Nottinghamshire gained the upper hand on another rain-interrupted day of LV= County Championship cricket at Trent Bridge.
With only the morning session played, the home side limited Durham to a score of 85-4 before the rains arrived during the lunch interval.
Mick Newell, director of cricket, was pleased to have seen his side compete strongly.
“I think we’ve had the best of the two hours cricket,” he said. “It’s disappointing that we didn’t play after lunch but we’d set ourselves a target of four wickets and we’ve given ourselves a little bit of a start and now hopefully we’ll get some dry days.”
“We needed to leave grass on it and moisture in it to try and encourage the ball to seam around and it did swing a little bit as the shine came off.
The green-tinged strip was very much to Newell’s liking. “We wanted the wicket to have a bit of carry in it – not a huge amount – it’s just nibbling around a little bit.
“We needed to leave grass on it and moisture in it to try and encourage the ball to seam around and it did swing a little bit as the shine came off. We don’t want to play on flat wickets, that’s not going to get us into any sort of position.”
The Notts side showed four changes from the team that drew at Taunton last week, with James Taylor and Graeme Swann on Test duty and Andre Adams and Harry Gurney injured. The four to return were Steven Mullaney, Graeme White, Luke Fletcher and Andy Carter.
Mark Stoneman and Will Smith negotiated the opening half hour of play with few alarms but the final ball of the eighth over brought an unexpected dividend.
Smith (3) left alone a ball which did enough from Fletcher to nip back and hit an unprotected off stump.
A hovering police helicopter – flying after a raid at a local Post Office – was an obvious distraction to everyone as its noisy rotors roared just above the ground for around three quarters of an hour.
Doing their best to concentrate on the job in hand, Notts built on their early success, by making further inroads into the Durham top order.
New batsman Keaton Jennings (2) didn’t last long – sent on his way by umpire Steve Gale after being rattled on his pads by Ben Phillips.
Phil Mustard (9) went into the game in the most sublime form imaginable, after hitting back-to-back centuries over the weekend. Promoted to number four, he went after his shots and hit a couple of boundaries before feathering one through to Chris Read, to give Andy Carter a wicket.
Just before lunch Fletcher returned into the attack and ended the 88-ball resistance of Mark Stoneman (46), thanks to another catch at the wicket.
The initial flurry of light rain, that prevented a prompt restart, gave way to heavy and persistent showers and with no prospects of any further play the umpires called time at around 5.10pm.