After a day of fluctuating fortunes Nottinghamshire will take an overall lead of 36 runs into the second half of their Specsavers County Championship match against Essex at Chelmsford.

The visitors reached stumps on 90 for six, having been 70 without loss at one stage.

Earlier, Luke Fletcher led the Nottinghamshire fightback, claiming figures of five for 50 as the home side were bowled out for 241, taking a first innings lead of 54.

Matt Carter, three for 64, and Stuart Broad, who took two for 50, backed up Fletcher’s fifth five-wicket career haul. Nick Browne, with 67, top-scored for the hosts, with Peter Siddle and Simon Harmer putting on 81 for the ninth wicket.

Batting for a second time Ben Slater and Ben Duckett remained together for almost 20 overs but were then prised apart at the start of a collapse which saw all six wickets fall for only 16 runs within the space of 11 overs.

Duckett hit five boundaries before lofting Harmer to mid-off for 37. Next ball, from the other end, Slater was given out lbw to Porter for 31.

Harmer’s threat became obvious as he ripped out three further batsmen in quick succession. Joe Clarke was taken at slip by Alastair Cook for a single and Steven Mullaney (2) and Samit Patel (0) went from successive deliveries, both caught by Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg.

Carter, sent in as nightwatchman, couldn’t reach the close either, trapped lbw by Siddle for two.

At the start of the day Essex had resumed from their overnight score of 68 without loss but lost two wickets inside the opening 30 minutes.

Alastair Cook was the first wicket to fall, adding just a couple of runs to his overnight score, he nicked Broad to Mullaney at third slip for 31.

Broad, bowled a lively, accurate spell from the Hayes Close End, that brought him a further success when Tom Westley was adjudged lbw for 12, after wandering across his stumps to try and play to leg.

Browne reached his 50 from 92 deliveries, with five fours but lost two further partners in the second hour of the morning.

Fletcher replaced the England international and maintained a tight, aggressive line, which brought rewards.

Steep bounce accounted for Dan Lawrence, who could only nick behind for 19 and with the final ball before lunch Rishi Patel, who had survived a confident lbw shout, edged Fletcher into the hands of Carter at second slip.

Only 68 runs had been conceded during the opening session and the afternoon opened with more problems for the home side.

Browne’s resistance was broken on 67 when he cut Carter uppishly into the diving hands of Samit Patel at backward point.

From 136 for three, one ball before lunch, the hosts were then plunged to 146 for seven, as two more wickets fell in quick succession.

Fletcher picked up this 450th wicket for the county, across all three formats, as Ten Doeschate elected not to play a shot and palpably lbw.

Robbie White chose to try and sweep Carter and popped up a simple catch to Slater at short leg.

The same combination accounted for Porter, although Slater’s sharp reflexes were needed to complete the dismissal.

Harmer and Siddle inched and nudged Essex into the lead – and beyond – and weren’t separated until the second new ball became due.

It’s fourth delivery resulted in Harmer becoming the third leg before victim of the day, and Fletcher made it five when he toppled over Sam Cook’s off peg, leaving Siddle undefeated on 40.

Nottinghamshire’s second innings began after tea and they received a huge slice of early fortune when Duckett was spilled at long leg by Sam Cook, top-edging Porter – but the reprieve was short-lived as Essex ended the day with a flurry of wickets to take a firm grip on the contest.


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