Fletcher & Adams
Defy Middlesex Charge
Featured News | 12th April 2013
Nottinghamshire ended the third day of their match against Middlesex on 182-9 in their second innings, an overall lead of just 107.
Neil Dexter was the chief tormenter for the home side, collecting career-best figures of 5-27 as Notts’ middle-order was blown away between lunch and tea.
Only an entertaining stand of 89 between Andre Adams (50 not out) and Luke Fletcher (47) gave Notts some late hope but realistically a final day defeat would now seem the likeliest outcome.
"It will take a major turn-around to get anything out of this game now." Mick Newell
“I’m very disappointed,” said Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell.
“We got ourselves into a terrible mess and it could have been all over in three days if it wasn’t for the stand between Adams and Fletcher.
“They’ve given us some hope, something to cling to but it will take a major turn-around to get anything out of this game now.
“There was a series of poor shots from some of our key batsmen and, we have to be honest, we have been outplayed in this match.
“I’m a bit surprised – I really felt our preparations had been good and we were ready for this match.”
A light shower of rain delayed the morning start by 45 minutes but Simpson wasted no time in flicking the second ball of the day away to bring up the Middlesex 300.
The bowler, Ajmal Shahzad, had officially been awarded his county cap before play and celebrated by claiming his third wicket of the innings, having Ollie Rayner (13) sharply taken at first slip by Alex Hales.
At 344-7, with Simpson on 92, Notts missed the chance of a wicket as Samit Patel dropped a difficult offering at second slip off Adams.
His partner, James Harris (8) fell soon afterwards though, caught behind off Andy Carter, who then saw Patel make amends by clutching an even sharper catch off Toby Roland-Jones (0).
The wicket fell on the stroke of one o’clock and the Nottinghamshire players and umpire Nick Cook headed for the pavilion, only to be recalled by Neil Mallender, pointing out that nine wickets were down so play must continue.
With last man Tim Murtagh at the crease Simpson lost control of his own destiny. He allowed the number eleven to return for a second run, instead of keeping the strike to himself.
It proved costly as Murtagh (2) then gave Chris Read his third catch of the innings as Adams found an outside edge. Simpson was left stranded on an undefeated score of 97.
Notts had managed to pick up maximum bowling points but trailed by 75 on first innings, with extras contributing 51 of the Middlesex total.
Beginning again at the start of the afternoon session Notts were soon in trouble as Ed Cowan (1) lost his off stump to Murtagh.
Michael Lumb (0) collected a pair for the match, being given out lbw to Roland-Jones for the second time in the game.
Alex Hales (32) and James Taylor (22) looked to have steadied the ship but the change bowlers then brought about a dramatic collapse.
Gareth Berg had Hales caught behind and then Neil Dexter tore through the rest of the recognised batting.
Samit Patel (4) pulled high to midwicket in Dexter’s first over and he followed it up by dismissing Taylor, Wessels (0) and Read (1) in his third.
When Ajmal Shahzad (11) edged to slip, Dexter, only bowling due to an injury to James Harris, had his first 5-wicket haul in first class cricket.
Having been 68-7 and then 93-8 Notts fought back with the stand between Adams and Fletcher, which featured a combination of well-placed singles and mighty heaves.
Adams’ fifty (37 balls, 3x4, 3x6) brought about the biggest cheer of the day but Fletcher’s equally fine knock came to an abrupt end just before he could reach the milestone also.