Nottinghamshire manoeuvred themselves into a position of strength by closing on 325-5 on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Derbyshire at the County Ground.
The overall lead of 69 may have been much larger but for a catastrophic run out which terminated Samit Patel’s innings, when the England player was at his fluent best.
On a day when there were almost two other run outs Chris Read admitted it wasn’t pretty to watch at times.
“I winced a couple of times because batting is tough enough without throwing wickets away to run outs." Chris Read
“There’s plenty of grass on the wicket and it’s a little bit greasy out there,” he said.
“I winced a couple of times because batting is tough enough without throwing wickets away to run outs. Samit was batting beautifully when it happened and perhaps it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on as a team.”
The Notts skipper closed the day unbeaten on 27, after Alex Hales and Ed Cowan had both scored half centuries. James Taylor was also undefeated at the end, on 67.
“Everyone got in and played beautifully,” said Read. “But it would have been nice for a couple of the guys to kick on and reach three figures. Hopefully James can do that tomorrow.”
The morning session was totally dominated by Notts, with the openers extending their overnight score of 28-0 to 94 before Ed Cowan (59) departed in rather a tame manner.
Shortly after reaching his half century (90 balls, 8x4) he slapped David Wainwright’s loosener straight to midwicket, where the substitute fielder, Greg Cork, son of former England seamer Dominic, took a low catch.
Cowan, who had done something similar in the first innings of the Middlesex match, was visibly and understandably annoyed, as up to that point his cutting and driving had been of the highest order.
In contrast, the normally dashing strokeplay of Alex Hales had been put to one side as the opener dug in watchfully thoughout the morning session.
Beginning the day on 10 not out Hales punched Tim Groenewald away for a boundary in the opening over and then repeated the dose ten minutes later.
The England T20 international then became marooned on his score of 18 for the next 62 minutes, facing 34 deliveries.
Cowan, though, kept the board moving over and his eagerness to do so almost presented Derbyshire with a breakthrough.
From the first ball of the 20th over, bowled by Jon Clare, Cowan pushed to midwicket and set off. Hales screamed “No” immediately. Cowan slipped on turning but with a dive he just managed to beat Chanderpaul’s return.
Hales own half century (139 balls, 7x4), arrived during the early part of the afternoon but he also failed to go on and convert his start into a three-figure score. On 56 he looked surprise to be given out lbw against the bowling of Tony Palladino, with umpire Martin Bodenham taking an age before confirming the decision.
Derbyshire could have inflicted further punishment but dropped Michael Lumb when he was on 21. Flashing hard at Palladino, the ball was put down at slip by Wes Durston, who was possibly unsighted with the ‘keeper standing up.
The drop was to cost 23 runs because Lumb had moved serenely on to 44 before feathering a catch through to Tom Poynton from Clare’s bowling.
James Taylor and Samit Patel ensured there would be no further alarms as they reached tea together.
The taking of the second new ball coincided with the umpires requesting that the floodlights be switched on.
For the second time in the day Notts nearly lost a wicket to a run out - as James Taylor slipped when pushing to Billy Godleman at cover and would have gone by a couple of feet had the underarm hit the stumps. The resulting overthrow brought the scores level at 256 each.
As far as Derbyshire were concerned it became third time lucky as eventually they did pick up a run out courtesy of an unfortunate slip.
Patel (48) pushed the ball to Godleman at cover, who misfielded. Setting off, the batsman was told to go back by Taylor but slipped over as he turned and was left stranded, on the ground, in the middle of the wicket as the return came in.
In fading light Riki Wessels (8) became the only batsman to miss out, edging Ross Whiteley behind but Read and Taylor made the most of the closing overs, putting on an unbroken 39 together.