Lancashire start well chasing 444 at Nottinghamshire

George Balderson
Lancashire batsman George Balderson is playing just his eighth first-class game
LV= County Championship Division One, Trent Bridge (day three):
Nottinghamshire 272 & 339-8 dec: Moores 97, James 91; Bailey 3-84
Lancashire 168 & 115-1: Wells 57*, Balderson 45*
Lancashire (3 pts) need 329 more runs to beat Notts (5 pts)

Lancashire made a good start in their pursuit of 444 to beat Nottinghamshire as they closed day three on 115-1.

The hosts declared on 339-8 having resumed on 127-5 to set Lancashire a huge target at Trent Bridge.

Tom Moores (97) and Lyndon James (91) fell short of centuries after putting on 176 for the sixth wicket.

Alex Davies was out first ball in Lancashire’s second innings but Luke Wells (57 not out) and George Balderson (45 not out) took them to stumps.

With 329 still required for victory it would take an extraordinary effort on the final day for Lancashire to reach 444.

But with a sunny day forecast, nine wickets in hand and a flat Nottingham pitch they will feel they have a chance.

Moores and James demonstrated how good the surface was for batting as they dominated most of the first two sessions against a tiring Lancashire attack, minus injured England paceman Saqib Mahmood.

Just as wicketkeeper Moores looked set for a third first-class century he skipped down the track to spinner Wells and hit him straight to deep mid-wicket.

James soon followed after bringing up a career-best score when he skied the same bowler to mid-off.

Notts declared before tea and paceman Luke Fletcher gave them the ideal start with the ball as he pinned Davies lbw in the first over.

However, Wells and 20-year-old Balderson batted throughout the final session with an unbroken stand of 110 to give Lancashire hope of a memorable victory.

Nottinghamshire’s Tom Moores:

“The wicket has lost a bit of pace with the weather we have had but we have lots of runs to play with so we can still be aggressive tomorrow morning and put them under pressure.

“Batting with Lyndon was great. He makes batting look very easy and bowlers look very slow. He soaks up pressure brilliantly. Credit to him for working hard when the conditions were challenging and the ball was moving.

“It was disappointing to miss out on the hundred but it was more important that me and Lyndon put together a partnership that gives us a chance to win.”

Lancashire’s Luke Wells:

“Things have not gone our way really from the first over, and we didn’t bowl as well as we could have done initially. But the fight and resolve the players have shown since then has been remarkable, especially the seamers, bowling spell after spell in these conditions.

“Can we win? Nottinghamshire have a really good bowling unit but they only have three front-line seamers and they will be tired as well. There are no demons in the pitch and we have eight, nine batters, so who knows? Stranger things have happened.

“If we play well enough to give ourselves even a sniff in the final hour, then we will have played really well. Everyone knows what is at stake. We are three games away from potentially winning the Championship so there is everything to play for.”

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