Nottinghamshire delivered their best batting performance of the season on the third day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset at Taunton.
Beginning the day in danger of succumbing to an innings defeat they mustered sufficient runs to force the contest into a final day and leave the home county with a tricky run chase.
Steven Mullaney, Jake Libby, Chris Nash and Samit Patel all passed fifty to lead Notts into a narrow advantage – before Tom Moores delivered a fitting finale to a great day by hitting a maiden first class hundred.
Moores reached his century from 106 balls, with 16 fours but was then dismissed for 103 in the final over of the day as Notts closed on 468 for eight, an overall lead of 210.
Mullaney fell for 94 in the morning session, Libby added 69, Nash 66 and Patel 55. Roelof van der Merwe was the pick of the bowlers, taking four for 114.
Resuming from their overnight second innings score of 112 without loss, Mullaney and Libby began brightly, adding a further 33 runs before being parted.
The pair had put on 155 against Hampshire, earlier in the season, and extended this partnership to 145 before the first of two leg before wicket decisions ended their participation.
Libby was first to go, falling to Josh Davey for a season-best 69. Mullaney, who had pulled Craig Overton away for a mighty six in the early stages of the session, was then given out against the spin of Roelof van der Merwe.
The same bowler then bowled Ross Taylor for five, pegging back the off stump as the batsman tried to cut.
Nash and Patel ensured there would be no further mishaps before lunch, which Notts reached on 231 for three, still 27 behind.
Either side of the break Somerset’s Matt Renshaw chose to kneel down in a close slip position for the spin bowling of van der Merwe. The tactic should have paid dividends but the Australian put down a nick straight to him, when Nash was on 40.
Nottinghamshire wiped out their arrears shortly before Nash hit his eighth boundary to reach his first championship fifty for the county, coming from 117 deliveries.
Patel reached his second fifty of the campaign from 113 balls, with five fours but then the hosts struck again.
After a partnership of 108 that occupied 40 overs both set batsmen departed within five balls of each other; Nash was bowled by Davey and then Patel became the latest van der Merwe lbw victim.
Early in the final session Riki Wessels also went lbw, for 19, to the former South African international, leaving Notts six wickets down with a lead of only 80.
Moores and Billy Root then combined in an exhilarating stand of 118 that ended when Root was bowled by Bess for 36.
At that stage Moores was unbeaten on 98 and he tickled his next delivery to the fine leg fence to herald unbridled celebrations amongst the Nottinghamshire contingent – on the field, the player’s balcony – and in the crowd.
Time allowed for one final over to be bowled before six o’clock and it allowed Somerset to strike the final blow, with Moores’ innings coming to an end at the hands of Bess, with the fifth lbw of the day.
Luke Fletcher was unbeaten on seven as the bails came off and will hope to extend the Nottinghamshire advantage up to 250, if possible, on the final day, alongside Matt Carter and Matt Milnes.
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