Notts 191 & 471-5 dec MCC 168 & 352 (Nottinghamshire win by 142 runs)

Champions overcome Loudon's century

A champion start for the champion county. Nottinghamshire wrapped up a comfortable victory over MCC with an armful of overs to spare in front of a scattering of spectators to get their season off to an encouraging start.

Yet they did not have everything their own way. For much of the day's play Warwickshire's Alex Loudon made a nuisance of himself, sticking around to score only the second first-class hundred of his career.

While his 172 for Durham UCCE three years ago was a record for his Alma Mater, this latest effort will probably carry more weight. It should also remind him that he can still bat. Although he scored a fistful of half-centuries for Warwickshire last season, it was his off-spin which occupied most of his attention. The 25-year-old Loudon is an extremely useful bowler, and might even become very good. He uses his height well, getting bounce and plenty of turn.

But it was as a batsman that he began life with Kent, and while the reincarnation as a spinner at Warwickshire did help to get him on the England tour to Pakistan and the A trip to the West Indies, the fluency of shot he demonstrated yesterday suggests that he should not neglect his batting. He showed a great deal of patience as he coped with the swinging ball in the morning, his judgment on what to leave and what to punish was sound.

Indeed, the only threat he faced on his way to three figures was running out of partners. It was not until the fall of the sixth wicket had brought Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan out to the middle that he was able to share the burden of chasing a target of 495 runs.

Bresnan played an unfettered innings, carving and driving at will. With perfect placement Loudon peppered the off side with unstoppable shots and for a while either side of tea the Nottinghamshire attack found itself up a blind alley as far as wickets went.

Bresnan had just reached his half-century when the breakthrough came. Paul Franks found the edge of Loudon's bat and Chris Read claimed the fourth of his five victims. It ended a four- and-a-half-hour stint by Loudon, who hit a six and 19 boundaries in his chanceless 193-ball innings.

Bresnan had been the more belligerent during their seventh wicket stand of 111. It took him 65 balls to smack his way to fifty.

The arrival of Monty Panesar injected even more urgency into the 21-year-old and he slugged his way to a career-best 94.

* The Sri Lanka captain, Marvan Atapattu, will miss the tour of England after failing to recover from a back injury. Mahela Jayawardene has been appointed captain and Kumar Sangakkara deputy for the 10-week, three-Test tour.

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