Nottinghamshire went down to their second defeat of the 2014 LV= championship season when they lost to Warwickshire by 98 runs at Trent Bridge.
Set a victory target of 300 in their second innings, the home side were bowled out before lunch on the third day for only 201, losing their last seven wickets in 30 overs.
An unbeaten 28 from Peter Siddle was the main resistance offered from the Nottinghamshire camp but excellent bowling, particularly from Chris Wright, who finished with four for 70 – and seven wickets in the match, was decisive.
"Some people had to play really, really well today and unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
The latest setback, following the loss at Lord’s, was understandably disappointing for Mick Newell.
“The last ten minutes last night (Monday) killed us off in some ways,” said the director of cricket.
“Lumb and Jaques getting out when we were building a nice partnership of 90-odd, that really set us back and I think some people had to play really, really well today and unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
The way the first innings unfolded was a decisive factor, according to Newell. “The deficit that we conceded of 147 was crucial in the end and the innings that Ian Bell played was clearly the stand-out innings in the game, so we were always going to have to play well to fight back from being 147 behind.”
Newell confirmed that, although the match had been concluded in just seven sessions, nothing different had been done with regards to preparing the wicket.
“There was absolutely nothing different done in preparation. We prepared this pitch to have pace and bounce and carry in it. It’s obviously over on one side of the square. We used this very same pitch last year against Middlesex, first game of the season, and it scored the highest marks possible, so the groundsman has prepared the pitch exactly as he would normally prepare one.”
Not since September 2004, when Notts chased down 379 to beat Essex at Trent Bridge, had the county managed a successful fourth innings run chase of 300 or more.
The odds were again stacked against them, albeit only slightly, when they began the third day on 126-3, needing 174 more for victory. With 33 wickets having fallen in the first two days the bowling side were always favoured to add to that number and they did in the very first over of the day.
Luke Fletcher (2), who had come in as nightwatchman the previous evening, fell to just the third ball of the morning, well caught by Bears’ captain Ian Bell at third slip, his fifth catch of the match.
The bowler, Chris Wright, had impressed throughout the contest and Bell had no hesitation in keeping him going from the pavilion end.
If the home side were going to get close then a sizeable partnership was deemed to be necessary. James Taylor and Samit Patel both punched deliveries to the ropes early in their innings and rotated the strike nicely but having shared a stand of 29 the momentum quickly turned towards the visitors, this time decisively.
Taylor (19) fell lbw to Wright for the second time in the match and Riki Wessels (0) clipped a snorter of a delivery to William Porterfield in the same over.
That wicket came from the final ball of the 46th over and the first ball of the next brought an end to Patel’s (9) innings. Keith Barker’s delivery found an outside edge and Porterfield, perhaps still reflecting on his sharp take, flung himself low to his right to pull off a stunning catch. Three wickets had fallen in five deliveries – just one of a number of dramatic collapses in the contest.
At seven wickets down Notts were already staring down the barrel but found some mini-resistance from Chris Read (11) and Peter Siddle (28 not out).
They tried to take the fight to the well-disciplined Warwickshire attack before the skipper pulled Chris Woakes into the hands of Laurie Evans at deep midwicket.
Siddle ensured Notts reached 200 but Andy Carter (4) succumbed to a ball from Woakes that was speared into his block-hole and Harry Gurney (0) completed a pair as he nicked Oliver Hannon-Dalby into the hands of Jeetan Patel at gully.