Nottinghamshire made 382-5 after being asked to bat first on the opening day of their LV= County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton, with Samit Patel leading the way with an undefeated century.
Patel closed the day on 116 not out, having shared in an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 188 with Chris Read, who remains 95 not out.
Earlier Phil Jaques (65) and James Taylor (60) laid the platform, against some challenging bowling by the home side.
Man of the day Patel admits there was pressure on him, “Yes, everyone keeps reminding me that I always score runs at Taunton but I felt pretty good from the start. I had to battle through the eighties but now I’m in this position I really want to convert it into a big score.”
Patel was happy to pay tribute to his colleagues. “Partnerships are key and Jaquesy and Tich (Taylor) played unbelievably well. Theirs was a great effort. Ready is a fantastic player, he’s held us together for years and I really enjoyed batting with him – he emphasised how important it was late on to play straight and make sure I was there for the morning. We’ll take it hour by hour but it’s a good position for us to be in.”
The Nottinghamshire side showed two changes from the previous match, with Ajmal Shahzad and Jake Ball replacing Harry Gurney and Luke Fletcher in the four-man seam attack.
Steven Mullaney and Phil Jaques opened the batting for the visitors and put on 34 in the first half of the day, with four boundaries coming from the bat of Mullaney, two to third man and two thumped along the ground past bowler Alfonso Thomas.
Thomas extracted his revenge emphatically, knocking out Mullaney’s off stump in the ninth over. Michael Lumb (7) came and went quickly. A tentative push at a ball from Lewis Gregory produced an enormous, confident shout for lbw – the only thing that could have saved the batsman was if he got a thin tickle on it but as the ball had ballooned to Alviro Petersen at third slip, he had to go either way – given out caught by the officials.
Jaques endured a torrid passage of play. He was dropped twice by wicketkeeper Craig Keiswetter. The first, when he was on 16, was low to his left. The second, also off Thomas’ bowling, was 2 runs later. A miscued pull flew high towards fine leg – the ‘keeper gave chase and dived to take the ball – but it was deemed he hadn’t gathered it cleanly, to the dismay of an already celebrating home crowd.
Jaques was then struck by a bounced from Jamie Overton, needing treatment from the physio and a replacement helmet.
James Taylor, meanwhile, overcame a fairly testing start to produce a classical pre-lunch counter-attack. Effectively manipulating the good deliveries and punishing the short, particularly from the wild and woolly Overton, he quickly overtook Jaques’ 30 run head start.
Either side of the first interval the pair both reached their second championship half-centuries of the summer (Jaques 103 balls 9x4, Taylor 90 balls 8x4) in adding 112 together.
Gregory’s return to the attack, from the Old Pavilion End, conjured the breakthrough, as the Australian (65) nicked into the waiting hands of James Hildreth at first slip.
The same bowler inflicted more misery upon the Notts middle order shortly afterwards as the other set batsman, Taylor (60), edged through to Kieswetter.
Riki Wessels (7) also went to a catch at the wicket, after Overton found enough late movement to get one to kiss the outside edge of the right-handers bat.
Notts brought up their first batting point just before tea and were indebted to a flurry of boundaries from Patel soon afterwards as he became the third player to reach fifty (72 balls 8x4).
Chris Read didn’t disappoint in comparison, batting fluently to speed to the quickest fifty of the day (66 balls 8x4), bringing up the second century stand of the innings, in the process.
With the home attack wilting – and the second new ball being creamed to all parts of Taunton – the Notts duo pressed the accelerator button to devastating effect.
Patel’s third ton on the ground (no other Notts batsman in history has even scored two) duly arrived (129 balls 17x4) and his skipper was only five runs away from his century at stumps.
In the final 32 over session the pair had added 182 together, at almost six per over and by stumps were only 18 away from the county’s 6th wicket record against Somerset (206 by Richard Hadlee and John Birch in 1986).