Exclusive Steven Croft column: Looking to level things up against Notts

Jimmy Anderson (right) and Stuart Broad will line up against each other for Lancashire and Nottinghamshire this week
Jimmy Anderson (right) and Stuart Broad will line up against each other for Lancashire and Nottinghamshire this week
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It was a really good effort again from the lads to back up what we did against Surrey in our draw with Somerset.

It was an even better pitch than the game before and we were just a few wickets away from really opening them up and forcing a result.

There were some amazing performances in that game.

It was a shame no one could stay with Dane Vilas as he came up just short of his career best with 235 not out.

He paced his innings 
brilliantly and even with the tail he batted really well. He trusted them and got some very important runs with every partner.

He had to keep wicket as well because Al Davies’ thumb wasn’t 100 per cent so it was a great effort all around from him.

Keaton Jennings will be really chuffed as well.

Going to a new county you want to prove how good you are. We knew all about his quality but it’s always nice to show your new team-mates what you’ve got in the flesh.

He’ll be really pleased with the hundred he got and he really made the most of a good batting track.

It was also a good game for Matt Parkinson who bowled really well, not just to the left-handers where he had some help but also to the right-handers where there wasn’t much rough for him to work with

He still made it difficult for them. He’s incredibly 
accurate for a leg spinner and while he can spin it handily as well, that’s his main asset really.

There were a few balls slightly off target, which I think was nerves more than anything, but once he settled he was brilliant, especially in the second innings.

He’s only 21-years-old and will hopefully be left to play a bit of county cricket and get some experience.

We saw what he could do with the white ball last year and hopefully he can get a few consistent games with the red ball.

Matt came into the side along with Jimmy Anderson who had been made available by England.

We were all a bit shocked when Jimmy first walked into the dressing room with that new white haircut.

It was a training day so he had a cap on and we thought he’d had a haircut because he didn’t have much at the sides but when he came to bowl there were a few giggles.

There were a few names, the politest ones probably being Schofield – he definitely looks a bit like the TV 
presenter – and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

As soon as I saw it I knew there would be some sort of poll about his best and worst haircuts and I think someone stepped up with eight or nine different ones.

I think he saw it coming though.

One of the players to drop out was Haseeb Hameed and it felt a bit tough on Has to be honest.

It’s what having a big, strong squad like ours is about though.

We’ve not had many good wickets to bat on and it could have been him or Keats, to be honest.

He showed his skills as maybe Has would have done as well.

I’m sure he’ll get his chance to make runs for 
Lancashire and press his England case again soon.

It’s testament to the squad – look at Graham Onions missing out after bowling 
really well a week earlier.

There are not too many grumbles though when you have to make way for one 
of the world’s best seam bowlers.

Next up is a quick return against Nottinghamshire who beat us in the first game of the new season at Old 
Trafford.

We played Yorkshire back to back last year which was strange but you usually get one you play twice quite quickly in the season. It’s Notts this time around for us and they are in red-hot form at the top of the table so it will be a great challenge.

We want to level up with them after that first game.

They’ve got a great seam attack at the moment and have Stuart Broad but we’ve got Jimmy Anderson. They are two guys we want to see playing for England but you’re lucky when you get to play with and against them too.

It’s what it’s all about and is a really good test and helps you see where you’re at as a player.

We’ve had some good weather so hopefully the pitch will be nice to bat on.

It’s got all the makings of a good game and being a good challenge for all the batsmen.

With this being our last Championship game before the one-day games start it would be a great time to get that first win ticked off.

Steven Croft is celebrating his testimonial year and was talking to Adam Lord