An unbeaten century opening stand put the seal on an outstanding day for Nottinghamshire, as the Division One leaders seized the advantage in their Specsavers County Championship match against Hampshire at Trent Bridge.
Steven Mullaney and Jake Libby batted throughout the final session of the day to reach the close on 136 without loss, an overall advantage of 215.
Mullaney, the Nottinghamshire captain, is unbeaten on 82, having faced 119 balls and hit 10 fours and two sixes. Libby reached his 50 in the final of the day, getting to the landmark from 97 deliveries, with six fours.
Having been reduced to nine for four against Lancashire and six for three against Yorkshire, the home county chose a timely moment to find some early season momentum in their batting.
Building on a first innings advantage of 79, the Notts second innings had barely begun before 24 runs were on the board, courtesy of four boundaries from Mullaney and another two from his partner. As Hampshire’s attack began to wilt, Mullaney went on the offensive and twice lifted Liam Dawson over the extra cover ropes.
The partnership topped off a decent day with the ball, as Hampshire were dismissed for 223 before tea.
Resuming from their overnight position of 70 for three, the visitors lost three wickets in the morning session, Riley Rossow for 26, Dawson for 10 and, most crucially, Hashim Amla for 69.
The South African Test batsman had appeared untroubled, until chancing his arm against Samit Patel and holing out to mid-off, after 169 minutes at the crease. Amla had faced 122 deliveries and scored 11 fours but his departure visibly lifted home spirits.
Patel followed that wicket with two more after lunch, getting Kyle Abbott caught at midwicket, before knocking Chris Wood’s middle stump flat.
Jake Ball picked up his 22nd championship wicket of the season by dismissing Brad Wheal but Lewis McManus frustrated the home side until being last out.
The Hampshire gloveman made 66 from 138 deliveries, until falling to Luke Fletcher. Patel finished with figures of three for 25 and Stuart Broad, who gave McManus a sustained barrage of short-pitched deliveries during the latter part of the innings, took three for 45.
An entertaining day – that ended with Notts on the front foot – contained that rarest of achievements, a prompt finish and 97 overs bowled – one more than the normal allocation.
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