Michael Lumb’s second century of the season helped propel Nottinghamshire to 423 on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge.
Lumb’s 162 was the stand-out innings on card which also showed solid contributions from Alex Hales and Steven Mullaney.
In response Middlesex reached 51-3 by stumps, with Andrew Strauss amongst the batsmen to be dismissed.
During the Notts innings Mullaney hoisted a ball over the New Stand and out of the ground – a mighty blow. “It was nice,” he admitted. “That was to the shorter side of the ground and I had decided to target that area but it wasn’t just about the sixes, I was pleased to spend some time in the middle and it will help my confidence. I’m pleased to get a chance in this match and I’m glad I took it.
“I still think it’s a pretty good wicket to bat on and to watch Lumby from the other end was special. I thought he was fantastic today.”
The 25-year old had even more reason to celebrate as he clung on to a catch in the penultimate over of the day, from the bowling of Andre Adams. “It didn’t go in as cleanly as I would have liked but they all count. We expect Andre to produce deliveries like that nowadays and he just keeps on doing it. We’re so lucky to have him here.
During the opening session Alex Hales and Michael Lumb extended their partnership to 150 before the first wicket of the day fell, 25 minutes in.
Having added just eight, to his overnight score, Hales (79) perished rather meekly, almost guiding a delivery from Tim Murtagh into the hands of Strauss at first slip.
New man Riki Wessels, back after breaking a finger almost a month ago, was immediately off the mark by steering an open-faced shot down to the third man fence.
Lumb tucked into the change bowler, Gareth Berg, by hitting him for successive fours as he moved into the 70s.
Nottinghamshire, to great applause, recorded their first home batting point of the season in the 63rd over but the landmark was followed by an astonishingly poor piece of cricket.
Lumb, on 86, charged at the off spin of Ollie Rayner but only succeeded in skying the ball to mid on. Murtagh, with plenty of time to judge and take the catch, put down an opportunity he would take 99 times out of a hundred.
The reprieved left-hander, had another scare on 95. Flashing at Dexter, the ball brushed the fingers of Strauss as it raced to the third man fence.
Next ball, on 99, the England skipper again couldn’t hold on to a sharp offering as Lumb gratefully accepted the single to bring up his century (213 balls 14x4).
The shell-shocked fielding side had missed three opportunities to break the stand but unexpectedly they were handed one more lifeline before the luncheon interval.
Wessels had picked up runs with ease - rotating the strike and punishing width - but on 41 he made a rash decision which cost him his wicket.
Driving Rayner, he clearly felt he had beaten the diving mid on and set off for a scampered single – but Chris Rogers managed to scoop up the ball and lob it back to the bowler, who completed a run out that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.
Lunch was taken at 234-3 from 72 overs, with Lumb on 103 and Steven Mullaney yet to score.
Middlesex had to use up eight overs before the second new ball became due and that enabled the two batsmen to play themselves in after the resumption.
The pair were untroubled as they reached their fifty partnership in the 87th over – brought up by Lumb’s nineteenth boundary, as he went past the 131 he scored at Durham last month.
More chances came and went as Simpson missed a stumping chance when Lumb was on 148 and Strauss put down Mullaney – his third dropped catch of the innings.
Lumb brought up his 150 but only made twelve more before finding Murtagh at mid off, from the bowling of Berg.
Mullaney launched his colossal blow off Berg over the New Stand and out of the ground and followed it with a text-book cover drive to bring up a stunning fifty (84 balls 6x4 1x6).
He hit a further maximum off Rayner but then fell to Finn, caught in the deep by Berg for 60.
Stuart Broad (12) also cleared the ropes before edging Finn to Strauss at slip.
As Notts tried to ensure maximum points they lost more quick wickets -Chris Read (13) holed out off Dexter, who then trapped Graeme Swann (1).
With 16 needed from two overs Paul Franks and Andre Adams came together and achieved their goal with a ball to spare. The final delivery of the 110th over caused a little bit of confusion and disappointment for the visitors as Berg claimed a catch in the deep off Adams. The umpires, after conferring, weren’t satisfied that it had been taken cleanly, to the obvious frustration of the fielder and his side who were denied a third bowling point.
Adams then did fall, for an 18-ball 29, which included two maximums, caught at long on by Dexter off Finn.
Franks hit the same bowler for a straight six but ended on 10 not out as Harry Gurney (0) went second ball.
With 22 overs left in the day Middx would have been hopeful of making a decent but they soon lost their talisman. Andrew Strauss (2) looked uncomfortable against the pace of left-armer Gurney and nicked a ball through to ‘keeper Chris Read, who dived full-length to pouch the catch.
A year ago to the day Andre Adams collected the 500th first class wicket of his career – and he boosted his tally to 590 by sending back Sam Robson (9) and Chris Rogers (6) before stumps.