Lancashire v Nottinghamshire, Old Trafford, 2nd day September 14, 2010

Nottinghamshire title hopes fade away

Nottinghamshire 89 for 2 v Lancashire

Nottinghamshire's chances of winning a Championship title that they were once indisputable frontrunners for took a further blow as the Manchester weather inspired to restrict play to just 27 overs on the second day at Old Trafford.

Having desperately hoped for sun to dry the pools of water that had developed on the outfield through the early part of the day, the Nottinghamshire batsmen were left cursing their good fortune as the bright sun that allowed play to start ended up forcing the players off again when it reflected off the media straight into the batmen's eyes late in the afternoon.

The setting sun has always been a problem at Old Trafford and the issue is being remedied next season by rotating the pitch 90 degrees, but after leaden skies and persistent rain had prevented play in a crucial game for 30 hours it was a farcical spectacle to see the players forced off for 25 minutes with the field bathed in perfect sunshine.

Nottinghamshire may well feel that fate has conspired against them but they tried to make the most of the 27 overs of play possible. With Yorkshire making good progress against Kent and Somerset moving to top of the table after dismissing Durham for 286, Nottinghamshire needed to move quickly.

Alex Hales and Paul Franks set an ideal tone by adding 31 off the first four overs of the day and the pair brought up the 50 stand off 49 deliveries with Hales in particular punishing some loose offerings from Sajid Mahmood.

While the openers were enjoying themselves there was the lurking worry that conditions may be too benign for the bowlers to force a result later on. Gary Keedy managed to extract significant turn when he was introduced in the 10th over, but Nottinghamshire's only spin option is Samit Patel.

Keedy troubled both batsmen before removing Hales with a ball that spun sharply from around the wicket and took the edge as the batsman tried to defend. Franks was out three overs later, edging Tom Smith behind and with his dismissal Nottinghamshire shut-up shop. Just 10 runs were added in 9.2 overs either side of the sun stoppage as Mark Wagh and Adam Voges studiously blocked all that came their way

It leaves Nottinghamshire with an almost impossible calculation of trying to race quickly to 300, to pick up three batting bonus points, before hoping Patel's part-time left-arm spin can produce a miracle.

Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at Cricinfo