Nottinghamshire’s two-day friendly against Northamptonshire was again blessed by dry weather with another full day enabling useful match practice for both sides.
Traditionally regarded as a batsman’s graveyard in early season conditions, Trent Bridge witnessed another March century opening stand as Riki Wessels and Steven Mullaney outdid Peters and Keogh’s effort of 107 of the previous morning.
Wessels (78) and Mullaney (43) combined in a first wicket partnership of 131, with Chris Read (45) and Sam Wood (39 not out) also able to spend some valuable time in the middle as Notts reached 250-4 from their agreed sixty over allocation.
In the final session of the match Northants posted 72-1, Brett Hutton making the only breakthrough, removing Middlebrook.
Steven Mullaney and Riki Wessels opened the batting for Notts on the second morning and weathered an accurate early burst from Maurice Chambers and Olly Stone.
A straight driven four from Wessels and a push to the cover boundary from his partner, both off Stone, advanced the total to 29-0 from the initial ten overs.
The next over saw both batsmen break free as they plundered Chambers for 13. Wessels, playing against his former county, punched down the ground to the pavilion fence. Dropping the final delivery short, the fast man then watched on as Mullaney pulled him high into the Fox Road Stand for six.
Muhammad Azharullah’s introductory over ended with Wessels’ clip to the square leg rope bringing up the Nottinghamshire fifty.
Ishwar Sohi, bowling from the Radcliffe Road End, struggled with no-ball problems and went for 45 from his first four overs, with Wessels pulling him over midwicket for the second maximum of the day before hitting a full toss to the boundary to bring up his own fifty (61 balls,1x6,8 x4), alongside the team 100.
A further Wessels maximum, off Azharullah, resulted in the ball being lost high over the Fox Road Stand and took him into the 70s.
Graeme White’s introduction into the attack brought the downfall of Mullaney (43) but not before he gave his former team-mate a life. The batsman presented a low caught and bowled chance, which was spilled – before serving up another opportunity for the spinner to grasp in the next over. Mullaney’s frustration was obvious but his time in the middle will have been hugely beneficial with the championship season only a week away. He faced 79 balls and hit one six and seven fours.
Lunch was taken with Notts on 133-1, with skipper Chris Read having joined Wessels just before the interval. Both men resumed their innings but it wasn’t long before Northants had another wicket to celebrate.
Chambers, generating good pace, found sufficient bounce off a length to catch the outside edge and Stone took the catch at second slip to remove Wessels.
The opener had batted for 132 minutes for his 78 and faced 101 deliveries with 2 sixes and 12 fours.
Sam Kelsall (15) also fell to a slip catch, nudging Azharullah into the hands of White, before a sharp shower briefly interrupted the afternoon’s play.
Sam Wood’s second scoring shot propelled White over midwicket for six. With ten overs remaining in the innings Read retired on 45, enabling Adam Tillcock to spend some time in the middle.
The pair added 22 together, with Wood closing on 39 not out and Tillcock on 11.
A rain-interrupted final session, played under artificial light, saw Northants reach 72-1 by close of play.
Nottinghamshire visit The Parks to face Oxford MCCU from Tuesday to Thursday for their final pre-season fixture, ahead of the championship opener against Lancashire on April 6th.