Nottinghamshire 188 for 9 (Barnard 4-66) v Worcestershire
Two limited-overs trophies safely gathered in, it was time for Nottinghamshire to return to the gentler rhythms of the County Championship. Ah yes, the dutiful seeing-off of the new ball, the careful perusal of each bowler until every variation had been logged, the chance for spectators to chew upon the clue for seven across and contemplate the latest news from North Korea.
Except Championship cricket at Trent Bridge is rarely like that. At one point Notts were for 127 for 6 in the 28th over, the ball as excitable as a week-old puppy, the top six batsmen all suffering the batting equivalent of wee up the trouser leg. Last week, Notts traded runs for wickets with Northants, who were third until they were well beaten. This week it is the turn of Worcestershire, who lie second. There has barely been time to read the news at all. No bad thing.
No English ground looks more beautiful in the rain, with the floodlights blazing, than Trent Bridge, but by the time the weather worsened for the final time at 5pm, with Notts 188 for 9, it was time to accept the inevitable with honours about even. To steal 47.5 overs from a day like this was a fair effort.
Such is county life on a bedraggled day like this that Ed Barnard, an archetypal English seamer, making strides at 21, had four wickets - removing Jake Libby, Cheteshwar Pujara, Samit Patel and Riki Wessels in the space of 25 balls - while Ravi Ashwin, the Indian spinner brought over to England with considerable fanfare, did not even get a bowl.
Ashwin took 8 for 162 to guide Worcestershire to victory against Gloucestershire on his debut last week, but his most valuable experience here, ahead of India's tour next summer, might well be to bat twice on a seaming deck.
Barnard maintained an attacking length and was rewarded for it. His first four overs disappeared for 24, Notts well placed at 79 for 1 in the 19th over, but then the wickets came thick and fast. Jake Libby fell to a combo catch - wicketkeeper Ben Cox knocking the ball on to second slip - Cox held on to dismiss Pujara then took a beauty, low to his right, to silence Samit Patel. Riki Wessels made nought, sitting back to one that kept a little low. Barnard also threw out Brett Hutton late in the day, Hutton had got off the mark the previous ball - his 26th - as he was almost solely responsible for slowing the rate to four an over.
The first session was so high-risk, so full of threat and counter-threat that the story should properly have been told in front of a TV camera by Ri Chun-hee, the patriotic North Korean newsreader. She began her career, incidentally, back in 1971 when Mike Smedley and Brian Bolus were mastering the art of the scurried leg-bye at Trent Bridge and North Korea was actually talking about unification with the South. More sober, safer times.
Nottinghamshire are marking the retirement of their own supreme leader here, an altogether more popular figure. This is their last home Championship match of the season, the last time that Chris Read will be seen at Trent Bridge. For 20 years, he has graced the game as one of the most quicksilver glovemen around, including 15 Tests - a figure that would have been far higher if the batting qualities that ultimately brought him more than 16,000 first-class runs at 37.18 had been apparent a little earlier.
Read's elan has brought joy to so many Trent Bridge days. He has been nimble behind the stumps and a counter-attacker with the bat around No 7 in the great wicketkeeping tradition. As was observed by Michael Henderson, from The Times, who was on hand to pen a leisurely valediction, while Read has played for Nottinghamshire, the entire ground, bar the chimney-potted old pavilion, has changed around him. The pavilion is also due for a revamp, although Read will not be around to see it. The game has changed too.
Read surpassed Thomas Oates for most victims by a Notts wicketkeeper last month. After the last of his Tests, against Australia in Sydney 10 years ago, England preferred to treat him like Captain Lawrence Oates, presuming that he may be gone some time. In England terms, so he has been, but quite properly he walked out to a standing ovation. England should have made better use of him, but in the pubs of Worksop and Newark people will talk fondly of his skills well into their dotage.