Luke Wood grabbed four wickets as Nottinghamshire bowled out Division One leaders Somerset for 326 on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Taunton.
Wood’s four for 85 provided the perfect accompaniment for Ravi Ashwin, who again toiled away and did the bulk of the bowling.
The Indian Test spinner, who sent down 60 overs against Essex in the last match, got through 34.3 overs for his figures of three for 93.
Steven Davies made 74 for the home side and put on 128 with Dom Bess for the seventh wicket.
Notts made three changes to the side, with recalls for Wood and Jake Libby, plus a first-class debut for 20-year old Liam Patterson-White. The trio replaced Stuart Broad (unavailable), Samit Patel and Joe Clarke, who was ruled out with a hamstring tweak.
Wood’s return paid immediate dividends. The left-armer was introduced for the start of the 8th over and his first delivery was telling. Azhar Ali, who had made 10 of the 22 runs on the board, nicked as the ball came across him and Steven Mullaney pouched a safe low catch at second slip.
Ashwin was bowling as early as the 11th over and he sent back the Somerset skipper, with huge help from Ben Slater. Tom Abell, who had made 17, pushed forward with bat and pad together, and the short leg dived to scoop up a one-handed catch.
James Hildreth roared past a couple of milestones in making 44. His innings saw him reach 17,000 runs in first class cricket and go fifth in his county’s all-time list, but he couldn’t make it to lunch, giving Mullaney more catching practice, off Jake Ball.
After lunch George Bartlett nicked Wood but the ’keeper, Tom Moores, couldn’t hold at full stretch. Fortunately, the miss wasn’t costly as he was bowled behind his legs for 18 in the same over, with the home side reduced to 122 for four.
Tom Banton was next to depart. Son of former Nottinghamshire batsman Colin Banton, he reached 25 without too much difficulty, but then hit his own wicket when trying to stop a ball from Ashwin rolling back onto his stumps.
Ashwin showed great agility at mid on to swoop low to catch Lewis Gregory for 9, off Ball, leaving Somerset on 145 for six at the midway point of the day.
Davies and Bess frustrated the Notts attack right the way through to the tea break, reaching a 50 partnership with a no ball in the final over of the session.
Davies had been at the crease for more than two hours when he reached 50, getting there from a patient – but crucial – 113 deliveries with seven fours.
Somerset’s seventh-wicket pairing brought up their century stand together and then five runs later garnered a second batting point for reaching 250.
A bowler light with the unfortunate Patterson-White off the field due to illness, Notts did little wrong on a flat surface under a hot sun. The odd play and miss brought the occasional oohs and ahs. but nothing was offered by the way of genuine chances.
Armed with a new ball, Notts started to make further inroads as Wood struck twice more. Bess had reached 51 before providing Mullaney with a third catch of the day and then Davies with given out lbw.
Luke Fletcher grabbed his first wicket of the day just before the close as Jamie Overton – who had clubbed four fours and a six in his 34 – nicked to Ben Duckett at first slip.
There was still time to take the final wicket in the penultimate over of the day as Ashwin trapped Jack Leach lbw.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…