Brett Hutton mines rich seams while Lancashire scraps the coal wall

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Nottinghamshire 119 for 5 (Hameed 57*) course Lancashire 214 (Bohannon 68, Hutton 5-66) by 95 runs

DH Lawrence, who studied at Nottingham High School a few miles away at Trent Bridge, is said to have identified with Brett Hutton. The son of a miner, he would have recognized something familiar in Hutton’s bearded features and robust stature as he worked diligently. Something in his sincere persistence too.

Hutton may work in a different way than the miners in what was once the coalfield of Nottinghamshire, but everything he does is sincere and purposeful, a sense of satisfaction that comes from manual labor and good work. Born in Doncaster and a former scholarship holder at Worksop College, he is rooted in the landscape.

For most of the past decade, Hutton might as well have been operating underground because of all the surface attention he’s been getting from cricket’s chattering classes. It took him 12 years to reach his 50th first-class appearance for Nottinghamshire, and it took him three seasons at Northants to get his career on track.

But this season can hardly be more productive. For the second time in three weeks he made expert use of the encouraging Trent Bridge sead bowling conditions, adding 5 for 66 against Lancashire to the best 6 for 45 he put in against Somerset three weeks ago. His pace is the firm side of medium, not much more, but he again maintained a precise line, inviting occasional Lawrence-esque rhapsodies for deliveries that swung liberally back to the right-hander: Josh Bohannon’s enterprising 68 off 72 balls – best innings of the day – was thus silenced.

This “ignited spring”, as Lawrence had it, this “jumping burn”, will always throw aside a batsman’s mind (you guess Lawrence would have opted for “batsman”, an altogether more masculine style), and this was another day when the odds were stacked in favor of the bowlers. Hutton was not the only bowler to prosper as 15 wickets fell, with Lancashire eventually prevailing, still 95 runs to the good with just five Nottinghamshire wickets to be had.

They can expect one of those wickets to be hard to win, if won at all. Notts’ position could have been all the more bleak were it not for Haseeb Hameed playing a masterful half-century under demanding conditions, playing with great judgment throughout and having 57 from 109 balls when poor light brought a premature end.

Lancashire emphatically wished Hameed well when they released him at the age of 22, as stunned as he was by a prolonged loss of form three years after his England debut in India had been hailed as the start of a long and distinguished international career.

For Lancashire, Hameed had become a quandary, their belief that he was a player of immense talent at odds with an endless string of failed at bats. But even if there was no sense of rejection, the incentive for Hameed to repeat his talent against his former county to ease the pain was obvious. This was only his second first-class innings against them (the first came in the Bob Willis Trophy during the Covid pandemic) and he batted like he meant it to last until every bad memory was erased. There’s no point England looking – his more flamboyant opening partner, Ben Duckett, is much more fashionable at the moment – but he played with great aim.

In keeping with recent seasons, Lancashire have been much touted as potential Championship winners, but they have started the season with three draws and, if they are to justify their account, an opening win cannot be long in coming. Thunderstorms could disrupt Friday, so they’ll be relieved to see the game get this far.

Remarkably, England’s supposed new ball attack for the Ashes, Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who faced each other in a Championship match for the first time in five years, was overshadowed, with only two wickets between them. Those both fell to Broad, and even those weren’t much to write home about, Steven Croft catching the first slip swinging to a broad, and Colin de Grandhomme on a similar pitch that was sent to square third man. where Hameed took a good dive.

Hutton now has 17 Championship wickets at 14.4. Given the new ball he claimed Luke Wells in his third over, Wells flirted with one that went a shade further. Lancashire, largely through Bohannon, escaped to 109 for 2 as they took advantage of some inconsistent bowling. George Balderson also filled in as an opener for the injured captain, Keaton Jennings, to good effect until Luke Fletcher, shirt crawling halfway up his back from the effort (someone should talk to the laundry about possible contraction), had him at first slip got caught. .

That advantage disappeared when they lost six for 46 in 13 overs. Hutton took center stage again, with Dane Vilas, back as captain, caught at first slip for a first-ball duck, a routine delivery this; Adding George Bell to the lunch strike with one that fashioned away; and, the end after Bohannon’s departure, when he saw Tom Hartley obligingly drop on the pull to one of the three leg-side boundary riders – a fine catch by Ben Slater.

Tom Bailey then fell out with an unbeaten 48 off 29 balls, making room for his leg, even before Olly Stone delivered him a painful blow to the shoulder, with what could prove to be a crucial late intervention.

“It’s good form, good luck, a few things coming my way,” said Hutton. “We weren’t as consistent on the ball as we would have liked, but we got the job done for what looks to be a respectable scoreline.”

It only looks respectable because of Hameed. The prolific Duckett lost his center stump to a full-length ball from Bailey, who also forced Slater to chip lightly to midwicket. Balderson’s average pace brought even more joy: Matt Montgomery was unlucky; Joe Clarke seemed to think so, but it wasn’t the first ball to seam a bit and it won’t be the last.

David Hopps writes about county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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