A typically defiant fifty by Alex Davies and a nerveless 63 not out from debutant Liam Livingstone enabled Lancashire to take a clear advantage on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match at Emirates Old Trafford.
At the close of play Lancashire were 311 for eight, giving the home side what is already a very valuable 69-run first-innings lead with power to add tomorrow morning.
However, Davies and Livingstone’s fine contributions built on the solid foundation made by Lancashire’s earlier batsmen against a Nottinghamshire attack led by Stuart Broad and Jake Ball, who ended the second day with identical analyses of 3-57.
In the morning session Luke Procter and Haseeb Hameed took their second-wicket stand to 57 in 31 overs before both fell in the space of four balls just after the midpoint of the morning’s play. First to go was Procter, who was caught at second slip by Steven Mullaney off Harry Gurney for 33.
— Lancashire CCC (@LancsCCC) April 18, 2016
Three balls later Hameed was given out caught at the wicket by Chris Read off Ball’s first delivery of the morning, although the player appeared a trifle slow to leave the crease.
Hameed had spent 144 minutes compiling a careful 18 and the tempo of the innings was changed markedly by the arrival of Alviro Petersen, who immediately began to bat fluently against an accurate attack.
Petersen was 33 not out at lunch while Steven Croft was unbeaten on 10. The pair had added 51 for the fourth wicket by the end of a session in which Nottinghamshire’s bowlers had all but restored parity for their side.
Lancashire lost two wickets during the afternoon session but the departure of one batsman only brought in another prepared to grind it out.
The wickets to fall were those of Croft, who was caught at the wicket off Mullaney for 15, and Petersen, who was caught and bowled off the leading edge by Broad for a 108-ball 48.
The visitors took the new ball straight after tea and enjoyed immediate success, Davies being leg before to Ball for a 55 which had included seven fours and Wagner caught at cover by Brendan Taylor off Broad for a single.
Broad then had his England colleague Jimmy Anderson caught behind by Read for six but the final 90 minutes of the day’s play belonged to Lancashire as Livingstone and Jarvis added an unbroken 62 for the ninth wicket, Jarvis finishing on 36 not out after an innings which rather mocked his lowly place in the batting order.
Livingstone’s unbeaten 120-ball innings included six boundaries and the fluency of his stroke-play offered encouragement to the Old Trafford spectators who had braved the cold wind.
The 22-year-old said: “We’ve looked at trying to take the pressure off ourselves by building partnerships and that’s one thing we’ve really concentrated on.
“There’s still two days left in the game so we’re looking at building as big a lead as we can, so that we can set attacking fields in their second innings. Hopefully we can bowl well tomorrow afternoon and try and get them in trouble.
“I found out I was going to play on Friday afternoon. It’s been a very good day for me but also for the team. We’re in a strong position and hopefully we can push on tomorrow.”
Nottinghamshire seamer Jackson Bird remained optimisitc despite their struggles.
“Obviously it’s a pretty flat wicket but I thought we did well to contain them,” the Australian said.
“After the new ball lost its shine it was tough work and it was disappointing we couldn’t break that partnership at the end of the day. Once it got soft there wasn’t much bounce or movement at all.
“They’re only 69 ahead so hopefully we can get these last two wickets early tomorrow and then bat well. We can still get a positive result in this game, hopefully the wicket will start to go up and down and maybe reverse swing will come into it. If we can get a reasonable lead, you never know on day four.”