that batting was ever easy. Hales, an opener of straight bat and upright stance who drives well, was dropped by Steven Croft on 78 off Tom Smith and by Smith off Hogg on 81.Reuse content