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Old Trafford at peace, unlike the one up the road

Lancashire 158 (Vilas 48, Ball 5-43) and 58 for 2 trail Nottinghamshire 222 (Wessels 44, Bailey 3-26, Mennie 3-46, Livingstone 3-27) by six runs
Scorecard

The cricketers almost always console you; they invariably bring you peace. That, at any rate, was the curious feeling one had even on this grey Sunday at Emirates Old Trafford as one watched Nottinghamshire's batsmen build a lead of 64 runs and then Liam Livingstone's batsmen reduce it to just six before persistent rain prevented any play after tea.

Behind Stretford Town Hall a football match rumbled away but inside the home of Lancashire cricket the County Championship has settled in, even in this benightedly wet April. And, it had to be remarked as the day progressed, this Old Trafford was probably the more content.

None of which will console either Haseeb Hameed or Alex Davies this bedraggled Sabbath evening. Hameed had put on 49 with Keaton Jennings and had looked in little trouble until he played forward and didn't quite miss a ball from Harry Gurney. That, at least, was the judgement of Graham Lloyd. Hameed looked at the umpire for a moment and trudged off with 19 runs against his name. No one missed the point that an opportunity to impress the selectors had gone a-begging.

Five minutes later Davies attempted to get off the mark by pulling his fifth delivery backward of square. The ball went through to Tom Moores who joined the slips and Gurney in a full-throated appeal. Again Lloyd's finger was raised. Davies stood his ground and gazed at the official for a couple of long Steinbeckian seconds. One imagines that not since the age of the basilisks has there been such a glance.

But there was nothing Davies could do about things except follow Hameed to the pavilion. Jennings, whose straight drive off Samit Patel had been one of the shots of the day, came in to tea unbeaten on 27. Then the rain set in with growing vengeance. Quite soon it was raining at all the County Championship venues except Lord's, where the game was over, and Headingley, where it hadn't started.

The first third of this day at Old Trafford had been taken up with Nottinghamshire carefully constructing their lead of 64, an advantage which may have been beyond their avarice on the Saturday evening. Riki Wessels' 44 was the largest contribution but one's eye was taken by young Tom Moores, a batsman who will never let a bowler settle if he can help it. The heir to Chris Read's gauntlets, Moores is, like his predecessor, every inch a cricketer and his 143-minute 38 is the longest innings of the match to date.

Lancashire's bowling was willing enough but the home side never looked like taking wickets until the last three fell in as many overs, two of them to Liam Livingstone. The Lancashire skipper had earlier produced a fine off-spinner to remove Wessels but the grey morning session was also illumined by Moores' cover-driving and his picked-up six off Keaton Jennings, a shot plucked straight from a steamy July evening at Trent Bridge and the pressing needs of T20 cricket.

Moores was the only Nottinghamshire batsman not to be dismissed by Livingstone on this third day. He was bowled by Joe Mennie when attempting to make room to pull the ball to leg but he managed to do no more than deflect it onto his leg stump. A few minutes' later Jake Ball's heave saw him stumped by Davies and the Lancashire openers dashed off to prepare for their innings.