Nottinghamshire batted through the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire at Trent Bridge, to reach stumps on 444-8, an overall lead of 395.
Steven Mullaney top-scored for the hosts with 94, his highest championship score since 2010, whilst Paul Franks remained undefeated on 76 at the close.
It was a day to savour for the Notts skipper, Chris Read, who passed the one thousand runs landmark for the campaign, although 39 of his runs had come in the pre-season warm-up against Loughborough UCCE.
Read admitted that, for once, he was aware of how close he was to the milestone.
“Yes, I did know,” he said. “Although I tend not to include the University game - so I was looking for a thousand in the championship - so it was a bit of a blow when I was given out run out but nevertheless it is an achievement, it is a landmark and one I’m pleased with and one that I’ve only done twice before.”
His run out was one of the day’s talking points and it appeared that the Notts gloveman wasn’t totally happy with the decision to give him out.
“It’s always tricky with a direct hit but generally as a batsman you get an instinct of whether you’re out or not and it felt that I was over the line when the wicket was broken but the umpire saw it in a different way.
“I had a look at a replay but it was completely inconclusive because it was from the wrong end of and it’s very hard to tell but I thought I made my ground.”
With one day of the season left – and Notts with a huge advantage – they will hope to put Warwickshire under continued pressure in a bid to secure ten wickets but Read knows that Paul Franks will want to bat on in the morning.
“He will be in my ear about having another go as he’d like to go on and score a hundred but I have to be sure when it’s the right time for us to declare and put Warwickshire under some pressure. What I would say is, I thought he batted very well – his batting continues to improve and some of those sweep shots were very effective today.”
As on the previous day, the opening run of the morning brought up a fifty stand and it was achieved in elegant fashion as Sam Kelsall punched Chris Woakes away for three to long off.
Neil Edwards, who’d begun the session 9 runs behind his partner, soon overtook the 19-year old, aided by three boundaries in four deliveries off Woakes.
The introduction of Jeetan Patel into the attack changed the complexion of the session, as he immediately put the brakes on the scoring. He began with four maidens, one of which included the breakthrough wicket.
Having helped add 88 in the opening stand, Kelsall (35) just pushed at one from the off-spinner and the edge was sharply taken at slip by Rikki Clarke.
Riki Wessels was quickly into his stride and broke the Patel-shackles by heaving the New Zealand international into the Larwood and Voce Stand for six.
During an array of attractive strokes, Wessels (38) passed 6,000 first class runs before being caught on the crease, leg before to Clarke.
Edwards (53) reached his first championship half-century of the season (102 balls 10x4) before he also went to an lbw decision.
The beneficiary, Patel, claimed a third wicket before lunch as James Taylor (14) saw his lofted shot brilliantly taken by a diving Jim Troughton at deepish-mid on.
Steven Mullaney and Chris Read dominated the afternoon session, sharing in a stand of 119 together.
Determined not to be tied down Mullaney began the fun and frolics by lifting Patel into the Pavilion seats for a six that brought up the 200 and stretched the lead to 150.
Read stroked a boundary to take him beyond the 22 he had needed to reach 1,000 first class runs for the season and shortly afterwards his partner brought up his own half century (69 balls 8x4 1x6).
With an enterprising combination of rapid running, deft touches and mighty blows, the pair brought up a century stand in just 70 minutes, the highlights of which were three more towering maximums by Mullaney – two off Blackwell and a mighty pull off Woakes into the back few rows of the New Stand.
The visitors were on the back foot as the overall advantage threatened to get out of hand but they found some inspiration from Woakes.
Mullaney clipped the ball to him at square leg and a clean pick up and throw ran out Read (36) with a direct hit. It was clear the Nottinghamshire captain didn’t fully agree with the decision of umpire Evans.
That heralded the start of a 9-over sequence which saw Notts lose two more wickets before the break.
On 94, perhaps looking for a fifth maximum to reach his century in style, Mullaney charged Patel and holed out to Troughton at long on. The disappointment was tangible all around the ground.
Graeme White (1) fell cheaply, for the second time in the match, lbw to Ian Blackwell, with the board reading 302-7 at tea.
Warwickshire took the second new ball immediately but an unexpected shower of rain halted Nottinghamshire’s progress early in the final session.
When they returned to the middle Paul Franks and Ben Phillips embarked on another stand that proved punishing for the visitors.
They brought up their fifty partnership in the ninetieth over of the innings, with Phillips hitting Patel for back-to-back fours.
Keith Barker was absent from the field all day, due to an ankle injury, so Jim Troughton, the Bears skipper, was somewhat handicapped by the loss of a key bowler.
Eventually, a after a stand of 91, he turned to Darren Maddy, who soon had Phillips (38) caught behind.
Franks, meanwhile, continued to play some delightful shots on both sides of the wicket, one of which was a six into the William Clarke Stand off Patel.
The same bowler was then given similar treatment by Luke Fletcher, who joined the list of six-hitters by crashing the ball over the ropes at long off.
By stumps, 56 had been added for the ninth wicket, with Franks (76 not out) and Fletcher (27 not out), each reaching their highest championship scores of the summer, something that Kelsall, Edwards and Mullaney had also done earlier in the day.