With one day remaining of their LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Hove, Nottinghamshire will be hoping to knock off an attainable total to collect their fourth win of the season.
To do that, they need to still collect six Sussex wickets, as the home side reached stumps on 177-4, an overall lead of 58.
Despite both sides still having the chance of pressing for a win Notts’ director of cricket Mick Newell fancies his side’s position the better.
“I’d rather be where we are, than Sussex,” he said.
“They are effectively 58-4 and if we have a good first session then we would hope to chase a score that is achievable. The first session will be crucial.”
Newell paid credit to two of his players for their performances in the match so far. “Riki Wessels played a wonderful innings,” he said. “But just got out when he pushed at a widish delivery that yesterday he would have punched away for four and Andy Carter has also had a good day. He’s scored some good runs and then bowled 19 overs on a very hot day - running up that hill. We’ll now look for one more big effort from him in the morning.”
The day had begun with the visitors holding an advantage of just eleven, with Wessels on 184 and Adam Voges on 5.
Sussex immediately took the second new ball but switched things around with James Anyon coming down the slope. The change of ends paid dividends as the former Warwickshire man soon got rid of Voges (7) who skied to mid on where Monty Panesar took a well-judged catch with, no doubt, many of his team-mates having their heart in their mouths as the ball swirled high above him. The batsman looked quizzically at the wicket before leaving.
Anyon’s early success was enough to convince Michael Yardy to leave him on for an hour and forty minutes, during which time he collected two more scalps. Phillips (6), also found the ‘safe’ hands of Panesar and Adams (17) top-edged to Magoffin at fine leg.
In between the first two successes Sussex had picked up the wicket they dearly cherished.
Wessels’ outstanding knock came to an end, cruelly, on 199 as he edged Magoffin to ‘keeper Brown. Although he had only 15 runs on the third day the crowd rose to salute, what had been, an innings of the highest-quality.
Although the right-hander didn’t reach his double-hundred, his knock had been a career-best, beating the 197 he scored for Mid-West Rhinos in November.
Another batsman on the way to a personal best was Andy Carter, whose 17 not out matched his top first class score.
Carter, unwittingly, provided a moment of hilarity when he smashed a delivery straight back past bowler Chris Nash and umpire Nigel Cowley, fearing for his life, flung himself horizontally on the ground.
Nash picked up his third wicket of the innings, when Chris Read (45) holed out, after a bright and breezy knock that just failed to ensure maximum batting points and Naveed Arif, whose own spell began with a huge wide that brought up the 100 lead, ended the innings by bowling Harry Gurney (0).
Trailing by 119 Sussex started their second innings after lunch with Nash and Joyce together.
The pair were relatively untroubled in posting 64 for the first wicket but then Notts claimed three scalps in quick succession. Putting Andy Carter on ahead of Andre Adams paid dividends as the big fast bowler trapped Nash lbw (21), before making a mess of Joe Gatting’s stumps (1).
Samit Patel had claimed the other wicket, that of Joyce (39), bowled by one that turned considerably. Goodwin and Yardy reached tea on 95-3, still 24 behind.
Notts sprang something of a surprise immediately upon the restart when Voges, who didn’t bowl at all for the county last season, was given one over but it turned out to be just an end-change, with news coming from the pavilion that Adams wasn’t bowling because of a sore shoulder.
Carter’s day got even better when he pinned Yardy (17) in front but that was to be the sole success for the visiting attack in the final session as the under-fire Murray Goodwin (52 not out), registered his highest score this season, alongside Luke Wright (37 not out) as Sussex closed on 177-4, with Voges ending the day by bowling another token over.