Nottinghamshire reached stumps on 223 for six on the third day of their LV= county championship match against Sussex at Trent Bridge.
Responding to Sussex’s huge first innings total of 506-6 declared, the home side slumped to 106 for four before rallying through a stand of 90 between James Taylor and Chris Read.
Taylor reached the close on 81 not out, by which time Notts were still 283 behind.
"James is 80-odd not out and hopefully he will go on and make it a really big hundred.” Steven Mullaney
Steven Mullaney made 30, opening the batting for Notts for the first time, and revealed he enjoyed the experience.
“Obviously I was disappointed to get out when I did,” said the 26-year old. “It was something I really enjoyed doing and hopefully I can kick on and make a decent go of it.”
Despite being well behind in the match, Mullaney is backing James Taylor to lead the fightback.
“I’m sure he will, he’s a Test cricketer and Ajmal, Andre, Fletch and Harry are all capable with the bat. Saving the follow-on is obviously the first aim and we back all our players. James is 80-odd not out and hopefully he will go on and make it a really big hundred.”
Openers Riki Wessels and Steven Mullaney added 63 in 18 overs for the first Nottinghamshire wicket.
Mullaney took until his 16th delivery before he got off the mark but it was a risky run when it came. Pushing straight to Hamilton-Brown, he set off and it nearly cost Wessels his wicket as the fielders throw narrowly missed.
Wessels (49) looked in imperious touch, despite having picked up a couple of injuries during the morning, one in the field and one when struck in the midriff by Lewis Hatchett.
Needing just one for a half century, Wessels took on Jordan but mistimed a pull high to Monty Panesar at mid on.
Mullaney (30) lost his off stump to Jordan, who then reduced Notts to 106 for four, with another couple of quick wickets.
Samit Patel (3) fenced off a bouncer to Matt Machan at short leg and David Hussey (3) was taken by Matt Prior after a ball looped up off the shoulder of the bat.
An eventful morning session had seen Sussex plunder a further 143 runs before declaring. Ed Joyce and Rory Hamilton-Brown extended their fifth wicket partnership to 232, a county wicket record against Notts.
Batting positively, to hasten up the time of the declaration, they each had a life. On 96 Hamilton-Brown lifted Ajmal Shahzad, bowling off a short run, out to deep midwicket.
Wessels, diving, got both hands to the ball but couldn’t hang on. The fielder, clearly in some pain, had to go off for treatment.
The next over saw Hussey, at slip, grass a chance when Joyce, on 138, nicked Andre Adams in his direction.
Hamilton-Brown’s hundred (135 balls, 15x4, 1x6) ended a depressing sequence for the right-hander. On previous visits to Nottingham he had registered scores of 4 and 1, in his only other championship outing, plus one-day knocks of 1,2 and 2.
Luke Fletcher eventually made the breakthrough as Hamilton-Brown (113) flicked down the leg side and walked off after tickling a thin edge through to Read.
Matt Machan (25 not out) played his part in an entertaining, unbroken stand of 69 with his captain.
Joyce clearly had a specific target in mind and he was able to get there in the 110th over of the innings, bowled by Patel.
Hitting the first three balls for 6-4-6 Joyce then got a single from the fourth delivery to move to 198.
Three from Machan returned the Irishman to the strike and he hit his third six of the over into the New Stand.
The blow took Joyce to his double hundred and the total beyond 500 as the declaration came, with the over costing a total of 26 runs.