Nottingham, May 04 - 07, 2023, County Championship Division One
214 & 329/8d
(T:295) 249 & 138/9

Match drawn


Notts cling on nine down as Brett Hutton, Joe Clarke defy Lancashire victory push

James Anderson takes three-for but Stuart Broad's unbeaten 3 from 50 helps save home side

David Hopps
David Hopps
Brett Hutton claimed a five-for, Nottinghamshire vs Lancashire, County Championship, Division One, Trent Bridge, May 4, 2023

Brett Hutton followed his first-innings five-for with an obdurate innings to help secure a draw for Notts  •  Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 249 (Hameed 97, Williams 3-31) and 138 for 9 (Clarke 42) drew with Lancashire 214 (Bohannan 68, Bailey 48*, Hutton 5-66) and 329 for 8 dec (Bohannon 92, Balderson 91, James 3-45)
Brett Hutton, sticking to his defensive duties like black treacle, put in a redoubtable defensive shift as Nottinghamshire narrowly survived a Lancashire victory push on the final day at Trent Bridge. Lancashire left themselves two full sessions to claim victory as they set Notts 295 in 67 overs - enterprising enough - but the home side escaped with the last pair at the crease.
That last man was Olly Stone, who is awaiting the results of a scan on an injured hamstring, and who had to see out the last four deliveries from Lancashire's left-arm spinner, Tom Hartley, after Luke Fletcher had fallen lbw. In fact, Stone had to survive the last ball not once, but twice as he imagined he had saved the game only for a cry of no-ball to rent the air. Encircled by close fielders, he popped a short ball uncomfortably into the crease. The hamstring may even have complained a little. Job done.
There is no doubt which side will be happier with the draw. Notts have few peers in T20, but here they looked what they are: a promoted side coming to terms with Division One life. They have too many Championship days when it appears that the shorter formats cannot come a moment too soon. Five points will sustain them, a sound response to their declaration defeat against Middlesex at Lord's last week.
For Lancashire, a draw with nine down will feel like scant reward for one of their most impressive displays in recent seasons. Harried by rain for the first month of the season, they had conceded a first-innings deficit of 35 thanks to the excellence of Haseeb Hameed, formerly one of their own, but from that point dominated the game without quite making up for the hours lost to bad weather.
Hutton's defiance in making 23 from 141 balls, ably supported by Joe Clarke, changed the tenor of the match after they had lurched to 55 for 6 after only 19.5 overs. It is not that they batted irresponsibly as the wickets fell, far from it because there was enough movement to be had with a hard ball and all Nottinghamshire's dismissals had an air of caution about them. But the ball softened and Notts toughened, in the shape of a seventh-wicket stand of 67 in 34 overs.
Hutton is an adaptable lower middle-order batter, capable of lusty blows and obdurate defence as the situation demands. There was no doubt what was required here and soon the front dog was being pushed forward to good and repetitive effect.
Clarke is not noted for strokeless resistance, but he also acquitted himself well, and his dismay was clear when he was seventh out with 13.4 overs, deflecting Anderson to leg slip and falling to a trap that had been laid moments before. "Brett's a pretty simple man," Clarke said, "so we didn't really talk too much. It was an incredible effort from him."
That set up an intriguing match-up between Anderson and Stuart Broad, England's anticipated Ashes new-ball attack, but this time only Anderson with the ball in his hands. Broad, uncommonly, committed to responsible defence and Anderson never quite locked onto him, peppering him with short balls that passed harmlessly high or wide. Hutton was bowled by Anderson, who left him a shade to hit off stump. Broad finished unbeaten on three from 50 balls, quite a collector's item.
Two weeks ago, Nottinghamshire bundled out Somerset on the final day with ample time to nip over Radcliffe Road in time for Nottingham Forest's match against Manchester United. This time, the interest was in Notts County's National League play-off against Borehamwood, and they collapsed so fast that it could mischievously be imagined that they were trying to get there in time for extra time.
Notts had never been in the hunt. They began badly, their two most prolific batters blown aside like cherry blossom in a chill wind, when Tom Bailey uprooted Ben Duckett's middle stump for the second time in the match, this time as he tried to run a ball that came back, and Anderson had Hameed caught behind off a lovely delivery that moved late.
It was George Balderson who deepned the disarray with wickets in three successive overs. Scampering in from the Pavilion End, he nibbled the ball around at busy medium pace to have Ben Slater and Lyndon James caught at the wicket - the latter for nought, off an inside edge - and Steven Mullaney held at first slip.
Balderson has form on helpful surfaces. Last September, on an inferior pitch at Chelmsford - one condemned by Lancashire's coach, Glen Chapple, as unfit for county cricket - he took 5 for 14, including a hat-trick, as Essex were dismissed for 59, chasing only 98 to win. A former England U-19 captain, he is 22 now and has shown great maturity with bat and ball alike in perhaps the best all-round game of his career.
That Balderson burst was even more damaging for Nottinghamshire as it also included the loss of Matt Montgomery who played their one innings of attacking substance, off-driving splendidly to reach 30, at which point Will Williams hurried one back a shade to bowl him through the gate. Victory then felt inevitable.
The morning session had threatened to go awry for Lancashire. They had an overnight lead of 184 with seven wickets left, but lost two wickets quickly before Steven Croft and Hartley, with his second first-class fifty, stitched together a declaration in impressive fashion.
With the ball, an argument could be made that Tom Bailey resorted to pick-n-mix a little early, as the ball began to soften, or even that they could have tried Luke Wells' spin a little earlier, but that would be carping: they came close and will be frustrated that the luck that can help win Championship titles eluded them.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

AskESPNcricinfo Logo
Instant answers to T20 questions
Notts Innings
<1 / 3>

County Championship Division One