Alex Hales extended his first championship century of the summer to a career best 184 out of a Nottinghamshire all out total of 492 on the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Somerset at Trent Bridge.
Second time around the visitors scored 197-2 by the close, with Marcus Trescothick playing fluently before falling for 86. The other wicket to fall was that of Arul Suppiah (25) who was dismissed by Andre Adams.
On the day the Kiwi star signed a new contract extension he admitted that it was crucial to get rid of Trescothick when they did.
“In our dressing room he’s still regarded as the best English player around,” said Andre. “He can be so dangerous and by getting him out when we did we’ve at least given ourselves a chance if we bowl well in the morning.”
Adams feels that the playing surface has been particularly good. “I think this is the best wicket we’ve played on at Trent Bridge for some time. It’s got a lot more pace and bounce to it. The key to batting well is being able to trust the bounce so you are able to play your shots properly.”
The morning session began in glorious sunshine with Notts picking up from their overnight score of 303-5, with Alex Hales and Chris Read looking to build on a stand that had already reached 53 by the close on the second evening.
Both batsmen were quickly into their stride. Hales hit Kartik for four through midwicket in the first over of the day. At that point the second new ball became immediately available and Read treated it’s arrival with a sumptuous drive down the ground off Willoughby.
The Nottinghamshire skipper monopolised the strike - and the scoring - as his younger partner crafted his way to a new career best score. Read pulled Adam Dibble over the ropes at midwicket for six shortly before the century stand was realised.
Peter Trego had been below his best on the second day, bowling eleven maiden-less overs for sixty runs but he quickly bounced back to form, dismissing Read (48) with a full delivery which trapped his man in the crease.
Hales, meanwhile, was beginning to accelerate and an extra cover boundary off Trego brought up his 150. Notts secured the overall lead and then maximum bonus points shortly afterwards but lost a further wicket just before lunch as the returning Kartik ended a promising start by Paul Franks (28), with Craig Keiswetter needing two attempts to pouch the offering.
Picking up from their interval score of 419-7 Notts went in search of quick runs. Staurt Broad sped to 21 before edging Willoughby to Keiswetter.
Adams started in typically ebullient fashion. A couple of boundaries preceded a maximum, as he pulled a short ball from Kirby into the Fox Road Stand.
Bizarrely Somerset put everyone back to bowl at a man on 184 - rather than the explosive Adams - but the tactics worked because Hales perished, again nibbling at Willoughby to be taken behind.
Hales’ innings had lasted for six hours and 49 minutes and he had faced 290 deliveries, which produced 27 fours and two sixes.
Adams smashed Kirby for two more sixes – one deep into the seats in front of the pavilion and the other into the Hound Road Stand - before he became Willoughby’s third victim.
The Notts score had realised 492 – comfortably their best first innings effort of the season.
Batting for a second time Somerset got away to a dream start with Marcus Trescothick taking 19 from Stuart Broad’s first two overs. With Arul Suppiah also settling in nicely after his first innings duck the team fifty arrived inside ten overs.
Trescothick sped to his own half century but then lost his partner (25) caught down the legside by Read off Adams.
At 3.30pm – with the score on 83-1 – dark clouds prompted the umpires to take the players off for an early tea but no play was lost and a prompt resumption brought a change of ends for Stuart Broad.
Bowling from the Radcliffe Road End he produced an eight over burst that deserved better reward than figures of 1-8 but it did contain the key scalp of Trescothick – caught behind for 86 from a brute of a delivery.
Notts were unable to make further inroads as Nick Compton and Chris Jones batted throughout the remainder of the session, inching Somerset into a 91 run advantage by stumps.