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43rd Match, Southport, June 30 - July 03, 2024, County Championship Division One
(fo) 126 & 270/4d

Match drawn


Joe Clarke blunts Lancashire's victory push as James Anderson is denied

Breakthroughs at a premium in follow-on as batter's fourth century of season thwarts hosts

Joe Clarke's hundred helped salvage a draw for this side, Lancashire vs Nottinghamshire, County Championship, Division One, July 3, 2024

Joe Clarke's hundred helped salvage a draw for this side  •  Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 126 (Slater 64*, Anderson 7-35) and 270 for 4 (Clarke 115*, James 43*) drew with Lancashire 353 for 9 dec (Jennings 183, James 4-61) by 143 runs
Joe Clarke made his fourth century of the season and blunted the threat posed by Lancashire's James Anderson to ensure that Nottinghamshire drew their Vitality County Championship match with Lancashire at Southport.
Clarke passed fifty for the seventh time in 14 first-class innings this season and had put on an unbroken 136 for the fifth wicket with Lyndon James to steer the visitors to 270 for four when the players shook hands at 4.50 with James unbeaten on 43 and Clarke on 115 not out, bringing his first-class aggregate for the season to 795
By contrast to his astonishing spell on Tuesday morning, Anderson had figures of 1 for 25 from eleven overs in two spells on the final day at Southport but the eight points the sides collect for the draw enable both of them to pull a little further away from Division One's relegation zone.
Anderson took his only wicket of the second innings with his 17th ball of the day when Will Young pushed a trifle tentatively forward and edged a catch to Matthew Hurst. The same combination had dismissed Young nearly 24 hours previously but Clarke and Jack Haynes then steadied the ship and Haynes hooked Tom Bailey for a six onto the Southport to Liverpool railway line narrowly missing a fast-moving train by seconds.
In the next over, though, Haynes was caught behind off Chris Green, thus giving the Australian offspinner his maiden first-class wicket for Lancashire on his Championship debut.
No more wickets fell until lunch by which time home spectators could reflect on a session in which they had been treated to the sight of Nathan Lyon bowling in tandem with Anderson, a combination that has taken 1230 Test wickets. The statisticians believe it is the most ever taken by one first-class team. (The nearest challenger discovered so far is another Lancashire side, one that contained Muthiah Muralidaran, Andrew Flintoff and Dominic Cork.)
Regardless of who he was facing though, Clarke continued to bat with careful fluency, lapping Lyon for four to fine leg, pulling him onto the railway line and reaching his fifty in 107 balls. Nottinghamshire lunched on 164 for four and were therefore only 63 runs in arrears. But the prospect of Anderson with the new ball in his hand was enough to have those supporters looking anxiously at the sky and wondering when the forecast rain might arrive.
Anderson duly took the new ball two overs into the afternoon session and Clarke prepared to receive it as though he was starting his innings afresh. However, the Lancashire bowler had delivered five wicketless overs for 16 runs when rain swept in from the west at 2.20.
Contrary to some expectations, play resumed at 4.00 with a minimum of 33 overs to be bowled. Rather than be unsettled by the resumption of play, though, Clarke and James played with increasing freedom and had taken their side into the lead when Clarke reached his century off 185 balls with a square cut off Luke Wells.