Nottinghamshire’s bowlers enjoyed themselves on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford.

Matt Carter and Luke Fletcher shared eight of the wickets as the home side were dismissed for only 206 in their first innings in only 59.3 overs.

Carter took four for 34 and Fletcher weighed in with four for 43, as Notts reached the halfway stage with a sizeable advantage of 174. Ravi Bopara top-scored for the defending county champions, in making 69.

Batting for a second time, Notts reached 35 for one by stumps, an overall lead of 209.

Earlier, Notts enjoyed a fruitful start to the day before being bowled out for 380 in their first innings, with Fletcher, Matt Milnes and Harry Gurney each hitting a six. South African spinner Simon Harmer took four for 78 for the hosts.

Nottinghamshire resumed on 311 for six at the start of the day, with Tom Moores accompanying Fletcher out to the middle.

The third ball of the day accounted for Moores, who nicked Jamie Porter behind for his overnight 28. Physio James Pipe was then briefly summoned as the same bowler struck Fletcher on the glove.

Carter played positively in scoring 19 from 31 balls before hoisting the spin of Harmer out to Neil Wagner on the midwicket fence.

At the start of the 110th over Notts were on 349 for eight but had no problems in securing their fourth batting point as Fletcher turned away a Harmer delivery for two, then thumped the next delivery out of the ground at long on and into the River Can.

Milnes also clubbed the spinner for a straight six but then lost his partner to the bowling of Wagner.

Fletcher was dropped at gully by Varun Chopra but then offered up his next ball to mid-on, for a simple catch, to fall for 19.

Gurney rubbed further salt into gaping Essex wounds by hoisting Wagner for a maximum, moments before the innings ended when Milnes holed out for 22.

The home county began their reply half an hour before lunch and it wasn’t long before Fletcher made the first breakthrough, trapping Chopra lbw – on his 31st birthday – for a 21-ball duck.

Notts built on that fine start by taking two more wickets in the early stages of the afternoon.

Milnes gained deserved reward for a fine spell by dismissing Tom Westley lbw for eight before Fletcher then had Dan Lawrence smartly caught in the gully by Chris Nash for a single.

A partnership of 54 between Alistair Cook and Bopara was ended when the England opener nicked Gurney to second slip, where Carter took an excellent catch at the second attempt.

Essex moved to 124 for four but three overs later – either side of tea – they had been reduced to 130 for seven.

Fletcher had Adam Wheater caught behind for 24 and Matt Coles lbw for four. In between those two dismissals Carter struck Harmer on the pads for nought.

Bopara had been at the crease for 35 overs and looked to seize the initiative when hitting Carter for 4-6-4 from consecutive deliveries.

Captain Nash stuck by his man though and was justified as the experienced batsman missed a shortish delivery from the spinner and was emphatically bowled.

Wagner decided to go on the counter-attack and took 20 off four deliveries from Gurney, including two leg side sixes but then skied Carter to point, to fall for 37.

Matt Quinn was last out, with Jake Libby holding a comfortable catch in the deep to give Carter his fourth wicket.

Notts had 12 overs to face, late in the day and lost the wicket of Nash for eight. Milnes was sent out as nightwatchman as safely accompanied Libby through to the close.


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