When conditions help the bowlers at Trent Bridge – and it is rare that they do not at this time of year – things tend to happen quite quickly. Only 34 overs were bowled between a dank, drizzly morning and a spectacular teatime downpour, but that was time enough for this game to advance significantly.
Lancashire needed four deliveries to claim the final Nottinghamshire wicket, but then collapsed to 69 for 6 with Jake Ball, the 23-year-old nephew of former England wicketkeeper Bruce French, taking two wickets on his Championship debut.
But for Peter Siddle’s visa delay and injuries to Andre Adams and Ajmal Shahzad, the right-arm seam bowler would have been preparing to travel to Southend with the Second IX.
Ball took his chance well enough, conceding only one boundary in his first five overs before the big moment of his afternoon, when Ashwell Prince was drawn into playing at a ball angled across him and was caught behind. It was an unusually soft dismissal for the South African left-hander and the key wicket from a Nottinghamshire point of view.
The debutant’s next over was wayward, conceding 13 runs including five wides from one delivery, but then he surprised Luke Procter with an inswinger to claim his second wicket. The other wickets were shared around with no one scoring more than Procter’s 18. Heaven knows what might have happened had Siddle and Adams played, although had Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg been fit for Lancashire, then Nottinghamshire might well not have made 272.
At Fenner’s the England captain, Alastair Cook, returned to action with Essex, making 39 against Cambridge University before he was leg before to 20-year-old seamer Alasdair Pollock. Cook’s England team-mate Ravi Bopara then shared a century partnership with Ben Foakes.