Both sides were so convinced that the pitch here would turn square that Lancashire told Saj Mahmood his match-winning half-century in the Roses game was not enough and Nottinghamshire jettisoned Charlie Shreck so that both could accommodate two spinners. By 25 past six on day two, 30 wickets had fallen and only two to slow bowlers.
Yet it is a spinner, the Nottinghamshire left-armer Graeme White, who may prove to have played the decisive role in this contest, as a batsman.
The 24-year-old former Northamptonshire player has been given only limited opportunities in four-day cricket since moving to Trent Bridge in 2009 but has made the most of this one, topping his highest first-class score for the county in each innings.
It was his positive approach that hauled Notts out of trouble on Tuesday in a 65-run partnership for the eighth wicket and he bettered that yesterday, applying himself with proper diligence where others had taken liberties to help guide his side into a position that may be a winning one.
White batted more than an hour and a half for his first half-century for Notts, getting there with a six over midwicket off Tom Smith that was not characteristic of what had gone before. He had shared a stand of 71 with Steven Mullaney, the biggest of the match, and once the visitors' lead passed 250, you suspected it might be too much for Lancashire on a pitch that is not likely to become easier to bat on.
Jack Birkenshaw, the former purveyor of right-arm off breaks, left during the afternoon, having fulfilled his obligations as pitch liaison officer, pronouncing that the pitch was a "good cricket wicket", offering good carry, and that essentially the bowlers had simply outperformed the batsmen.
There was little argument on that score. Kyle Hogg and Andre Adams, both medium pacers, have been the key performers. After Hogg's 5 for 28 from 13 overs, Adams retorted with 6 for 71 from 24 as Lancashire were dismissed for 179. Glen Chapple became the second seamer to claim a six-wicket haul, among which Riki Wessels, Adam Voges and Chris Read paid for loose shots and Samit Patel lost his off stump in an error of judgement, shouldering arms to a ball that swung in appreciably.