Adams continues to haunt Lancs
Lancashire 203 for 6 (Prince 63*, Adams 4-77) v Nottinghamshire
It is reasonable to assume that Lancashire wouldn't mind coming up against Nottinghamshire when Andre Adams wasn't available once in a while. His maturing years have been his best and he has turned into a bowler few batsmen relish facing but in Lancashire's case the description is particularly accurate. In the last five innings they have come up against him he has taken 24 wickets, and more may follow in this one.
It was Adams who temporarily interrupted their progress towards the title last summer, taking a match haul of 10 for 152 as Nottinghamshire won by 129 runs at Southport in July.
And it was Adams, claiming 7 for 32 and 3 for 18, who extended Lancashire's poor start to their title defence as the architect of a third defeat in their opening five matches at Old Trafford last month.
Time will tell whether his contribution this time is similarly decisive. What is beyond argument is that, on a day when he was expensive by his own frugal standards, he denied Lancashire a good few more runs with four more wickets, ending at least three threatening innings.
He might have ended another one, too, had a routine slip catch offered by Ashwell Prince not been put down. Prince, 63 not out when rain forced a premature end to the day, was on 51 when Alex Hales dropped him at first slip.
In consequence of the successes Adams did achieve, though, Lancashire are probably less well off than they might have been after Nottinghamshire decided they would rather bat second. There was some extravagant swing at times in conditions that were humid at first but the pitch is essentially sound.
It looked that way, certainly, when Lancashire rattled through the first hour at four an over. Paul Horton, who made 99 in the first innings in the corresponding fixture last season, was an early victim for Andy Carter, edging to second slip as he pushed at a ball outside off stump. But the next seven overs or so realised 53 runs.
Stephen Moore was dropped at second slip on eight, but Karl Brown tucked into Adams in particular with gusto, reeling off a series of boundaries, hitting two in two balls in both his second and third overs as Adams struggled for a containing line.
It was an emphatic start by Brown, who went one better by dispatching the first three balls of Adams's fourth over to the fence. But there are few cannier bowlers. Sensing Brown would not be able to resist, Adams gave the next delivery a little more width outside off stump. Brown drove at it, but the stretch was just too much and the ball flew hard off the edge to be caught, quite superbly, by Samit Patel, one-handed, diving to his right at third slip
Moore fell shortly afterwards, Adams again the successful bowler, although this was a wicket for which he did not have to work nearly so hard, the opener shaping to leave but deflecting the ball on to his stumps as it swung into him. Adams' eyes generally light up when he sees Moore. In six first-class matches since April 2009, he has dismissed him seven times.
Lancashire fought back again, Prince and Steven Croft adding 60 either side of lunch. But they lost Croft to another self-inflicted wound when he failed to deal decisively with a shortish ball from Carter that took the glove and looped in a gentle arc to Chris Read behind the stumps.
There followed a spell in which the Adams outswinger beat the bat time and again. Prince had his escape but Luke Procter was not so lucky, fishing for the ball several times before edging one for Patel to claim his second catch.
Gareth Cross adopted the same policy as Brown, attacking the bowling with intent. He took four boundaries in quick time off Adams, who is not normally treated with such abandon and rarely offers the opportunity. Again though, he had the last word. Hit through midwicket as the Lancashire wicketkeeper claimed his sixth boundary, he posted James Taylor at deep square leg, dropped the ball in short enough to pull and obtained the desired result.