Lancashire batsman Karl Brown revealed his surprise at being given a bowl, let alone take two massive wickets with his medium pace, to keep the Red Rose in the hunt against Notts at Trent Bridge.
The 21 year-old, who is playing his first LV County Championship game of the season, was given the ball by captain Glen Chapple for the first over after tea in an attempt to halt a free-flowing fifth wicket partnership between Australian David Hussey and Ali Brown.
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Hussey had bullied the Lancashire attack on the way to a 146-ball 126, while Brown hit 54 off 104 to put Lancashire to the sword in the afternoon, reaching 286-4 after 64 overs at tea.
Hussey is playing his first Championship match of a five-week spell in place of compatriot Adam Voges, and scored 101 runs in the afternoon session. The pair shared a fifth wicket stand of 170, scoring 164 of them in the middle session alone.
But Brown nipped in with two crucial wickets in his first three overs after the tea break - the prized wickets of Hussey and Brown - to reduce the hosts to a more manageable 305-7.
Nottinghamshire are still on top, having reached 369-9 at close, but it would have been a lot worse had golden arm Brown not struck when he did.
“Considering I wasn’t expecting to bowl, even to get two wickets was something that I was really happy with,” said Brown, who finished with figures of 2-30 from six overs. “The two wickets I got were really important. They were both going quite well, and the break in play for tea maybe affected their concentration.”
Oliver Newby (2-58 from 20 overs) and Steven Croft took two wickets each this morning, but the Red Rose only had one clear cut chance to add a fifth wicket this afternoon. Mal Loye dropped Hussey on 45 whilst fielding at point off the bowling of captain Glen Chapple.
Hussey brought up his hundred with a towering straight six off Gary Keedy. He had faced 123 balls and hit 18 fours and two sixes.
Opening batsman Paul Horton even got his first ever bowl in a competitive match for Lancashire just before tea, his off-spinners going for ten off one over.
Lancashire’s bowlers certainly had a satisfying opening morning, reducing the LV Division One’s second placed side, who won the toss, to 122-4 after 29 overs at lunch. Newby had Will Jefferson caught behind by the impressive Luke Sutton in the second over of the match to leave the score at 12-1, and he then trapped Bilal Shafayat lbw in the tenth with the score at 41-2.
Former Warwickshire batsman Mark Wagh played some classy strokes in a 56-ball 40, but flashed Croft’s second ball to VVS Laxman at second slip to leave the score at 94-3 in the 23rd over. And six overs later, with the lunch break looming, Croft forced Samit Patel (25) to slash behind to Sutton off the back foot. Nottinghamshire added just six more runs before the break.
There was definitely some early assistance through the air for Lancashire’s seam attack, who are missing Sajid Mahmood from this match on England Lions duty. It was a forgettable afternoon for the visitors, but they sprung to life straight after tea thanks to the surprise intervention from Brown.
Brown had his namesake Ali strangled down the leg-side by Sutton in the over after tea before left-arm spinner Keedy trapped Read lbw without playing a stroke. Brown then forced Hussey into a mistimed flick to Kyle Hogg at mid-on.
Mark Ealham (18) and Ryan Sidebottom shared 35 for the eighth wicket before the former edged Chapple behind to Sutton to leave the score at 340-8 in the 87th over. Darren Pattinson was trapped lbw by the skipper four overs later, and Chapple finished with 2-79 from 25.
“From tea onwards we are quite happy,” continued Brown. “We didn’t take a wicket in the afternoon, but we had to stick in. Thankfully we took five after tea, and now we are back in the game.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC