In a contest that went right down to the final ball, Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship match against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl ended in a draw.
Notts, set to score 202 from 70 overs, finished just short of their target on 198-6. Adam Voges made 79 and Riki Wessels 43 but requiring 11 from the final over the visitors came within four runs of victory.
Earlier Samit Patel took two of the four Hants second innings wickets to fall, leaving him with a career best analysis of 7-68 – and 11-111 from 60 overs in the match.
Although disappointed to miss out on a fourth straight victory on the ground Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s Director of Cricket, felt that the surface had been the winner.
“You think that sort of target is fairly easy but this game has been difficult for the batsmen all the way through,” said Newell.
“It was important to re-establish ourselves having been 14-3 at one stage – we did that, then had a little dart at the end but couldn’t quite get there.”
Newell felt that the asking run rate was always going to be a problem.
“We needed 75 from 16 overs with only 3 wickets down but there was always the potential on there to be 5 or 6 down very quickly. Maybe people think we have been a little negative as we didn’t have a go earlier but we needed to get close – and make sure we didn’t lose – as that wicket continued to take so much spin.
“Only McKenzie (for Hampshire) and Adam and Riki batted for any length of time so every credit to them for what they did and it was just unfortunate that we came up short.”
Notts began the morning needing to collect the final four wickets in Hampshire’s second innings. The hosts, who began the day with an overall advantage of 116, moved steadily along with Michael Bates and Chris Wood at the wicket. 28 runs came quickly – before a period of consolidation in which Patel and Graeme White bowled four consecutive maidens.
After almost an hour of play Notts ended the stand, which had produced 53 for the seventh wicket. Wood (28), holding Notts up for the second time in the match, nibbled at one from Patel and Chris Read took a sharp catch at the wicket.
The Notts’ captain switched his two spinners and White achieved instant success from the more favourable Pavilion End as he induced Danny Briggs (8) into chipping straight back to him.
Imran Tahir wasted no time in making his intentions clear by slog-sweeping White over the midwicket ropes from the first ball he faced and he moved to a rapid 13 before the same bowler exacted revenge by knocking his middle stump out of the ground.
Bates equalled his career-best score of 31 before edging Patel into the hands of Voges, leaving the spinner to celebrate his first-ever seven wicket haul.
Hampshire’s total of 171 left Notts with a victory target of 202 – and a tricky nine minute session before lunch.
Two overs brought four runs. Debate over whether there was sufficient time to bowl another over followed but the umpires agreed. For the first time in the match Imran Tahir was given the Pavilion End and his first ball found the edge of Neil Edwards (2) bat and Neil McKenzie took a sharp catch at slip to end the session.
Having dismissed Charlie Shreck with the final ball of Nottinghamshire’s first innings Imran Tahir began the afternoon on a hat-trick but he was thwarted by Alex Hales. The right-hander didn’t last much longer though, losing his off peg to David Griffiths for 1.
At 5-2 the travelling supporters feared the worst and the situation intensified when Patel (8) couldn’t cement a fine bowling performance with a match-winning innings. He hit back-to-back boundaries but then snicked one from Wood to the ‘keeper.
Riki Wessels took ten overs in getting off the mark but gradually he, and Adam Voges, made batting look manageable through a session of intense pressure, with often four men fielding close around the bat.
Voges accumulated steadily and contributed 31 out of the fifty partnership, which had taken 27 overs to construct. By tea Notts had advanced to 84-3, needing a further 118 to win.
The duo – both Australian-born – battled it out under cloudy skies, with the asking rate always around 5 per over. They extended their partnership into three figures with Voges reaching his fifth championship half century of the summer.
As the final hour began Notts were on 128-3, needing 74 from 16 overs. The task had been reduced to 58 from 10 when Wessels was dismissed for 43 – losing his off stump to Wood for the second time in the contest. The pair had added 130 in 56 overs of nuggety-hard cricket.
Five more runs had been added when Voges (79) clipped Imran Tahir firmly to short leg where fielder Liam Dawson immediately signalled he was injured and left the field with a possible dislocated finger. Sean Ervine donned the protective equipment and resumed close in on the leg side – gratefully accepting a bat / pad catch two balls later.
Without Voges, Notts’ task looked increasingly difficult but Chris Read (21 not out) and Steven Mullaney (22) added 27 in five overs to keep hopes alive.
Six runs were needed from four Imran Tahir deliveries but a sharp stumping by Bates accounted for Mullaney and the visitors ended just short of their target.