In Nottinghamshire’s total of 326 on the first day Paul Franks scored 69 and the 32 year old proved his worth as an all-rounder by claiming figures of 4-50 with the ball. Franks admitted that he had enjoyed his contribution so far.
“It’s nice to be doing well”, he said.
“I’ve worked hard on my game over the years and as my career has gone on my batting has improved.
“This has been a pretty engaging two days so far. It’s like an old-fashioned four-day match and it’s nicely in the balance at the moment.”
Although desperate for a five-wicket haul Franks said it was the right decision to take him out of the attack late on.
“It would have been nice to have had the chance to get five wickets but I’d put in a pretty long stint and other bowlers were a little fresher towards the end of the day,” he said.
During the morning session openers Stephen Moore and Paul Horton batted in two phases. Initially they looked to defend – showing good judgement to leave or block as many deliveries as possible.
Charlie Shreck’s initial burst of 9 overs only cost twenty runs but the stranglehold was broken when Moore looked to attack the change bowlers. He hit Andre Adams for three consecutive boundaries, although the first of them had been a fortunate snick over the slips.
The pair had added 82 before the returning Luke Fletcher made the breakthrough. Moore played and missed at a widish delivery but inexplicably tried a repeat to the next ball and edged to Read for 42.
Karl Brown fell to the same bowler, for just 10. As at Old Trafford last September, it was an outside edge to Alex Hales at first slip that was his undoing. Adams appealed long and hard for an lbw shout against Mark Chilton but he, along with Horton who had batted throughout the session in reaching 46 not out, saw the Red Rose county to lunch on 105-2.
As on the first day, the afternoon session produced a gripping tussle between bat and ball – with three wickets falling, all of them to Paul Franks.
Chilton had moved on to 24 before chopping back onto his stumps. Steven Croft (2) chipped tamely to Neil Edwards at midwicket and Tom Smith (6) could do very little except edge a real snorter of a ball through to Read.
Despite losing a succession of partners, Horton maintained a steady flow of runs from the other end but had one moment of real alarm just before tea. Giving himself room against the spin of Samit Patel he edged between Read and the sole slip fielder, Andre Adams, to move from 92 to 96.
Having twice been dismissed in the nineties this season he spent the second interval of the day unbeaten on 98, with his side on 194-5.
Alas for Horton, his problems in the nineties continued. On 99 he received a brute of a delivery from Franks and couldn’t avoid edging it behind.
After taking the second new ball, Charlie Shreck got rid of Farvez Maharoof for 13 and Gareth Cross went to Fletcher for 21 – both batsmen falling to sharp catches by David Hussey at second slip.
Nottinghamshire’s progress towards maximum bowling points was held up during the final eleven overs of the day as Sajid Mahmood (39 not out) and Kyle Hogg (19 not out) shared a stand of fifty to leave the contest heading towards parity at the halfway stage.