Nottinghamshire claimed the honours on the second day at Trent Bridge, performing with both bat and ball under gloomy skies today.
New Zealander Andre Adams took three more wickets as Lancashire lost four for 16 to slip to 319 all out this morning. Adams claimed his best return for Notts – 6-79 from 26 overs – demonstrating exactly how to utilise the swing and seam on offer.
Luke Sutton was caught by Samit Patel at second slip off Adams, who also trapped Sajid Mahmood lbw and had Kyle Hogg caught behind by Chris Read. Ryan Sidebottom also got Mark Chilton lbw for 67 to finish with 4-97.
Alex Hales and Read later shared an unbroken fifth wicket partnership of 84 inside 24 overs as the hosts reached 178-4 from 53 overs when rain halted proceedings two overs before the tea break. The players never returned.
At the start of their innings the leaders looked like losing a wicket almost every ball in the 19 overs they faced before lunch, with Chapple and Mahmood unplayable at times.
They were reduced to 37-3, but the afternoon session was a different story as Ali Brown, first of all, Hales and Read found the boundary with regularity.
Wicketkeeper Sutton said: “It was a frustrating afternoon. We bowled too many poor balls to be honest, it's as simple as that. I don't think there was any difference in the wicket before and after lunch.
“The ball wasn't as new – but, in truth, I don't think we bowled as well with it. That's the harsh reality of it.”
Chapple had snared opener Matthew Wood in the first over, caught behind by Sutton, to leave the score at 1-1.
Mahmood then had Mark Wagh caught at second slip by Tom Smith before Patel was caught behind by Sutton off Hogg in the last over of the morning session. Seven wickets had fallen for a grand total of 54 runs before lunch.
Brown hit five fours in his 28, but he was trapped lbw by a Mahmood delivery which kept low.
But then Hales and Read united for 23.5 overs to frustrate their visitors, who let Hales off the hook twice shortly before the rain came. Croft dropped him on 78 off Smith before Smith dropped him on 81 off Hogg, both catches going begging at second slip.
Hales had reached 50 off 97 balls, including eight boundaries, and he had hit another six when play was suspended. Read had hit five fours and a pulled six off Smith in his 35 not out off 65 balls.
The pitch was still causing problems for the batsmen during the afternoon. There were numerous plays and misses, while Read and Hales both took blows from balls which reared off a good length from Chapple and Smith respectively.
Sutton added: “Overhead conditions have been pretty muggy, and the ball has swung. So it was very frustrating this afternoon. 320 looks a pretty good score, and we need to get into them early in the morning to get a significant first innings lead.
“If we can nip them out and get a good first innings lead, then bat well, we'll still be in good shape to win this game.”
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd