Notts Out To Make It
An Unexpected Hat-Trick
Comment and Analysis | 26th April 2011
Nottinghamshire go in search of their third consecutive win in defence of the County Championship title they won last summer when they host Worcestershire today, with Mick Newell warning: "We have to start scoring more runs."
The green and golds staged a remarkable comeback to beat Yorkshire by 58 runs after conceding a first innings deficit of 193 runs at Headingley last week.
That has given them a great start to their 2011 summer as they welcome Steven Rhodes' relegation favourites, who have lost their opening two matches, to Trent Bridge.
But even though everything seems in their favour, director of cricket Newell says it will not be easy to keep their good form going.
And he insists the team cannot rely on their bowlers to dig them out of a hole too often, as they did up in Leeds.
"It says a lot about the team and in particular our skipper (Chris Read) that we can win a game like the one at Yorkshire when, after the second day, we were in a mess and you thought we were going to lose by seven or eight wickets," said Newell.
"Not only did Ready bat brilliantly, but I also thought his bowling changes and field settings were excellent and that shows how he has developed that side of his captaincy.
"It was a huge win because you can't afford to have many defeats when you are only picking up just three points, as it looked like we would.
"It's the best comeback win I have been involved with at any level.
"It's an excellent start for us and people may expect us to beat Worcestershire as we are at home at Trent Bridge, where our seam attack know how to bowl well.
"But we will treat them with respect and we know we need to put more runs on the board because we can't win many games in the way we won the last one."
Newell felt a second innings, seventh-wicket stand of 150 was vital to Notts' dramatic win over Yorkshire.
And he also paid tribute to the excellence of bowlers Paul Franks, Charlie Shreck and Luke Fletcher
Newell said: "With Chris Read and Steven Mullaney in, we had two batsmen who could build a partnership, which is exactly what they did.
"Without that, everything else that followed would not have happened. They were outstanding and Alex Hales (who registered two scores in the 80s) was also terrific.
"It was a little bit of a difficult wicket to bat on in that it kept a bit low and was taking spin, but it was generally a decent pitch.
"I didn't really think we were going to win it for sure until they were eight down.
"Getting three early wickets before tea was particularly important and I think when Gale was out, it put a lot of doubt into their dressing room.
"They certainly got more nervous as the chase went on. We bowled nicely and put the ball in the right places.
"Franksy bowled a couple of jaffers, Shrecky got the ball swinging nicely and Luke chipped in with wickets as well."
Andy Carter (abdominal strain) and Darren Pattinson (hamstring) are still some way from fitness and will aim to play a seconds game against Yorkshire in the first week in May.
But Ben Phillips is back in contention after coming through Notts' CB40 opener against Somerset on Sunday.
Neil Edwards is added to the squad against Worcestershire in a possible change at the top of the order.
"You could see what Ryan Sidebottom did for Yorkshire against us that we are going to miss him at some point this summer, but our other seamers have really stepped up so far," said Newell.
"The good thing is we have other people who will be contending for spots and Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann will be available soon as well."
Worcestershire come to Trent Bridge determined to improve on a disappointing start following their promotion from Division Two last summer.
Newell said: "They have a very good player in Vikram Solanki and Mitchell is an improving opening batsman.
"They also have an experienced seam attack who can all take wickets.
"But we have to look to put pressure on some of the more inexperienced players in their batting order."
Nottinghamshire: Franks, Wagh, Edwards, Hales, Patel, Voges, Read, Mullaney, Adams, Fletcher, Shreck.
Matt Halfpenny is the Midlands Sports Journalist of the year and follows Nottinghamshire for the Nottingham Post.