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Jon Culley at Old Trafford
May 3, 2012
Nottinghamshire 169 and 122 for 2 (Lumb 40*, Edwards 40) lead Lancashire 146 (Moore 43, Adams 7-32) by 145 runs
You cannot help but conclude that there is something odd going on when Glen Chapple and Andre Adams, quite probably the two finest bowlers on the county circuit, can reach the combined age of 74 and have only one Test cap between them.
Chapple's extraordinary overlooking by the England selectors has been noted with incredulity on several occasions during an exemplary first-class career and there is bemusement, too, that Adams stepped out for a five-day game only once, against England in Auckland, his home town, a decade ago.
No one now bowls with greater consistency, both in terms of economy and strike rate, than the 36-year-old Adams, who hit another peak with career-best figures of 7-32 to give Nottinghamshire an unlikely first-innings lead on which they have so far built solidly enough to suggest that Lancashire, the defending champions, will struggle to avoid a third defeat in a season only four matches old.
He was the chief architect of a post-lunch implosion that saw Lancashire's last six wickets fall for 15 runs inside 12 overs, conceding a lead of 23 that Nottinghamshire did not envisage when they were bowled out for 169 on Wednesday, their downfall in no small part down to Chapple's impressive support for a luckless James Anderson.
Adams dismissed Steven Croft and Gareth Cross with consecutive deliveries to add another five-for to an impressive tally that now stands at 28 in his career, 13 of which have come in the last three seasons. He had set the ball rolling by bowling Karl Brown with the third delivery of the day and ended what was shaping up as a potentially threatening innings by Stephen Moore when he produced the ball he seems able to summon at will, drawing the batsman forward but not allowing him to drive and moving it away just enough to take the edge.
His maturing years have been his best, yet he has no regrets that they did not come sooner and has never considered trying to force his way back into the New Zealand team.
"I shut the door on international cricket when I came to Nottinghamshire as a Kolpak and to be honest my last few games for New Zealand were not an enjoyable experience," he said. "I wouldn't want to go back.
"When I was in New Zealand I was always fighting for a place and in those circumstances you sometimes forget about getting better as a cricketer. At Nottinghamshire I have been able to work in an honest environment, where I'm responsible for what I do and I'm not fighting for my place. To be here enjoying my cricket is a big deal for me.
"I know what I have to do, which is essentially to be as annoying as I can be with the ball, by which I mean trying to put the ball in the right place as often as possible. It is what makes Chapple so good. He is a fine bowler and he is very annoying in that he hardly misses."
Adams's miserly economy, backed up by similarly tight bowling from Ben Phillips and Graeme Swann, tended to show up Stuart Broad's less-than-economical figures more perhaps than they otherwise might. On an essentially slow pitch that afforded few chances for fluent strokeplay, the England strike bowler went for 60 runs from 14 overs.
In his defence, it was his first competitive bowl since his calf injury in Sri Lanka and his natural pace probably worked against him as the only bowler who offered speed off the bat.
"He has a great record for us and it is good to have him here," Adams said, offering some sympathy. "He had not bowled for a while and maybe he bowled a bit too short at times but having not been able to make a contribution so far he will be really up for it when he bowls again."
Fortunately for Nottinghamshire, Adams more than compensated, as did Swann, who took perhaps the most important wicket of the day when he had Ashwell Prince caught at bat-pad and wrapped up the innings on a hat-trick after bowling his friend and England team-mate Anderson first ball.
Anderson remains in the wars. Having damaged his thumb on Wednesday, he bowled only one over on Thursday, although not because of the pain but because of a flu-like virus which affected him overnight. He signalled to Chapple, his captain, that he was feeling unwell and left the field immediately and was not seen again for an hour and 40 minutes, reappearing only because he thought he would have to be in the field for as much time as he had been off it in order to bowl on the third morning. As it happened, the umpires were able to tell him to return to his impromptu sick bed in the dressing room because the slate would be wiped clean overnight.
Nottinghamshire will resume with a lead of 145 and eight wickets in hand and the opportunity to build a lead of 200-plus that could be as much as they need if Broad clicks and Adams merely continues where he left off. Against a depleted attack they have batted with respect for the pitch, in particular Neil Edwards and Michael Lumb, the latter revealing the kind of diligent approach for which he wants to be appreciated more.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.