Deadlock in a game of wait and see

Nottinghamshire 452 Lancashire 237-3
Click to follow
The Independent Online
They played the waiting game again here yesterday. Batsmen waited for the inevitable bad ball, bowlers were forced to wait for the less likely error of judgement and as for the gallant handful of frozen spectators, they simply awaited developments.

As no side should be bowled out cheaply on this pitch, they may have to wait a while yet. But in an unusual, sympathetic and maybe unprecedented gesture, Nottinghamshire invited them to watch proceedings from the relative warmth of a number of unoccupied sponsors' boxes.

What they saw was another one-sided contest with bat dominating ball on Trent Bridge's unyielding pitch. More batsmen, such as Chris Cairns and Paul Johnson on the one side and Jason Gallian and John Crawley on the other, took the opportunity to ease themselves into a semblance of form, but no one yet knows where the game is going.

Cairns and Johnson, in rattling up 100 together in 28 overs, seemed to locate more half-volleys than Lancashire had bowled all the previous day. Or maybe that was just an illusion fostered by two such accomplished front-foot drivers.

Gallian dug one in at Johnson to have him caught at slip with improbable brilliance - in this weather - by Neil Fairbrother who clutched the ball one-handed as he dived. Then Cairns was given out lbw as he aimed to work Steve Elworthy through mid-wicket or thereabouts.

Elworthy, shunning even a short-sleeve sweater, ran in well, bowled straight and deserved his rewards. This may come as a surprise to some Lancashire members who have already queried the wisdom of his signing, not least the one who condemned him at the club's annual meeting before he had even bowled a ball for the county.

Now Lancashire needed to spend some time in reconnaissance but Mike Atherton was soon gone and even on this pitch there might have been a hiccup or two while the ball was new.

Nottinghamshire could not maintain their early accuracy and Gallian and Crawley were soon ticking over smoothly. Not much encouraged the bowlers until Crawley, after hitting 10 fours in an 82-ball half-century, was caught behind, leaving Gallian and Fairbrother to consolidate.