Nottinghamshire have work to do at the halfway stage of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge.

Replying to the Notts total of 278, the visitors reached the close of the second day on 297-6, an overall lead of 19.

Three of the wickets to fall were claimed by Luke Fletcher, who admitted it was a tough day.

“On a personal note it’s great for me but I’m a team player and the team comes first so I’m a bit disappointed with his it’s gone today,” he said.

“As a group of bowlers I don’t think we bowled as well as we have in the past at this time of year but once we got going we applied some pressure and had a good middle session but we’ve clearly still got some hard work ahead of us tomorrow.”

Thanks to the ECB regulations permitting the use of floodlights for county championship matches the entire morning session went ahead despite the gloomy, overcast conditions.

Ajmal Shahzad had gone for 12 runs in his only over the previous evening but began the day with an unsuccessful early shout for lbw against Chris Rogers.

The Middlesex skipper chanced his luck on occasions, hitting a number of boundaries to the short New Stand side of the ground, whilst playing well away from his body.

He moved from 40 to 46 by hitting the first maximum of the match, lifting Andy Carter up and over cover.

His first half century of the summer arrived shortly afterwards (80 balls, 7x4, 1x6) but he then fell to Shahzad.

Thrusting his pad at the ball, the Australian was given out lbw by Neil Mallender to end an opening stand worth 106.

Joe Denly (0) came and went quickly as the other umpire, Nick Cook, decided another leg before decision, in favour of Luke Fletcher.

Sam Robson, who began the morning on twelve, reached his own fifty just before lunch (100 balls, 10x4).

Shahzad then struck for a second time, with another lbw, when he sent back Dawid Malan (6) to reduce the total to 148-3.

Another sixteen were added for the fourth wicket. Neil Dexter (7) had got off the mark by vigorously pulling Andy Carter into the New Stand for six but only added one more before losing his off stump to Andre Adams.

 During the middle of the day Fletcher picked up the key scalp of Robson (76), whose innings met with a tame end as he wafted outside his off stump and edged through to Read.

At 175-5 Notts were right back in it but a sixth wicket stand of 116 gave Middlesex the initiative. John Simpson, the wicketkeeper, had failed to score above 47 in any of his 19 first class innings last season.

Despite a nervy start, which almost saw him duck into a bouncer from Andre Adams that didn’t get above waist-height, he prospered and hit both Andy Carter and Samit Patel for maximums on his way to his half century.

His six off Patel was launched into the lower tier of the Radcliffe Road Stand and also brought up the Middlesex 200.

Gareth Berg (43) kept Simpson company for 31 overs before falling lbw to Fletcher late in the day.

When the umpires took the players off, after a sudden deterioration in the conditions, Simpson was undefeated on 77.