An unbeaten 177 from Ben Duckett and five wickets for Luke Fletcher at last gave spectators something to cheer on day three of Nottinghamshire’s weather-hit LV= Insurance County Championship match against Worcestershire.

Duckett shared partnerships of 205 with all-rounder Lyndon James, who made 78, and 142 with skipper Steven Mullaney, who smashed four sixes in a 73-ball 88 as Nottinghamshire racked up maximum batting bonus points.

They then added two bowling points, reducing their opponents to 46 for six in a frenzied 85 minutes at the close, Fletcher taking five for 20 including three in the same over.

Duckett’s hundred was his fifth for Nottinghamshire, his first of the season and his biggest for the county in the Championship from an innings that mixed some impressive conventional strokeplay with some characteristic improvisation. 

Nottinghamshire declared on 400 for five, after which Worcestershire lost former Nottinghamshire opener Jake Libby to a brilliant one-handed catch by Ben Slater at short square leg off Fletcher, Tom Fell gloved one off Stuart Broad and Fletcher, bowling full and straight, dismissed Daryl Mitchell, Brett D’Oliveira and Riki Wessels in the space of five balls, all leg before.

The Nottinghamshire paceman completed his third five-wicket haul in consecutive matches when Jack Haynes went the same way in the penultimate over of the day.

Only 95 balls could be bowled in the opening two days, and showers cost another 16 overs today, yet a positive result remains possible.

It was hard to recall that Worcestershire, still without a Group One win, had reduced their opponents to 51 for three by taking three wickets in 28 balls in tricky conditions on a fragmented first day.

By contrast, after Friday’s complete washout, Nottinghamshire enjoyed chanceless progress through the first two sessions today, adding 99 before lunch and 105 in the afternoon, with Worcestershire’s bowlers unable to create meaningful pressure. 

James and Duckett overtook the 157 set by James Taylor and Riki Wessels at New Road in 2015 as the highest fourth-wicket stand for Nottinghamshire against Worcestershire, but the 21-year-old, whose ten boundaries brought him the third half-century of his fledgling career, fell soon after tea when he miscued a pull off Mitchell’s medium pace and was caught at extra cover. 

Duckett, whose first fifty came at a run a ball, posted his 19th career hundred off 126 balls as he swept D’Oliveira’s leg spin for his 11th four, celebrating with two more boundaries in the over from reverse sweeps.

He reached 150 off 175 balls, the innings containing 19 fours all told.


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