A sensational ninth wicket stand of 114 between Andre Adams and Ben Phillips enabled Nottinghamshire to avoid the follow on against Yorkshire and claim the maximum batting bonus points on offer for reaching 400 runs. Yorkshire still hold the upper hand, however, closing the third day on 17-0, an overall lead of 123.
When Phillips and Adams came together Notts were on 291-8, still 94 runs away from saving the follow on.
Destructive batting from both players – in just 16.2 overs - took the home side to safety. With neither player fully fit, the runs from the lower order were a welcome bonus, as verified by Director of Cricket, Mick Newell.
“We seem to dig ourselves into a hole most weeks and we then got out of a difficult situation and we managed to avoid the follow on and get all of our batting points,” he said.
“It’s been quite a successful day although it was a strange way of doing it.”
Phillips, on his first class debut for Notts, paid tribute to his batting partner.
“Andre is such a destructive hitter and I tried to keep up with him at one stage – it was great fun,” he said.
“We decided to see it and hit it. It’s still a good wicket and there were plenty of gaps, so we just wanted to be aggressive and remain positive.”
Neil Edwards and Alex Hales both also passed fifty, although Hales had to return to the crease after being forced to retire hurt during the morning session.
Edwards and Mark Wagh resumed from their overnight 43-0. Not since Will Jefferson and Bilal Shafayat combined to put on 157 against Sussex at Hove in 2008 have a pair of openers combined for a century stand for the county in championship cricket. That record would remain intact but the 88 added in this innings is the best since then.
The breakthrough came when Yorkshire turned to Rich Pyrah, who picked up a five-wicket haul when the sides met at Headingley two weeks ago. With just his second delivery, Pyrah ripped one through the defences of Wagh and knocked over his off stump for 16.
Edwards, who’d reached his half century from 47 deliveries was then given out caught behind. The left hander clearly didn’t feel there’d been any contact but umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy sent him on his way.
Samit Patel raced to 21 but then edged Pyrah to second slip, where Rashid took a low catch. Worse was to follow when Hales – who had looked in good touch had to retire hurt on 28. Looking to hook Ajmal Shahzad, he appeared to go through the shot early and was struck in the face. Hopefully the grille on the helmet took most of the impact but Alex was guided off by physio Ross Hollinworth.
Adam Voges and Steven Mullaney added 13 but the Australian fell to the last ball before lunch. Bowling with great pace and energy from the pavilion end, Shahzad trapped him lbw for just 5. At 158-4 Notts needed to consolidate after lunch and it came from Mullaney and his new partner, Chris Read.
In tandem they had added 150 runs to defy Yorkshire on the third morning at Leeds a couple of weeks ago. This time their partnership had progressed to 64 when the Notts’ skipper fell in unfortunate circumstances.
On reaching 19 Read had brought up his 11,000th run in first class cricket but he only added eleven more before being dismissed. Adil Rashid’s shortish, legside delivery was punched away firmly but lodged in the midriff of Joe Root at short leg. The batsman stood transfixed for a moment as the fielding team celebrated.
Notts needed a lift and it came with the re-emergence from the pavilion of Hales. Predictably – and perfectly understandably - he was met by a barrage of short-pitched bowling from Shahzad, which was safely negotiated.
Quickly back into his stride Hales raced to a gutsy half century, helped by a maximum into the New Stand, off Pyrah.
On 64 though, he too fell to Rashid. Another short ball was picked up powerfully but hit straight into the hands of Ryan Sidebottom at deep square leg to leave Notts in difficulties on 264-6.
That became 269-7 when Mullaney, who had batted flawlessly, fell one short of a deserved fifty, caught at slip, again off Rashid.
Paul Franks, fresh from his 82 against Worcestershire last week, made 9 but was then bowled by Joe Root, who joyously celebrated his maiden championship wicket.
Phillips had got off the mark with a chancy push to Shahzad at mid on but after tea he opened his shoulders to loft Rashid back over his head for a six and then a one-bounce four in the same area.
Adams, looking to make an impact after injury prevented him bowling more than 9 overs in the Yorkshire innings, timed the ball from the off. When he and Phillips came together 9 runs were needed to get the extra bonus point at 300 – by the time they were separated Notts had scored maximum points and saved the follow-on.
Their stand of 114 was one of the most destructive seen on the ground for some time and will be talked about for many a year – powerful hitting took both men to half centuries, aided by three maximums apiece.
When Adams fell, skying Shahzad to ‘keeper Bairstow the assault was taken up by Luke Fletcher who hit a bright and breezy 20 – made up of 5 boundaries.
Yorkshire had to face seven overs at the end of the day and Adam Lyth and Joe Sayers safely negotiated them and will begin the final day on 17-0.