Newell calls Hameed an 'old fashioned' cricketer fit for Test cricket

Lancashire 276 and 304 for 7 (Hameed 122, Smith 71) drew with Nottinghamshire 476 (Patel 67, Wessels 62, Libby 54)

Lancashire's resilience secured them a draw that is enough to take them back level on points with Warwickshire and ahead by virtue of having won one match more, although now behind Middlesex following their win at Scarborough. Nonetheless, at the halfway stage of the season, it is a position with which they are understandably delighted.

They were helped by a docile pitch that was of little real help to any of the bowlers, to the frustration of the legspinner Imran Tahir, to whom Nottinghamshire were looking in particular to lift them out of the doldrums. They are without a win since the opening match of the season.

Nonetheless, for all that conditions were not as testing as they might have been, Lancashire still had to pass a test of patience and concentration to come through. Five down at tea and only 51 in front, they lost their sixth wicket soon afterwards as Tahir winkled out Karl Brown for his only success but Steven Croft and Jordan Clark used up another 20 overs before Nottinghamshire made another breakthrough. Lancashire had a lead of 108 and 11 overs remained when handshakes were offered.

Croft's 141-ball 34 was a gutsy, captain's effort, although it was the opening partnership between Tom Smith and Haseeb Hameed that was the key factor in saving the game. Nottinghamshire needed to part them early but it was almost an hour before Harry Gurney found some extra bounce to have Smith caught at first slip off the shoulder of the bat and there were no further losses before lunch.

By then there had been confirmation that their young opener, Hameed, has the attributes required for such circumstances in abundance as he completed a second hundred in three matches.

The 19-year-old from Bolton, who delivered an innings of similar match-saving qualities against Surrey in only his third appearance last season, continued until he had batted for almost six and a half hours for a career-best 122, his dismissal coming not until mid-afternoon, more than 24 hours after the innings began on Tuesday.

Until that point he had made barely a mistake, certainly nothing that would offer much encouragement to the opposition. But then, faced with a change of bowler and possibly beginning to tire, he was drawn to play a good ball outside off stump and was caught behind.

It was his second century in three matches, with an 89 in between. Only Alviro Petersen has made more Championship runs for Lancashire. Mick Newell, momentarily swapping his duties as Nottinghamshire spokesman for his England selector's cap, described him as a player "born to open the batting in Test cricket."

"He is a throwback," Newell said. "An old fashioned type of cricketer who looks like he was made for Test cricket.

"He's gone out to bat 200 runs behind against bowlers of the quality of Stuart Broad and Imran Tahir and played exceptionally well. I thought he was absolutely terrific. I just hope that Test cricket lasts long enough for him to play!"

The young right-hander admitted that taking on two such accomplished international bowlers was as tough a test as he has faced, revealing as he was asked questions that as well as batting with a maturity beyond his years he is as thoughtful and eloquent in his self-assessment, too, as someone much older.

"It was a real challenge today against international players but to have that challenge motivates you and gives you that hunger to score runs because they mean more if it is against better opposition," he said.

"You could see how good they are in the spells they bowled. Broad came back with the new ball and got two quick wickets and we have seen in the past that once he gets a couple of wickets he can go through a side."

His patience and ability to concentrate for long periods come naturally, he says. "It is not something I've worked towards, it is the way I have always played," he said.

Taking the new ball at lunch, when Lancashire had eradicated their first innings deficit but only just, Nottinghamshire's hopes were raised when Broad dismissed Luke Procter and Alviro Petersen in the space of four balls to leave Lancashire effectively 15-3 and when Brett Hutton followed up his dismissal of Hameed by having Liam Livingstone caught at mid-on they were five down and just 35 ahead.

Time was always against Nottinghamshire achieving a win, even after a stunning catch by Brendan Taylor at short leg helped Tahir remove Brown just after tea.

Yet Newell, switching to his Nottinghamshire director of cricket perspective, saw encouraging signs.

"There have been parallels with last season in that we have reached the halfway stage looking back at games in which we haven't batted well enough and not been able to fight back when we have been under the pump," he said.

"But I can't fault us for effort and commitment and the skill we have shown over these four days. I can't think of a dropped catch and in terms of batting and bowling we dominated the game.

"Now we have to maintain this standard. That's our challenge because we've only got six games left and others have more, and we're in the bottom three. We do need quite a lot more points."

Lancashire 3rd innings Partnerships

1st151TC SmithH Hameed
2nd58LA ProcterH Hameed
3rd4AN PetersenH Hameed
4th18SJ CroftH Hameed
5th2SJ CroftLS Livingstone
6th28SJ CroftKR Brown
7th26SJ CroftJ Clark
8th17SJ CroftKM Jarvis