Two wickets from Luke Fletcher ensured Nottinghamshire enjoyed the better of a rain-affected opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge.
Fletcher’s double strike saw him draw level with Durham’s Chris Rushworth as the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 40 scalps, and Derbyshire stuttered to 91 for five in the 47 overs that were possible.
As red-ball cricket returned to Trent Bridge for the first time in six weeks, Steven Mullaney won the toss and elected to bowl first on a pitch similar in colour to that on which the reverse fixture was played at Derby in April.
His decision did not take long to be vindicated, with Fletcher soon having Luis Reece pushing at one that found a thin edge, and Brett Hutton trapping Tom Wood shortly after with a full delivery.
Two rain interruptions before lunch dented the Green and Golds’ charge, but there was time before the interval for a third wicket to fall, as Brooke Guest edged Lyndon James to Ben Duckett for the stand-in wicketkeeper’s second catch of the innings.
Matt Critchley and Leus du Plooy began to rebuild after lunch before the next band of showers arrived, and repeated downpours kept the players off the field for a total of two hours and 40 minutes.
The pause was a frustrating one for Notts, but Derbyshire may have wished it had been longer, as two more wickets fell in the first 17 balls after the resumption.
Captaining in a first-class match for the first time in the absence of Billy Godleman, Critchley had made 23 before the lengthy pause, but he perished moments after the resumption.
A sharp low catch by Haseeb Hameed at third slip off 19-year-old Joey Evison, whose first spell of the season comprised four maidens, accounted for the Derbyshire skipper.
Fletcher then picked up the scalp that saw him equal Rushworth, as Harvey Hosein was leg before to his second ball, leaving Derbyshire 76 for five.
However, from that point, only 38 more minutes of action was possible, and with a final stoppage for bad light at 6.15pm putting paid to the prospect of further play, the visitors will now resume their innings tomorrow morning.
View a full scorecard, highlights and statistics here.
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