Nottinghamshire recover after Hogg burst
Lancashire 86 for 4 v Nottinghamshire 203
Lancashire wound up with more to do than they anticipated on a day in which Kyle Hogg demonstrated for the second time in five days that he may be entering his peak years as a bowler after a decade bedevilled by injuries and frustration.
Hogg, who played the starring role in the Roses victory last week that put Lancashire on the heels of Division One leaders Durham, maintained his form here, completing his third five-wicket haul of the summer and raising his overall wickets tally to 36, the best of his career.
At the height of his powers, he took three wickets in the same over without conceding a run, first getting lift and movement to defeat Alex Hales, caught behind off an outside edge at just the moment he was hoping to celebrate his call-up for the England Lions side to face Sri Lanka A next week.
He then had Adam Voges leg before, on the front foot but not forward enough, two balls before seeming to surprise Steven Mullaney with a ball that the former Lancashire player edged on to his stumps. Hogg does not have lightning pace but his line here was immaculate.
At that point, Nottinghamshire were 27 for 5, which was not what they had in mind when Chris Read won the toss and chose to bat first. In fact, after limping to 27 for the loss of Neil Edwards, who had nibbled one to the wicketkeeper in Hogg's fourth over, Nottinghamshire had surrendered four wickets for no runs in the space of nine deliveries, Riki Wessels having played across one from Tom Smith.
Before lunch arrived they were seven down, Read having played back to one from Glen Chapple to be leg before and Samit Patel, another in the Lions squad, having suffered a rush of blood against Gary Keedy. Lancashire's principal left-arm spinner had bowled only two balls when Patel attempted to hit him out of the ground over mid-wicket. The ball instead soared into the sky off a leading edge, with Smith safely under it at mid-off.
Yet Nottinghamshire did fashion a recovery. Graeme White was also tempted to test Keedy's equilibrium and succeeded, twice hitting him for six, the second of which crashed on to a roof in Harrod Drive, which borders the south end of the ground, and had to be retrieved from the guttering.
But Andre Adams was the real revelation. The New Zealander normally adopts the Patel approach from the off but this time was a model of restraint, with 33 off 54 balls, as he and White added 65 for the eighth wicket, even if the manner of his dismissal, caught at long on, was familiar in the end.
Yet, for unexpectedness, Adams was trumped by Darren Pattinson, a man with only two scores above 30 in 67 previous first-class innings. The ball had lost its hardness and the Lancashire bowling a little of its venom, while neither Keedy nor Simon Kerrigan were getting much turn, but Pattinson played admirably straight and collected six boundaries before Chapple had Luke Fletcher caught at second slip, the last wicket pair having added a further 55 runs to claim a batting point, and Pattinson top scorer with 35 not out.
Lancashire's three bowling points cut Durham's lead to two, enabling Paul Horton and Stephen Moore to lead the reply with confidence high. As they reached 67 without loss, Nottinghamshire will have wondered if the moment was right to bring their two spinners, Patel and White, into the action.
But then their perspective changed rapidly as Adams at last made the breakthrough, trapping Moore with an inswinging delivery. When he then dismissed Horton and Mark Chilton to catches at the wicket in his next over, the former nibbling but the latter wafting at a wider ball, Lancashire were suddenly 68 for 3. Pattinson soon bowled Karl Brown and there is work to do on the second morning if the result - almost certain to be positive here, one way or another, unless the weather has some say - is not to go against them.
Results have been plentiful for Lancashire this season, which is why few Lancashire members will have many complaints that not one Championship match will now be staged at Old Trafford this year.
It had been planned, after the realignment of the square, that the last game of the season, against Hampshire, would serve as a small consolation to Old Trafford members disappointed with this season's switch to Liverpool but Mike Watkinson, Lancashire's director of cricket, explained that with only five pitches to pick from, none of which would be in ideal condition, it had been decided to give a sixth match to Liverpool.
As it happens, all four Championship matches at the Aigburth ground so far this season have produced results, three going to Lancashire, and there has not been a draw there in 10 matches since 2004. Little wonder it has become a popular venue, although not as popular, it seems, as Southport, where the first day of Championship cricket since 1999 attracted 2,606 paying spectators, the largest number for a Lancashire home Championship day this season.