Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge was drawn after the visitors, set 298 to win, from a minimum of 51 overs, reached stumps on 87-0.
Earlier, the home side had declared their second innings closed, just after lunch, on 174-7, with Steven Mullaney top scoring with 73.
Mick Newell, Notts’ director of cricket, felt his side had been set back by what had happened on the previous evening. “Losing those three wickets, then another one first thing today, meant we had to rebuild so we scored our runs a little more slowly than we would have liked.
“Perhaps the view around the ground was that we were a little bit over-cautious but we wanted to make sure we put them under some pressure. To do that we needed to take early wickets but it just didn’t happen. We wanted a pitch that would take spin but because of the weather we’ve had there wasn’t as much pace in it as we would have liked.”
“We scored maximum batting points but didn’t win the game. The matches we have won we didn’t score many batting points and I know which I’d rather have.”
Nottinghamshire began the day on 22-3 but the situation worsened from the very first ball of the morning as Steven Finn claimed the wicket of Riki Wessels (5) trapped leg before wicket.
Finn almost had Michael Lumb as well but Rayner, at second slip, dived across in front of Strauss at first and put down the opportunity. The left-hander still hadn’t scored when Middlesex then appealed confidently for a caught behind but umpire Tim Robinson wasn’t interested.
After patiently facing 38 deliveries Lumb eventually got off the mark but then started to flow as he and Mullaney carefully manoeuvred Notts into a position of strength.
The pair took their stand beyond the fifty mark and then the lead above 200. Gradually increasing the tempo, both batsmen reached their half centuries, just before lunch, within one over of each other.
Mullaney (97 balls 6x4) reached his first, with his partner (104 balls 8x4) following shortly afterwards.
By the interval, with 62 overs still remaining, Notts had an overall lead of 247 at 124-4.
Soon after the break Lumb (55) fell to Rayner, ending a stand of 110 and then Finn caused Read (5) to play on. Mullaney’s fine innings also came to an end but not before he had repeated his first innings exploits by lifting the ball over the New Stand, this time off Finn.
Attempting something similar, Mullaney (73) then holed out to deep midwicket to give Rayner his fourth wicket.
Paul Franks (12 not out) also clubbed a mighty six but was undefeated, alongside Stuart Broad (6 not out), when the declaration came.
Andrew Strauss began Middlesex’s second innings in majestic fashion, scoring 25 out of the first 29 runs. A confident lbw shout from Gurney’s bowling, in the eighth over, was turned down by Tim Robinson.
The England captain had another scare on 26 as a diving Read failed to scoop up an edge off Broad. A wicket then might have given Notts a slight chance but the surface didn’t offer much assistance to any of the bowlers.
Tea arrived with Middx on 48-0 and an unrealistic 250 more required, from just 31 overs. The home side pressed for wickets after the break, with Swann and Adams bowling in tandem but the two openers were untroubled as they advanced to the handshake at 5pm
The result means that Nottinghamshire remain unbeaten after six matches and their eleven point haul takes them seven points clear of Warwickshire at the top of the table, although the Bears now have two games in hand.