Half centuries for Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Chilton, Tom Smith and Paul Horton ensured Lancashire made an impressive start against Notts at Trent Bridge today.
After Glen Chapple won the toss and elected to bat, Smith and Horton shared 87 for the opening wicket to put the hosts on the back foot.
And it laid the platform for Chanderpaul and Chilton to later share 151 in 50 overs for the third wicket, which proved to be the county’s highest stand for any wicket in four-day cricket this summer.
Things could have been far better, however, had Lancashire not lost three wickets in eight balls right at the end of the day, and they had to settle for a close of play score of 303-6 from 93 overs after they had been well placed at 292-3.
“At 303-6, you would take it any day,” commented Chanderpaul.
The prolific West Indian passed 500 runs in just his ninth innings on the way to a commanding 92 off 171 balls, including 13 boundaries. He was the day’s top scorer, while Chilton finished unbeaten on 61.
Former Old Trafford all-rounder Steven Mullaney dropped two catches at second slip, reprieving Smith and Chilton, although the hosts – lacklustre early on - improved as the day progressed.
Horton was the first man to reach his 50, his first in ten innings, before Smith followed him with the last ball of the morning session. However, that was not before Horton had been trapped lbw by Andre Adams for 51 in the 18th over.
The opener had hit eight boundaries in his 57-ball stay at the crease.
Smith and Chilton then shared a second wicket stand of 42 before the former edged Ryan Sidebottom to Alex Hales at first slip for 61 off 111 balls, leaving the score at 129-2 in the 35th over.
Chilton was happy to drop anchor on a pitch showing signs of uneven bounce. The one that got Horton seemed to keep low, while Chanderpaul was forced to steer a sharp lifter from Paul Franks over gully.
He continued: “If you bowl in good areas, things are happening for you. It was hard work at the end there because they bowled some good balls.
“If you bowl good lengths, there’s a thing or two happening. We were thinking it might have done a little bit more, but we played well.”
Chanderpaul had set about his innings with intent, flicking, deflecting and punching with great effect on the way to reaching his 50 off 88 balls with eight boundaries. The left-hander later raced through the 70s and early 80s, reverse sweeping left arm spinner Samit Patel for four at one point.
The Guyanan fell eight runs short of three figures when he was trapped lbw by Sidebottom with the fifth over with the new ball to leave the visitors at 280-3 in the 85th over.
There were four more overs and five balls before the players went off for bad light with almost seven still to be bowled.
Lancashire would obviously have been delighted had that been it for the day, but the umpires called for a restart.
Steven Croft was well caught by Adams at third slip off Sidebottom before the catcher struck twice in two balls with his medium pace. He trapped night-watchman Gary Keedy lbw and had Gareth Cross caught at first slip by Hales for a golden duck.
Lancashire reached 300 before stumps, in doing so clinching the third batting bonus point.
Editors note: Most of the online scorecards, including ours, have the wrong score at present. Luke Sutton is 5 not out, and the correct score is 303-6
Graham Hardcastle at Trent Bridge
Photo: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd