Nottinghamshire lost three late wickets on Day Two of their LV= County Championship match against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl to leave the match in the balance.
A splendid 97 not out from Hampshire batsman Neil McKenzie had taken the home side to 213, with Samit Patel claiming 4-43 for the visitors, who ended on 35-3 in reply.
Graeme White also enjoyed a long bowl before collecting figures of 2-53. White, in his first championship game of the season, admitted that he’d enjoyed the occasion.
“It was good to get through twenty overs and I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to play in this match,” he said.
“It was one of my targets to get some more championship games under my belt this summer and I now need to take my chance, get some wickets and try and help the side to start winning again.”
The spinner admitted that he liked the look of the surface as soon as he saw it.
“You don’t usually get many first day wickets looking like that”, he reflected.
“But you need to put that to the back of your mind and focus on your bowling, get the ball in the right areas and hopefully get some turn and bounce. I enjoyed bowling with Samit and thought he did really well, building up pressure from the other end.”
Beneath slate grey skies Notts enjoyed a fruitful morning which brought them five Hampshire wickets. Charlie Shreck struck first – trapping Liam Dawson (6) lbw in the fifth over.
Darren Pattinson wasted no time in celebrating his first scalp by removing Jimmy Adams (7) in the next over. Initially it appeared as if the bowler was pleading for an lbw decision of his own but the ball ran back off the pads of the left hander to dislodge a bail.
In the tenth over it became 26-3 as Chris Read’s full length dive, off Pattinson, removed Michael Carberry (4) and the same bowler almost picked up James Vince after a spectacular attempt at slip by Adam Voges.
Vince (6) didn’t last much longer though. Read took an early punt on the spin of Samit Patel and immediately he persuaded Vince to chip one tamely to Pattinson at mid off.
A stand of 28 then held Notts up but Graeme White removed Sean Ervine (14) before lunch, thanks to a dolly of a catch to Riki Wessels at short leg.
Although the first meaningful rain of the day fell during the break, it was only a passing shower and play resumed on time.
With his side on 86-5 Neil McKenzie held his side’s hopes of a first innings surge towards batting points. He had made a patient 41 not out during the morning session and helped himself to a single at the start of the first six overs after the resumption – with partner Michael Bates defending the remainder of each over.
This sedate passage of play was broken in the 35th over with a handsome McKenzie drive off Pattinson, bringing up the South African’s half century. Bates was dropped on 12 – clipping Shreck firmly to midwicket where Patel’s couldn’t hang on, diving full length to his right.
The sixth wicket stand had advanced to 51 when Read turned to Steven Mullaney for the first time in the innings and he immediately bowled Bates (24), perhaps with the help of an inside edge.
Chris Wood offered support to McKenzie but at 3.10pm, with the score on 150-6, light rain forced the players from the field.
During the subsequent stoppage tea was taken and on the resumption Chris Wood looked to increase the tempo for the home side. In consecutive overs he twice skipped down the track to loft Graeme White over the ropes for maximums. He had moved to within one run of equalling his personal best when he fell for 34 – nudging Patel into Voges’ hands at slip.
Danny Briggs (6) perished tamely – chipping the same bowler to Mullaney in the covers. Read resisted the temptation to take the second new ball when it became due and Patel rewarded that decision with his fourth wicket as Imran Tahir (1) lobbed up to Shreck at mid on.
McKenzie drew within three of his century but had to end on 97 not out when White was again assisted by Wessels at bat/pad to remove last man Griffiths (0).
Responding, Notts were soon in difficulties of their own. In the third over Neil Edwards (8) edged to Dawson at second slip and Alex Hales (2) went three balls later, losing his leg stump to one that cut back sharply.
In the fifth over the situation deteriorated further as Riki Wessels (7) had his stumps disturbed by one that nipped in to him – with Chris Wood picking up all three wickets to fall in a particularly lively spell.
Samit Patel and Adam Voges saw it through to the close with Notts on 35-3, still 178 runs adrift.