Nottinghamshire enjoyed the better of the exchanges on the third day of their LV= county championship match against Yorkshire at Headingley.
Having been bowled out on the first day for only 205, they responded by dismissing the home county for 247 and then managed to forge a lead of 60 by the time play finished at 6.45pm
Trailing by 42 on first innings, Notts reached stumps on 102-2 with Michael Lumb and James Taylor efficiently building the highest stand of the match during the late stages of the day.
Peter Siddle had taken 4-65 to restrict Yorkshire’s efforts with the bat and found useful support from Samit Patel, who polished off the tail in taking 3-13, his best figures of the season.
Siddle was pleased with how the day had gone. “It’s always nice to come out and get a few wickets early on,” he said. “It was important to break the overnight stand early and we did that.
“It was unfortunate that they got up to our total and just past it but it was still a nice little turnaround from where we were at the start of the day.”
The closing stages gave Notts a slender lead, one the Australian thinks could be important. “We had a nice little session late on and the two guys toughed it out nicely and have given us a good lead. We’ve got power in our middle order if we want to push on tomorrow and then have a bowl at them but we have to be sensible and make sure we don’t give points away.”
The morning session was evenly split, with Notts bossing the opening hour before Aaron Finch and Tim Bresnan added 55 together between midday and one o’clock.
Luke Fletcher made the initial breakthrough, nipping one back through the gate to bowl Jack Leaning (41).
Siddle got in on the act by removing the dangerous Andrew Gale (29). The Yorkshire captain, who has such a great record against Notts, pushed hard at the bowler and turned to see Patel take a stunning second slip catch at shoulder-height.
Andre Adams replaced Siddle at the Kirkstall Lane End and quickly removed two more batsmen in quick succession. Jonny Bairstow (18) tamely chipped to Siddle at midwicket and then Adil Rashid (3) edged to first slip, where Riki Wessels hung on, at the second attempt.
Finch and Siddle – good friends, as well as Victoria and Australian team-mates, were thrust into direct conflict and the batsman confidently won the first exchange, driving down the ground for four.
The pair had eaten together the previous evening and the battle for supremacy was eagerly anticipated but the bowler had come to the end of his excellent spell by then.
Straight after lunch Siddle was back on and he picked up his fourth wicket almost immediately. Finch took a single from the first delivery and Bresnan (25) then pushed at the second; straight into the waiting hands of Wessels.
Rich Pyrah hit Ajmal Shahzad for two boundaries to get his innings up and running and then clipped Siddle through midwicket to give his side a first innings lead.
Fletcher didn’t take to the field after lunch, with a slight back spasm, and Shahzad was totally without luck as two or three searing yorkers were jabbed away at the last moment.
The eighth wicket came when Patel was introduced into the attack, with a stunning delivery that pitched on middle and leg and clipped the top of off to remove Finch (45). Batsman and both umpires peered at the spot it pitched on, with the bowler and his team-mates away celebrating joyously.
Pyrah then took charge of proceedings, playing a succession of adventurous shots that boosted the total. A pull off Adams just cleared sub fielder Andy Carter but was given as a four, despite the crowd claiming six.
The lost two runs proved to be immaterial as Yorkshire then lost their last couple of wickets with the score on 249, both to Patel.
Pyrah became the third player in the match to fall on 45, sweeping to Siddle at deep square leg and then Steven Paterson (7) was adjudged to be lbw to the spinner.
Alex Hales (8) sweetly caressed the first ball of Notts’ second innings for four, and repeated the dose off Bresnan in his next over. The England bowler struck back though, trapping the opener – who had left alone a delivery that nipped back into him.
Phil Jaques also got off the mark first ball, pulling Jack Brooks to the boundary boards in front of the Western Stand. His hopes of a substantial score against his former county were halted at 20 for the second time in the match as he presented Bairstow with a catch at the wicket, off Patterson.
In fading light Yorkshire tried to prolong events on the field and they put on both Rashid and Finch to bowl spin for half an hour but it backfired somewhat as Michael Lumb and James Taylor batted without hindrance – Lumb even hit Rashid over the top for a six.
Eventually the rain fell and play was interrupted for one hour, leaving twelve overs to be squeezed in once play recommenced at 6pm.
Against some indifferent bowling Lumb (43 not out) and Taylor (27 not out) profited in the late evening period and extended their stand to 72, the highest of the match so far.