Nottinghamshire ended the second day of their match against Worcestershire on 291-8, that’s still 24 behind after a day in which both sides could claim periods of dominance.
A stand of 102 during the afternoon session between Adam Voges and Samit Patel helped swing the momentum back towards the home side after three wickets had fallen in quick succession and despite those two – and Steven Mullaney – passing fifty, none of them were able to press on to three figures.
“The match is still very much in the balance,” said Notts all-rounder Paul Franks who will resume alongside Luke Fletcher after reverting to his familiar number eight batting spot.
“We had a couple of decent partnerships which got us into good positions but then each time we didn’t capitalise." Paul Franks
“We had a couple of decent partnerships which got us into good positions but then each time we didn’t capitalise and then had periods where we lost quick wickets.”
“It’s still a pretty good pitch so we will need to try and get up and beyond them tomorrow and then hope to try and take some early wickets when they bat again.”
Worcestershire had been dismissed for 315 with their total owing much to the resilience of 20 year old Matt Pardoe who batted for four hours and forty minutes in reaching 76, his highest first class score to date. He eventually fell to the bowling of Patel, who ended with three wickets although the bowling honours again belonged to Andre Adams who bagged his third five wicket haul of the season.
Pardoe and Damien Wright resumed the Worcestershire innings on a bright sunny morning and, barring a few play and misses, continued without too much concern to claim a third batting bonus point.
In only his third championship match, Pardoe continued in the same unruffled manner that characterised his first day performance. Wright, on the other hand, picked his moments to go after the bowling and brought up a relatively untroubled half century with his tenth boundary.
The introduction into the attack of Patel brought immediate results as Pardoe clipped to Alex Hales at short midwicket for 74 and Wright was given out lbw for 65 as he lunged forward without making contact. The pair had added 96 together for the eighth wicket.
Adams, who’d repeatedly beaten the bat, then jagged one back to flatten Mat Mason’s leg stump to end with figures of 5-73.
Notts were left with 40 minutes to bat before lunch and it enabled Neil Edwards to confirm his credentials. Crisp driving on either side of the wicket saw him race to 31 not out at the break in an opening stand of 48. Mark Wagh saw rather less of the strike but consecutive boundaries from the final two balls of the session saw him go to lunch on 17.
With just the second ball after the re-start, Worcestershire celebrated when they thought Edwards had edged behind off Richardson but umpire Lloyds turned down the appeal. It was the briefest stay of execution as in the following over from the same bowler the left hander was given out in almost identical fashion – caught after a thin nick to the ‘keeper.
A delivery from Mason reduced Wagh to his knees, in obvious discomfort and he may have still been feeling the pain two balls later when he lost his off peg to one that kept low. A healthy 60-0 had become a worrying 60-2 inside a couple of minutes.
The situation grew more critical when Hales, fresh from two superb innings at Headingley, went without scoring – Richardson again finding a thin outside edge.
Voges survived a huge lbw shout early on but then got away with an on-drive for four. A period of consolidation was required but the outcome proved to be even more satisfying as, in tandem with Patel, the pair accelerated to a sparkling century stand in just 22 overs.
The Australian led the way – reaching his own 50 in just 63 minutes from 49 balls faced with 10 boundaries. At one stage he hit Gareth Andrew for three boundaries in a row and he appeared well set until undone by one from Richardson that appeared to keep a little low and trapped him lbw for 61.
Tea was taken at 176-4. The re-shuffle in the order had seen Steven Mullaney go in at six ahead of Chris Read and he came out after the resumption with a couple of high-quality extra cover drives to guide the side to their first batting point.
Mullaney monopolised a stand of 93 with Patel and had gone on to a personal score of 53 when the returning Andrew trapped him with the first ball of a new spell. Chris Read then edged the next delivery, for a first ball duck to reduce Notts to 259-6.
Patel had played a faultless innings in reaching 81 but then couldn’t resist coming down the track to Moeen Ali and was gratefully taken at deep midwicket.
Andre Adams made 10 before falling to the final ball of the day to give Richardson his fourth victim.
Franks was unbeaten on 19 at the close.