The third day of Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship match against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl was dominated by the spinners, who took twelve of the thirteen wickets to fall.
Initially, Notts were undone by the slow left armer Danny Briggs, who returned figures of 6-65 to dismiss the visitors for 183.
Samit Patel ensured that the seam bowlers would be kept out of the limelight by snaring the first five Hants wickets in their second innings to leave the match nicely poised with the home side on 86-6 at the close, possessing an overall lead of just 116 with only four wickets left.
Patel, bowling from the Pavilion End in an unbroken 15 over spell, recorded a season’s best 5-36 and understandably relished his reward. “The wicket is very spinner friendly, to be honest”, he said afterwards. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of bowling on it as you don’t get to play on wickets that spin that much very often.”
After taking 4-43 in the first innings Patel is nearing a personal best. “It would be nice to get ten wickets in the match - or even more -but the important thing is to get them out quickly in the morning. Chasing any more than 180 would be difficult as it’s spinning more and more and batting isn’t easy on it.
“It’s massively important that we can get back to winning ways as we’ve had a poor couple of months in four-day cricket and we need to put ourselves back on the map.”
Notts began the morning on 35-3 with Patel at the crease alongside Adam Voges and both began brightly as Hampshire opened with an all-seam attack.
The fourth wicket stand had been stretched to 52 when Danny Briggs was brought on to bowl after 50 minutes of play and immediately he struck, getting Voges (30) caught at short leg by Liam Dawson.
A further 16 overs were bowled before the home side made their next breakthrough, with Briggs removing Patel (33) as umpire John Steele raised his finger to uphold an appeal for lbw.
Steven Mullaney raced to 29 out of a lunch-time score of 112-5, with Chris Read on 5 but both also fell to Briggs upon the resumption.
In the 55th over of the innings Steven Mullaney (36) was given out lbw by umpire Steele but then – possibly after a moment of reflection - was recalled by the official. The reprieve was short-lived because at the start of Briggs’ next over the verdict went in favour of the bowler.
Read (20) also went leg before as Notts slipped to 141-7. Only three more runs had been added when Andre Adams (5) lofted to Imran Tahir at mid on.
Graeme White and Darren Pattinson decided to take the fight to the bowlers and both hit Briggs for maximums during a stand of 39.
White (25) impressed but then fell to a splendid running catch to become Briggs next victims – Imran Tahir running quickly to his left at deep mid off continued his celebrations all the way around the offside boundary before being engulfed by his team-mates.
Imran Tahir’s patience was finally rewarded when Shreck (0) chipped straight back to him, leaving Pattinson undefeated on 17, out of an all-out score 183.
Taking a first innings lead of 30 into their second knock Hampshire‘s openers added 32 for the first wicket before Read turned to Patel.
Immediately he had Dawson (20) taken in the covers by Neil Edwards. A couple of overs later two more big scalps fell in quick succession. Michael Carberry (5) fell cheaply for the second time in the contest, prodding up to Riki Wessels at short leg. Three balls later Neil McKenzie, 97 the previous day, fell for nought, thanks to a sharp slip catch by Voges.
Patel’s fourth and fifth victims, Vince and Ervine, were both given out lbw – and both for 11. With all twelve dismissals on the day, to that point, going to the spinners, it was left to Andre Adams to have the final say with the final ball of the day.
Namesake Jimmy, the Hants’ captain, had battled to 33 before being trapped in front of his stumps to give Notts the upper hand at stumps.
They will have to bat well on the final day but their first victory in seven championship matches remains a realistic target.