James Taylor’s third first class century for Nottinghamshire -and a disciplined performance from the bowlers - enabled the visitors to reach a position of some strength on the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Derbyshire at the County Ground.
Taylor made 112 as Notts reached 443 all out, before restricting the home side to 143-5 by stumps.
A man light, with Andre Adams unable to bowl, Notts picked up wickets at regular intervals, including the prize scalp of Shivarine Chanderpaul who made 57.
“We need to be switched on in the morning and maintain our disciplines.” Mick Newell
Despite victory being on the horizon Mick Newell emphasised that there’s still hard work to be done.
“We need to be switched on in the morning and maintain our disciplines,” said the director of cricket. “It turned for us after tea. We got going and managed to take three wickets in the final hour and whether we have to bat again tomorrow or not that period was crucial.”
Newell praised the performance of Luke Fletcher, who took Chanderpaul’s wicket. “He had a little spell where it looked as if something might be about to happen – he hit him on the pad and then it was a huge relief when he got him out a little later.
“Luke is a hard-working county bowler who can hopefully do a good job for us for the next 10-15 years. People who know the game respect him, particular in the seamer-friendly conditions that you find at this time of year.”
A prompt start to the day looked doubtful when a hailstorm left the outfield completely saturated ninety minutes before the scheduled start.
Good work by the groundstaff ensured that no time would be lost however, allowing Chris Read and James Taylor to begin in good conditions.
Read (33) was the first to lose his wicket, caught behind, flashing at a widish Tim Groenewald delivery.
The tempo was increased by the arrival of Stuart Broad. The left-hander had only batted on three previous occasions against Derbyshire – all for Leicestershire – and he had scored 196 runs without being dismissed before.
He began with a pulled boundary off Palladino, which took Notts beyond the 350 mark and he celebrated with an extra cover punch for four more.
Jon Clare entered the attack and fatally bowled too short to the England man and was launched high over square leg for six.
Broad’s strokeplay was clearly being enjoyed by the fielders – as well as the small crowd – because Derbyshire then proceeded to drop him three times in the space of two overs.
A firm drive to mid off was spilled, then Groenewald parried one over the ropes for a second six and David Wainwright dropped a swirling chance at deep extra cover.
Broad’s luck eventually ran out on 41, with Groenewald making partial amends by holding the next opportunity at fine leg, from Clare’s bowling.
To the surprise of most, Adams (0) – injured on the first day - appeared at the crease, batting with Riki Wessels as his runner but he edged his first delivery straight to Wes Durston at slip.
Luke Fletcher, who had been padded up as a nightwatchman on the first evening, survived the hat-trick delivery and continued to display the form he showed in scoring 47 against Middlesex.
By lunch, with Notts holding an overall lead of 163, he was on 15, with Taylor seven runs away from his hundred.
His 14th first class hundred duly arrived, courtesy of a streaky edge to third man – virtually the first false shot of his innings.
Without any discernible shift in momentum the pair took the ninth wicket stand beyond fifty before Taylor (112) picked out Dan Redfern at mid off, from the spin of Wainwright.
Harry Gurney (0) became the second to be dismissed first ball, trapped lbw by Groenewald, leaving Fletcher undefeated on 19.
Beginning again, 187 behind, Derbyshire were soon in trouble as two early leg before wicket decisions went against them.
Billy Godleman (1) shuffled across his stumps to Fletcher and then Wes Durston (9) fell to Gurney.
For the second time in the match Shivnarine Chanderpaul looked in good touch as he began his stand with Wayne Madsen either side of tea.
Batting fluently, the West Indian international advanced to fifty from 70 deliveries, with 8 fours and a pulled six.
He’d moved on to 57 – and a match aggregate of 144 – before feathering Fletcher through to Read. The bowler’s jubilant leap of delight told its own story.
Madsen (47) departed shortly afterwards as Gurney again struck at the start of a spell – a frequent occurrence already this season – with another lbw decision.
Four overs from stumps Samit Patel claimed his first scalp of the contest as Alex Hales held a stunning one-handed diving effort at first slip to remove Ross Whiteley (4).