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April 13, 2012
Nottinghamshire 161 and 231 for 4 (Lumb 104*) lead Durham 129 by 262 runs
When Nottinghamshire identified Michael Lumb as one of the players to solve their championship batting frailties, there were one or two sceptical expressions. Lumb was the batsman who went from unsung county professional to Twenty20 adventurer in the twinkle of a Shane Warne eye. It is asking a lot for him to make the return journey, but on this evidence he wants to make it.
Two championship matches into his Nottinghamshire career, Lumb has made what could prove to be a telling statement. He ended the second day on 104 not out, only his 13th first-class century. At 31, it is not too late for him to reinvent himself as an old sweat of the county circuit.
He does not look like an old sweat, not quite yet, but beneath his relaxed manner there is a determination not to be remembered as a two-dimensional cricketer. "The move to Notts was never just about the one-day format," he said. "I know I still have a lot to offer in the four-day game and hopefully that begins to prove it."
He began tentatively, understandable as 21 wickets had fallen for 306 runs when he came to the crease a second time, and his first dozen or so runs rattled off the edge to the sightscreen. But he settled after that, first with Alex Hales and then with James Taylor, playing with great discernment. By the time Scott Borthwick, a young legspinner with freezing hands, pulled down three long hops which he cut through cover to reach 99, he had earned a few gifts. A pushed single into the legside against Ben Stokes brought up his first hundred since he made one against the Durham attack for Hampshire at Basingstoke two years ago.
Lumb first played IPL alongside Warne at Rajasthan and later moved to Deccan before lack of opportunities persuaded him not to return this year and concentrate instead on rebuilding his county career. He was also part of England's victorious World Twenty20 side, opening the batting with Craig Kieswetter, but he broke his foot when fielding at silly point to Kieswetter at Taunton two seasons ago and the injury has had its complications. During Notts' pre-season tour of Barbados, he was still putting his foot in an ice bucket after batting; there was no need for that in the north-east, where the temperature was icy enough as it was.
"I have had a bit of trauma with the feet," he said. "I broke the foot, ruptured ankle ligaments, and had a compete reconstruction of my right ankle in the winter. I've done a lot of physio work and the ankle feels really good now and spending that time in the middle begins to prove it."
Hales had made the first half-century of the match as Nottinghamshire have made a better fist of things second time around. Like his Notts team-mate James Taylor, he was omitted from England's development squad after a largely unproductive winter with the Lions in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but in testing conditions he strove to modify his attacking style, willing himself to play with deliberation, against Graham Onions in particular.
Durham batted poorly before lunch, adding only 74 in losing their last seven wickets. Ben Phillips, 37 now, and beginning his 17th season of first-class cricket, made early inroads, including Stokes who played on for 33 as he shaped to leave.
With two innings completed before lunch on the second day, there had been some disorientated batting in challenging conditions. Google has invented prototype goggles which can be booted up like a computer and all manner of information programmed in to allow the wearer to see the world in a whole new way. It will doubtless cause a lot of people to crash into each other in Kensington High Street, but if these early-season collapses continue there will be a few county batsmen wondering whether they are worth a go.
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