Ryan Sidebottom's work-out ahead of the first Ashes team selection reached a satisfactory peak with a couple of wickets here yesterday but his performance was largely a footnote as Nottinghamshire batted themselves into a commanding position.
It might be a different story by this evening. Lancashire, set to chase a theoretical 393 to win, have somehow to find a way to survive the last day if they are to avoid a third consecutive defeat and no one will be keener to see them fail than Sidebottom. A clutch of wickets would not only enhance his chances of facing the Australians in Cardiff next week but also help Nottinghamshire keep Durham under pressure at the top of the Championship.
It seems like the perfect platform for the left-arm swing bowler, one to which he owes a debt in part to an Australian, as it happens, after a 141-run partnership for Nottinghamshire's fourth wicket between David Hussey and Mark Wagh. Hussey hit 74 off 78 balls yesterday, although he played second fiddle to Wagh, who hit an exhilarating 131.
Earlier, Sidebottom had picked up the wickets of Luke Sutton and Glen Chapple, whose 55 for a while at least kept Lancashire in the contest. However, having lost Paul Horton, their opener, to a run-out in the shadows of the evening, they may be out of it now.