Luke Fletcher took five wickets for the sixth time in his career on the third day of Nottinghamshire’s Specsavers County Championship match against Yorkshire at Scarborough.
The 30-year old fast bowler finished with figures of 5-67 as Yorkshire were bowled out for 338 in their second innings.
Gary Ballance and Tom Kohler-Cadmore each passed 50 for the hosts, with Liam Patterson-White and Paul Coughlin each chipping in with two wickets for Notts.
Set a hefty victory target of 387 for victory, Notts closed on 135 for four, with Ben Duckett unbeaten on 47. Bad light forced the players from the field with two overs remaining in the day’s allocation.
At the outset, with Yorkshire 225 in front on 177-2, the state of the contest meant that Notts had little option but to try and exert early morning pressure and, hopefully, pick up wickets as a result.
In isolation, the first hour of the day went to plan. Fletcher and Coughlin set the tone, bowling miserly 45-minute spells each, which completely dried up the flow of runs. Coughlin, whose Trent Bridge career has been blighted by injuries so far, picked up a deserved maiden wicket when he had Steve Patterson caught at slip by Chris Nash for nine.
Notts rotated their bowlers and also took the opportunity for one or two players to pop off the field for a comfort break. At the start of Luke Wood’s spell, young Academy prospect Louis Bhabra was sent on to field for the first team for the first time.
Down at long leg he was immediately called into action – spectacular action! Wood, who took five wickets on the opening day, banged in a short ball that Gary Ballance, on 61, hooked sweetly. The ball appeared to be sailing away for a certain boundary until Bhabra dived full-length and emerged with the ball in his hands.
A wonderful catch, which was warmly applauded by the large North Marine Road crowd as Bhabra disappeared inside a celebratory huddle of on-rushing teammates.
Before Bhabra left the field he also had the satisfaction of throwing down the stumps on a run-out attempt, although the batsman was adjudged to be narrowly home.
Only 22 runs had been scored inside the first 60 minutes of play and the shackles remained on until the fifth wicket went down. Patterson-White gathered his sixth wicket of the match as Harry Brook decided to take him on but couldn’t clear Jake Ball at mid-on.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore increased the tempo, particularly once the visitors had taken the second new ball straight after lunch – but he was to lose his next partner with the lead on 290. Jonny Tattersall, who made 92 in the first innings, had only scored 7 when he nicked Fletcher to Ben Duckett at slip.
That dismissal came in the seventh over of the second new ball – and Fletcher’s fourth of the spell. He kept going and going – and bagged three more victims to take his second five-wicket haul of the summer. Kohler-Cadmore had played nicely for his 59 but then an error of judgement cost him his wicket, padding up without playing a shot.
Ben Coad nicked to Coughlin at slip, giving Fletcher his fifth but Notts were then hit by a South African counter. Keshav Maharaj had earlier hit Jake Ball for a straight six.
He walloped Coughlin for two more before the bowler pulled off a terrific running caught and bowled offering to end the innings.
Faced with a final session of 44 overs Notts made a brisk start before Ben Slater was taken at slip off Duanne Olivier for 18. Jake Libby followed in the 14th over, edging behind for 11 in Patterson’s first over and ‘keeper Tattersall also caught Joe Clarke off Maharaj for four.
Duckett hit the spinner for two big leg-side sixes but then lost his captain to the same bowler, with Nash adjudged lbw for 30. In the gloom Yorkshire introduced Adam Lyth into the attack but the conditions deteriorated further, leaving Duckett and Patterson-White, who has made 16, to head back to the sanctuary of the pavilion. Their stand has so far been worth 32.
There are two further opportunities to catch the Outlaws in T20 action at Trent Bridge this summer, with the next opportunity coming as part of a double-header on Sunday 25 August. The Outlaws' clash against Yorkshire Vikings will be preceded by Loughborough Lightning v Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League.