On a day of high-scoring and individual milestones Nottinghamshire scored 396-3 declared at the start of their first class friendly against Durham MCCU at Trent Bridge, with Samit Patel top-scoring with a career-best 256 (253 mins, 224 balls, 29x4, 12x6).
Patel’s 15th first class century – and first at Trent Bridge since April 2011 – came after he’d shared an opening stand of 210 with Michael Lumb, who made 83.
Chris Read declared the Notts innings closed at the fall of Patel’s wicket and then took three catches himself after tea as the university students replied with 96-3.
"The batsman celebrated in the next over with some violent hitting, sixes flying into the pavilion and New Stand, followed by an elegant four through the covers."
Play had begun at 11am on the same wicket used for the Middlesex match a week earlier, with Notts batting first after Read had won the toss.
Accurate new ball bowling on a greenish surface forced both batsmen into a very watchful mode throughout the first half-hour. The shackles were eventually released by Patel at the start of the ninth over, as he hoisted a long hop from Charlie Wallis over the fine leg fence for six.
The same bowler met with similar treatment in his next over, only this time it was Lumb whacking him into the New Stand with authority.
In the thirteenth over the left-hander had his first moment of concern, surviving a strong lbw shout and then almost found the hands of cover point. He responded by taking eight from debutant Ross Willett’s next over, an all-run four through midwicket and then a boundary past point.
After 16 overs, with 52-0 on the board, Durham MCCU made their first bowling change, introducing the slow left-arm spin of Nat Watkins from the Pavilion End.
Patel gave his only chance in the next over, slashing Willett to point but the fielder fumbled the fierce, chest-high offering.
Lumb’s sweep off Watkins then caused another drop, although it would have been a sensational catch had deep square leg managed to hang on.
Patel, imperiously, put the spinner away for back-to-back boundaries and followed it with a lofted six over extra cover. His fifty arrived shortly afterwards (54 balls, 8x4, 2x6).
Another six, his third, came in Watkins next over as the pair sped to their century stand (23.3 overs). Patel had 63 of them, Lumb 37 and, perhaps unusually, there had been no extras involved.
Two more Patel maximums disappeared over the shorter boundary on the Bridgford Road side of the ground, each clattering into the unoccupied white bucket seats.
At 138-0 the first extras were added, Wallis being called for a no-ball for a waist-high delivery.
Lumb reached his own fifty (98 balls , 4x4, 2x6) but the focus was on his partner as the morning drew towards its close.
At 12.59pm Patel stroked Freddie van den Bergh through the covers to reach his century (119 mins, 107 balls, 12 x 4, 5x6), becoming the first Nottinghamshire batsman to score a hundred before lunch since Paul Pollard (v Lancs, Trent Bridge 1991).
The interval brought some respite for the bowlers, though the home dressing room would have been much the happier, with Patel on 107 not out and Lumb undefeated on 73, out of the score of 182-0.
Willett eventually made the breakthrough with the score on 210 to claim his maiden wicket at this level. Lumb on 83, drove the ball to mid on, where substitute fielder Tom Liddard held a comfortable catch.
The bowler’s joy was short-lived as Patel countered with yet another six and three more fours in his next over as he moved past 6,500 runs at first class level.
His first score of 150 (157 balls, 20x4, 6x6) for six years arrived in the 53rd over and coincided with the team total hitting 250.
He reached 199 as the century partnership came up between him and Steven Mullaney, who hadn’t faced much of the strike and had only compiled 18 of them.
In the next over, the 62nd, Patel worked Chaitanya Bishnoi away for his 200th run (209 mins, 190 balls, 25x4, 9x6), becoming the first Nottinghamshire double-centurion since David Hussey at Headingley in 2010.
Van den Bergh took the brunt of it as the batsman celebrated in the next over with some violent hitting, sixes flying into the pavilion and New Stand, followed by an elegant four through the covers.
Watkins’ recall accounted for Mullaney (28), top-edging an attempted sweep to Chris Jones at short fine (399-2).
Maximum number twelve for Patel took him to his 250 (248 mins, 221 balls, 29x4, 12x6) but he fell to an undignified end shortly afterwards, heaving across the line and being bowled by van den Bergh. James Taylor remained unbeaten on 17 at the declaration.
Patel’s score of 256 is the twelfth-highest individual score of all-time by a Nottinghamshire batsman and the seventh-highest at Trent Bridge.
In just the third over of the reply Notts struck with the ball. Ivo Hobson (2) hung around before being sent by umpire Gough after nicking Ajmal Shahzad to wicketkeeper Read.
A succession of no-balls (four in his first four overs) blighted an otherwise impressive opening spell from Shahzad. who was then replaced by Harry Gurney at the Radcliffe Road End.
In his first over the left-armer had Chris Jones (6) caught behind, to give Chris Read his 400th first class dismissal at Trent Bridge (380 catches, 20 stumpings).
He soon had number 401 as Rishabh Shah (21) also got an edge to a delivery from Gurney that took off a little.
Jake Ball, playing his maiden first class match in England after debuting in Abu Dhabi two years ago, conceded four runs in his opening over after Gurney’s shy at an unattended wicket went to the boundary for overthrows.
Chaitanya Bishoi and Luke Patel steadied the ship with an unbroken stand of 55 as an eventful day drew to a close.