Robinson makes hay on straw-coloured pitch

Cricket: Notts 320-4 v Lancashire
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The Independent Online
To borrow a phrase from that celebrated Lancastrian Albert Ramsbottom, there was nothing to laugh at all for the red rose county here yesterday. They lost the toss, the pitch was flat, the weather bleak and Tim Robinson was even more unforgiving.

Robinson's chanceless innings of 122, compiled from 263 deliveries with 12 fours, was exactly what Nottinghamshire's doctor would have ordered after losing to Somerset well inside three days. It enabled them to spend the rehabilitative day at the crease that all out-of-form sides need.

With that in mind, the pitch could have been made to order. Straw coloured and reminiscent of the Trent Bridge featherbeds of yore, it permitted no deviation off the seam and negligible bounce. It was far too cold for the ball to swing so Lancashire soon knew they had to bowl length and line and hope for the best.

To their credit, they stuck to a thankless job very well indeed. Even allowing for Nottinghamshire's lack of form it was no mean feat to restrict them to around three runs an over in conditions where the quicker bowlers dare not strive too much for pace for fear of damaging something and where there is nothing yet for the spinners.

Robinson and Paul Pollard laid a foundation of 106 in 45 overs, no risks were called for and none was taken. It was a surprise when Pollard drove a catch to cover and Nottinghamshire's main disappointment of the day will be that Graeme Archer and Ashley Metcalfe also got themselves out when they should have been planning greater things.

Robinson can rarely be accused of such folly. Here, even though it was cold enough for hot tea to be served at two drinks intervals, his concentration never wavered. The ball was stroked and cajoled about, his bat was mostly very straight and not often passed.

There seemed no way of prising him out until, after some five and a half hours, John Crawley swooped from cover as he attempted a single and scored a direct hit which won what must have been a very close run out decision.

Gloucestershire's Tim Hancock hit 89, his highest score for almost two years, to help his side to reach 263 after being 80 for 4 against Somerset.