Nottinghamshire were frustrated by a combination of rain and good batting as Sussex ended the third day of the LV= County Championship match at Trent Bridge on 146-0, still 203 runs away from making the home side bat again.
The day produced a total of 223 runs with, astonishingly, no wickets falling.
During the first hour of the day Nottinghamshire extended their first innings score to 520-5 before Chris Read declared, with his side holding an overall lead of 349.
James Taylor, who began the morning with news of his call-up to the England Test squad, advanced his own score on to 163 not out, with Adam Voges left undefeated on 44.
After problems in securing batting points, earlier in the season, Mick Newell was understandably delighted with the efforts of his batsmen.
“We’ve played very well during the first part of this match and set out with some very clear targets of how we wanted to go about this,” he said.
“We’ve got to keep the pressure on Sussex right to the end of the game because this is an important game for us." Mick Newell
“Once we’d dismissed Sussex in the first innings it was very important to make a big score.”
Whilst Voges played a supporting role, the director of cricket again praised the role of the Australian batsman. “We are very lucky to have him. He’s an overseas player who doesn’t make any demands and fits into the team wherever we ask him to fit in.
“In twenty20 he has perhaps a more prominent role in the batting order but in this competition I’m happy that he is willing and happy to bat behind Taylor, Patel and Lumb, guys who are trying to force their way into international cricket and it’s a great pleasure to have him here.”
Newell accepts it isn’t going to be easy to bowl Sussex out for a second time but knows it is a task that must be achieved.
“There’s not a lot in the wicket,” he said. “It’s similar to some of the other games we’ve had this year where the ball has moved around on the first day but it just seems to be that when the pitches dry out here they become very flat.
“We’ve got to keep the pressure on Sussex right to the end of the game because this is an important game for us. In terms of the rest of the season, this is probably the last time we’ll have all of our players available as we’re going into a long run of international cricket, of varying types, that’s going to make severe demands on our squad. I think this is a game that realistically, to keep in touch with Warwickshire, we have to win.”
Resuming on 434-4 at the start of the day, Taylor and Voges kept the board ticking over in adding 77 relatively untroubled runs in 17 overs.
Taylor ran the first ball of the morning down to third man for two, then a hard slash from the bowling of Khan flicked the gloves of ‘keeper Brown on its way down to the third man fence.
The same batsman continued his prolific start to the day with a pull off Luke Wright which flew out to the ropes at deep square leg to bring up the 100 partnership and take the lead beyond 300.
Both batters maintained a healthy run-rate as Sussex switched from seam to spin, with Monty Panesar and Chris Nash introduced to bowl to defensive fields.
Taylor brought up his own 150 and the team 500 came up one delivery later.
Adam Voges’ previous two innings for Notts had seen him involved in stands of 143 and 145, both with Chris Read. This time he and Taylor nudged beyond that and had added 148 when the captain called them both in after an hour of play.
The total was Nottinghamshire’s highest for almost exactly two years when David Hussey’s unbeaten 251 helped the side to a score of 545-7 declared against Headingley at Yorkshire.
In the fifty minutes of play that were available before lunch, openers Ed Joyce and Chris Nash emerged unscathed in adding 40 together, from 14 overs.
The post-lunch session began in similar vain as 19 runs were added in as many minutes before the first of the expected showers swept across the ground.
After a stoppage of more than an hour, play resumed, enabling both batsmen to reach their fifties and at 4.15pm more bad weather meant they were happy to head for the pavilion with 117-0 on the board.
There was time for only a further twelve overs to be bowled with Notts again unable to forge a breakthrough, leaving them still requiring all ten Sussex wickets on the final day to have a chance of winning.
At the close Nash was unbeaten on 79 with his partner undefeated on 63.