Lancashire v Nottinghamshire, Old Trafford, 1st day September 13, 2010

First-day rain frustrates Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire 8 for 0 v Lancashire

Nottinghamshire's nerve-ridden effort to seal the County Championship against Lancashire was dealt a severe blow by the Manchester weather which forced play to be abandoned for the day after a single over.

The lost time will not be made up for and with more rain forecasted for the second day it is likely further time will be taken away.

It's all the more frustrating for Nottinghamshire who have slipped up badly by losing their last two games to Durham and close rivals Yorkshire. They are now in a three-team shoot-out with Yorkshire and Somerset, but still know that 22 points or more will seal the title whatever happens elsewhere.

That looks increasingly unlikely, however, after play was curtailed on the first day. The one over that was possible was enough to show the problems the damp conditions presented. Gary Keedy slipped over at mid-off to give Alex Hales an early three and Paul Franks, Nottinghamshire's makeshift opener, got off the mark when the square leg fielder slipped over.

Once the drizzle became more substantial by the end of the over the umpires whipped the players off and no further play was possible.

Things had seemed brighter for Nottinghamshire when Chris Read won the toss - delayed until 10.40am - and opted to bat first. The visitors were boosted by Ryan Sidebottom's release from England duty but it's Graeme Swann they really wanted.

The Old Trafford wicket, despite the routine dampness in the air, was dry and looked likely to take turn as the game goes on. Read said as much at the toss, but also revealed the meagre slow-bowling resources at his disposal by boasting part-timer Samit Patel as his trump card.

It only compounds the concerns of a side haunted by the ghost of 2008. Then, needing eight points from a home tie against Hampshire to take the title, they fluffed their lines spectacularly to slump to a 203-run defeat and allow Durham to surge to the title.

The combination of history and the two recent defeats has left the indisputable frontrunners now cast almost as outsiders and Nottinghamshire have an enormous task to get the best of the match at Old Trafford.

Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at Cricinfo