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    Lancashire's Haseeb Hameed breaks a century drought for his boyhood club
Lancashire's Haseeb Hameed breaks a century drought for his boyhood club
Hameed's first century since September 2022 was also his first as Nottinghamshire captain. Source: Getty Images

Lancashire's Haseeb Hameed breaks a century drought for his boyhood club

Haseeb Hameed scored his first Vitality County Championship hundred since September 2022 and his first since becoming captain but his Nottinghamshire side still has work to do to match Lancashire's first innings total in their Division One match at Trent Bridge, where they are 52 runs behind on 279 for 7.

Hameed, who still harbours Test cricket ambitions despite being twice rejected by England, finished the second day unbeaten on 137 after hitting 16 fours, although he was dropped by left-arm spinner Tom Hartley on 104.

Hartley was wicketless in 18 overs in his final county match before joining the England squad ahead of the upcoming white-ball series against Pakistan and the T20 World Cup while all-rounder George Balderson took the bowling honours for his side. Balderson, who shared a key partnership with Keaton Jennings in Lancashire's first innings, took 4 for 72 from 22 overs.

Lancashire will have enjoyed a satisfying morning's work after Nottinghamshire's strong start to the opening day. They forced the home side to concede another 25 runs for their last two wickets, most of them with the bat of Tom Bailey. The 33-year-old seam bowler hit five boundaries in his 42-ball unbeaten 31.

Olly Stone, whose performance with the ball on day one deserved more than his one wicket, dismissed Will Williams, caught at second slip, and Saqib Mahmood, driven to extra cover, to finish with three for 56 from 23.2 overs.

Chasing Lancashire's 331, Nottinghamshire started on the front foot but Ben Slater's second-over boundary proved to be their only score as Mahmood, bowling in his first senior match for 12 months following a stress fracture, took his first comeback wicket with an edge to third slip.

Hameed and Will Young looked to have put that setback behind them, surviving the remnants of Mahmood and Tom Bailey's new-ball assault but when Williams replaced Bailey at Stuart Broad End, Young was dropped at second slip for 17 and then bowled for 27, shouldering arms to a ball that hit his middle stump after coming back sharply from the crease.

A series of beautiful shots from Hameed greeted the afternoon, and when Joe Clarke followed a deft steer from Bailey to the third-man boundary with a fine drive through the covers to welcome the return of Mahmood, it seemed the Lancashire bowlers might be in for a tough session.

But once again, a potentially damaging partnership fizzled out when Balderson returned to the attack, his away movement finding a thin edge for Clarke to be caught behind before Tom Moores, recalled after a couple of hundreds in the Second XI, rather gave his wicket away with a rash swing outside off stump that saw him also caught behind in Balderson's next over.

Jack Haynes proved a more patient accomplice, content to accumulate diligently as his captain used his form to dominate the bowling, most productively through the on-side. Having reached his half-century off 99 balls, Hameed took just 63 more to pass 100, reaching the milestone with his 15th boundary, driven backwards of square by Balderson.

Having gone an entire season without a three-figure score last year, when his figures were generally disappointing after an excellent 2022, there was a sense of relief in his celebration, as well as allaying any fears that the challenge of following in Steven Mullaney's footsteps as captain might detract from his batting.

It was his first hundred against his former county and his first against first-class bowling since 2016, when he was a 19-year-old prodigy hailed as the 'new Boycott' and scored hundreds in both innings against Roses at Old Trafford.

He was promptly dismissed on 104, a difficult chance coming when Luke Wells was bowled by Hartley, but although Hameed survived, Nottinghamshire suffered another setback in the last over before tea when Haynes, on 35, became the second batsman of the day not to make a shot as Balderson brought one back to claim his third success.

With Hartley and seamer Williams matching each other's economy, Hameed and new opener Lyndon James were left to graft for runs after tea, the first 50 runs of their partnership taking 145 deliveries.

The sixth-wicket stand reduced the deficit to 83 runs, but the second new ball, with which the Nottinghamshire bowlers had found success on the first day, brought a quick dividend. James, driving expansively, was caught at first slip as Balderson claimed his fourth scalp before Calvin Harrison's brilliant 21 ended with an edge to Bailey at second slip.

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