Nottinghamshire's Luke Fletcher took a career-best six for 24 as Essex were bowled out for 99 on the opening day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match at Trent Bridge.

Fletcher, who bagged five for 28 against Derbyshire last week, took his wickets in two spells, the second bringing him five for 11 in seven overs, including a triple-wicket maiden.

It saw Essex lose their last six wickets for 19 in a frenzied hour after lunch, rewarding Nottinghamshire’s decision to bowl first on a green pitch.

The Green and Golds lost their first four wickets for 84 in response, Essex seamer Shane Snater taking three wickets, but Lyndon James and Steven Mullaney (63) have seized the initiative in a so-far unbroken partnership of 104 for a lead of 89 by the close.

Nick Browne’s 53 was the only significant resistance from the Bob Willis Trophy champions after opening partner Alastair Cook was dismissed for three by former England teammate Stuart Broad.

Browne picked up four boundaries in the first three overs but after Cook tentatively edged behind, Fletcher removed Tom Westley’s off stump with the best ball of the morning and Dan Lawrence played across the line to James to be leg before for 14. 

Broad’s second spell accounted for Paul Walter, pinned in front, and the excellent Fletcher inflicted further pain soon after lunch as Essex slipped to 86 for six, Ryan ten Doeschate playing round a full delivery before Adam Wheater was strangled down the leg side.

Browne was well caught at backward point when tempted by some width from Fletcher, who then had Snater caught behind and Peter Siddle leg before to consecutive balls of the same over before Jamie Porter survived his hat-trick attempt.

James (2-3) wrapped things up by trapping Simon Harmer in front in the next over.

After Nottinghamshire lost Ben Slater, who flicked Snater to square leg, and Ben Duckett, edging behind off Porter, in consecutive overs, Joe Clarke and Haseeb Hameed added 43 before Snater removed both, Clarke caught behind and Hameed at second slip to miss out fifth half-century in six innings by one run.

But as the ball lost its hardness, James and Mullaney took control, the latter completing an impressive fifty from 57 balls with his 10th boundary.


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