Nottinghamshire v Yorkshire, Trent Bridge, 1st day July 22, 2008

Yorkshire slip on spicy pitch

John Ward at Trent Bridge

Yorkshire 72 for 5 (Brophy 0*, Hoggard 0*) trail Nottinghamshire 213 (Wood 58, Voges 45) by 141 runs

The crucial match between Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire looks like being a low-scoring one, and a real thriller. The pitch has played a few tricks for bowlers putting the ball in the right place, and after the home side had been tumbled relatively cheaply, Yorkshire, with five wickets down at the close, found themselves at a definite disadvantage.

Yorkshire had some selection problems for this match. Darren Gough was unavailable with various niggles, and vice-captain Anthony McGrath awoke this morning with a stiff hamstring that did not respond to treatment. Jacques Rudolph had to take over as captain, while Joe Sayers, who had been expecting to play in a second-team match at Stamford Bridge, had to rush down to fill the vacancy, arriving in time for the afternoon session.

Nottinghamshire decided to bat on winning the toss, often a risky option at Trent Bridge, a ground known for encouraging swing bowlers. The sky was overcast, but Matthew Hoggard and Tim Bresnan were unable to swing the ball much, although they bowled well enough. However, Hoggard did get a ball to bounce lethally in his second over, and Bilal Shafayat (1) could only edge it to second slip.

There was a hold-up lasting about six minutes after 12 overs had been bowled, a common occurrence in county matches this season as the ball needs to be changed so often. The replacement did not seem to suit the bowlers, who lost some of their ability, Mark Wagh twice hitting Hoggard for fours when he strayed outside off stump, although he was dropped at slip off Bresnan when he had 20.

Runs were now coming quite easily, but the situation changed dramatically when Rana Naved came on to bowl. His first few balls were unimpressive, but in his second over he produced a superb delivery that ripped back off the pitch and knocked back Wagh's off stump, for 33. Without addition he beat the new batsman Samit Patel on the back foot and trapped him lbw; Notts were now 62 for 3.

Matt Wood, who opened in solid style, was still there and Adam Voges proved a capable partner. Wood gradually began to open up and reached his 50 just before lunch. After the break, though, he played hesitantly at Naved and edged a catch to the keeper for 58. Graeme Swann joined Voges and this pair took the score to 170, mostly by working the ball around the field, maintaining a fluent scoring rate.

At 170 for 4, Nottinghamshire were looking quite good, but from here things went downhill and finally over the cliff for them. Swann (27) edged Deon Kruis to the keeper, and then Hoggard found his spot on the pitch again; Voges, who had been batting soundly, found the rearing ball lobbing off the edge of his bat for Bresnan at short extra cover to take a good diving catch. He made 45.

For a while, Chris Read (19) and Mark Ealham (14) batted usefully, but then the last four wickets all fell in a heap for just a single. Adil Rashid took two with his leg-breaks - Ealham and last man Charlie Shreck both to good catches by the close field - and a sharp piece of fielding by Bresnan ran out Paul Franks. Naved returned the best figures of 3 for 63, although conceding runs at almost four an over. Notts were sunk for 213 but, as the saying goes, a match cannot be assessed until both teams have batted on the same pitch.

Sure enough, Yorkshire had their own problems to face, in the form of the menacing Shreck. Chris Taylor, pushing forward to the second ball he faced, edged a catch into the slips, and soon after his fellow opener, Sayers, fell the same way to the same bowler for 9; 18 for 2. Adam Lyth and Rudolph dug in and watchfully added 50 together, helped by some rather profligate extras. But Mark Ealham struck back for the home county just before the close, trapping Rudolph lbw for 19 with a ball that moved back in as he played off the back foot. Then Andre Adams had Lyth caught low in the slips for 22, and Yorkshire were 72 for 4.

Without addition, Gale (4) was adjudged lbw to Ealham off the front foot, the ball swinging now, in the late sunshine, more than it had done for Yorkshire in the morning under the cloud. Gerard Brophy and Hoggard, as nightwatchman, had to fight out the day, and both have yet to score. Yorkshire, if they felt they had done well earlier, have an unexpected battle to fight out on the morrow. The last half-hour may well prove critical to the result of this match, which looks likely to be dominated by the bowlers.