Despite further interruptions for rain Nottinghamshire were able to forge a slender advantage on the third day of their LV= county championship match against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.
The home side had a lead of eleven runs when play was halted 12.4 overs early, with the score on 259-5.
James Taylor made 78 for the home side, with Riki Wessels unbeaten on the same score at stumps. Samit Patel made 30 out of a stand of 91 with Taylor, reaching 500 first class runs for the summer in the process.
Patel, though, was disappointed to get out when he did. “It was a poor shot from me,” he said. “I shouldn’t be getting out like that. Me and Titch (Taylor) had got Northants where we wanted them at the time but I gave it away and that’s disappointing.”
Although only one day remains, Patel feels there is still a chance of a home victory. “The team is in a good place really. We need a good morning session and then have two sessions to bowl at Northants. The belief is there in our dressing room that we are capable of bowling sides out in two sessions, so we’ll go into the day with confidence.”
The day began with Northamptonshire resuming their first innings on 241-8, with David Murphy and Maurice Chambers together at the crease. Needing just 9 for a second batting point they added five before Andy Carter brought about a swift conclusion to the innings.
Chambers (9) had his off stump flattened by the tall fast bowler, who then trapped Mohammed Azharullah (0) with the visitors two runs short of their target.
Carter’s work for the morning was 2.1-2-0-2.
Although Alex Hales (15) was soon into his stride, pulling Azharullah for six, Nottinghamshire’s innings was then thrown into disarray as they lost three quick wickets.
Azharullah extracted swift revenge by having Hales caught by David Sales at slip, with the same fielder then taking a second catch as Phil Jaques (0) mistimed a pull that looped up to the fielder.
Michael Lumb (10) was struck on the hand by a ball from Andrew Hall that spat sharply off a length and fell one ball later, due to a brilliant leg side stumping by David Murphy.
James Taylor began positively, punishing width, as he found the ropes on six occasions before going to lunch on 29 not out, with the total on 71-3.
Samit Patel had proceeded onto an uneventful 9 by the interval but then had some astonishing fortune at the start of the afternoon session.
The first delivery, bowled by Hall, went for a bye after Patel elected not to play a shot and ‘keeper Murphy failed to gather, seemingly believing the ball was certain to hit the stumps.
Back on strike, Patel was then dropped from the fourth and fifth deliveries of the same over, by Sales – low to his left at second slip – and by Ben Duckett, at point, from a leading edge.
Taylor was being fed to many four-balls at this stage and sped to his third half century of the summer (69 balls 9x4) but after a stand of 91 he lost his partner with Patel (30) clipping Chambers to Rob Newton at cover.
Rain halted proceedings for around 90 minutes, during which an early tea was taken and then a moment of high comedy ensued.
The first ball of the resumption saw Riki Wessels dab the ball towards the third man boundary, the ball pulled up in the wet conditions and the umpires decided that the outfield was too wet to continue.
Wessels began to accelerate nicely when play resumed but had a life on 22, Hall dropping an edge at first slip, off Azharullah.
The mistake was costly, as the former Northants man also raced to his third half century of the season (60 balls 8x4), getting there with the third of four consecutive boundaries in a Steven Crook over that saw Notts bring up their first batting point.
Taylor’s fine knock ended on 78 when he was adjudged to be lbw to James Middlebrook, who was celebrating his 37th birthday. Those celebrations quickly subsided as Chris Read (17 not out) arrived in the middle and promptly hit the spinner back over his head for six.
Wessels (78 not out) also hit a maximum, off Hall, giving Notts the overall lead in the process but a further stoppage proved terminal.