Nottinghamshire’s batsmen enjoyed a profitable time of it on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Northants at Wantage Road.
The visitors reached 384 for eight at stumps, a first innings lead of 124 with Michael Lumb scoring 99, having taken part in two of the three century partnerships posted during the day.
Lumb faced 192 balls and hit 13 fours, before edging Kyle Coetzer to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, the tenth instance of a Nottinghamshire player to fall in the nineties this season.
He shared in a stand of 133 with Riki Wessels, who made 71 and 106 with Chris Read, who added 59. After tea Ajmal Shahzad and Luke Fletcher also scored freely against a tiring attack, putting on 114 for the eighth wicket as Notts enhanced their Championship credentials with a display of great character.
After a difficult time of things in the Championship this year Lumb admitted it was great to get amongst the runs.
“I’d definitely have taken 99 at the start of the day, after the season I’ve had and especially in the position that we were in,” he said.
“I was pretty devastated to get out then though. It was a tricky situation at the start so when you work that hard it was a little disappointing not to get to a hundred. Riki, Ready. Ajmal and Fletch all showed good fighting spirit and it’s set the game up nicely for us now.”
Resuming from their overnight position of 38 for four, still 222 behind, Notts were quickly into the runs. The first ball of Mohammad Azharullah’s infinished over was nicked high over the slip cordon for four by Riki Wessels.
Michael Lumb also got away first ball, cutting David Willey behind square for two. Both batsmen played an array of delightful shots as the opening half hour produced no other significant alarms.
Steady progress was made and the threat of the opening attack was blunted somewhat, although the occasional delivery would lift spitefully.
Wessels, against his former county, sped ahead of his partner and reached his 50 (78 balls 10x4). A series of important milestones followed; the 100 was brought up, the follow-on was saved and then the century partnership materialised.
A leg side tickle off Andrew Hall brought Lumb his second 50 of the season (93 balls 7x4) as the pair realised Notts’ highest 5thwicket stand of the season. It had graduated to 133 when the home side made a much-needed breakthrough.
Wessels (71), seemingly on course for his second ton of the summer against his former county, was undone by a high-quality delivery from Azharullah that nipped back to bowl him.
Chris Read had a brief taster of how lively the wicket was as he negotiated a tricky spell in the run-in to the luncheon interval.
Notts had clearly won the morning session and began the afternoon in style as a textbook cover drive off Azharullah took Lumb to 69, his highest Championship score of the season.
Read accelerated beautifully after taking his time to assess the conditions. He launched James Middlebrook over widish long on for the first 6 of the day and brought his 50 up with the first of two consecutive boundaries off Kyle Coetzer, which also brought up another century stand.
A Lumb single to third man took him to 98 and took the Notts score level with Northants’.
The visitors had forged a slender 4-run lead when they lost their next wicket and it brought heartbreak for Lumb (99) as he nicked Coetzer behind. It was the tenth time this season that a Notts’ batsman had been out in the nineties this season.
Read’s 50 had come up 114 balls (5x4 1x6) but he was sent back to the pavilion on 59 as he played around a full-length ball from Andrew Hall and fell lbw.
Ajmal Shahzad and Luke Fletcher negotiated the opening burst with the second new ball then pressed on impressively, getting the third batting point and passing the fifty partnership.
There was some great fun for the Nottinghamshire followers as Neil Wagner gave Fletcher some chirp but was then smacked for three powerful boundaries.
Wagner’s mood wouldn’t have improved as his figures moved on to 0-100 following his first day duck.
Shahzad reached his first 50 (104 balls 7x4) of the summer, which was quickly followed by the century partnership and the fourth batting point.
Fletcher (49) was clearly disappointed to miss out on his own half century, bowled leg stump by James Middlebrook as he moved across his stumps trying to flick to leg.
Andre Adams (2 not out) joined Sahahzad (65 not out) until stumps and will look to strengthen Notts’ position even further on the third morning.