Nottinghamshire v Lancashire, Trent Bridge, 4th day July 3, 2009

Storms thwart Nottinghamshire victory bid

The Bulletin by Jon Culley at Trent Bridge

Lancashire 285 and 97 for 3 (Hogg 34) drew with Nottinghamshire 388 and 289 for 7 dec

After the storms in the north-east earlier in the week, it was ironic that Nottinghamshire should find themselves thwarted by the weather here just as Durham were dodging the downpours to win at the Riverside.

Strongly placed overnight with Lancashire facing a long day's struggle to save a draw, Chris Read's team were kept off the field until three in the afternoon as one wave of heavy rain swept through the East Midlands before lunch, to be followed by another early in the afternoon.

Once mopping up began, the £700,000 drainage system installed at Trent Bridge during the winter coped admirably, allowing groundstaff to tip gallons of water off the covers on to the grass, safe in the knowledge that it would disappear in a matter of minutes.

But while the clouds ultimately gave way to sunny conditions more in keeping with the first three days, the players had exchanged handshakes shortly after five o'clock with Lancashire, 22 for 1 overnight chasing a theoretical 393 to win, comfortable at 97 for 3.

Nottinghamshire had struck one early blow when Karl Brown, dropped by David Hussey at third slip on 18 off Charlie Shreck, was safely pouched by the Australian in the next over, giving Ryan Sidebottom his third wicket in the match.

But they struggled to dislodge nightwatchman Kyle Hogg, who improved his career batting average with a feisty 34. He eventually succumbed to a Darren Pattinson inswinger but that was Nottinghamshire's only other success, the contest ending with Mal Loye unbeaten on 31.

"It was pretty frustrating because on a wearing wicket I'd like to think that with our attack we would have pressed home our advantage," Nottinghamshire captain Read said. "Having said that, without the work that was done on the outfield over the winter, we might not have seen a ball bowled.

"But we played some good cricket in the match. Mark Wagh and David Hussey battled extremely well on Thursday afternoon to put us in such a strong position.

"Mark's innings was excellent and David was very selfless in the way he played and together they kept the game moving to give us an extended opportunity to bowl at them.

"It is wonderful to have David back in the side," he added. "Adam Voges has done a terrific job for us this year and we are sorry he had to go off to play for Australia A but with David it is almost like welcoming back an old friend. He knows Trent Bridge inside out and the way he has come in and struck the ball around it is like he has never been away.

"Mark is one of the most elegant batsmen in the Championship and his record in the four-day game for us has been fantastic. We rely on him as a number three and he has been brilliant in that role."

Read is perfectly placed, of course, in his role as wicketkeeper, to deliver judgment on Sidebottom's well-being and although the England left-armer could not send down more than five overs, when he would have preferred and extended bowl, his team-mate believes he is ready to hit peak form.

"Ryan did not get the success he deserved," he said. "His pace is good, he is putting the ball in the right areas and he was my go-to bowler. Should England call on him in the next week he will be well prepared.

"He needed to get some overs under his belt and it was credit to the ECB for letting him play in this game."

The result allowed Durham to stretch their lead at the top, although Nottinghamshire will have the opportunity to peg that back when Durham visit Trent Bridge later this month.