Nottinghamshire v Essex County Championship Div 1 May 18-21

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 1

THE second new ball did the trick for Nottinghamshire as they took five wickets for 34 runs  in 11 overs dismissing Essex for 298 with Brett Hutton taking four for 69 the fourth time this season he has taken four wickets in an innings.

His first victim with the second new ball was Adam Rossington who was looking dangerous. Rossington batted well for his 35 but he became Hutton’s third victim of the day when he tried to work Hutton to leg and was leg before. Three runs later he bowled Doug Bracewell off his gloves as the ball came into him.

Hutton was wicketless until the 56 th over when he got Dan Lawrence.  To celebrate his call up to the England squad for the Ireland test Lawrence seemed intent to show Brendan McCullum that he has the qualities to play Bazball.  He raced to 16 off 21 balls, he got a bit giddy and went down the wicket to Hutton, opened the face of his bat and guided it to stumper Joe Clarke.

After waiting till the 56th over for his first wicket his second came in his next over. Matt Critchley followed the ball from Hutton and simply guided it to Clarke for more catching practice.

Hutton was backed up by Stuart Broad and Dane Paterson who both took three wickets.  Broad took three for 53 including his 200th First class victim for Nottinghamshire when Shane Snater was brilliantly caught at third slip by Matthew Montgomery with the ball almost past him.

Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores said: “Hutton  works hard,  puts the ball in the right areas asking questions of the batters and keeps plugging away with the old ball.  Broad bowled well and did a very good job today.

We have set it up nicely for the rest of the game but  tomorrow we’ve got to get through the new ball.”

After rescuing the Essex innings with a sixth wicket partnership of 75 in 23 with Adam Rossington, Simon Harmer edged the fourth ball to the boundary Broad squared Harmer up as he tried to turn him to leg but missed the ball which thudded into Harmer’s pad.  Harmer started to walk before umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy’s finger was up.

Harmer and Rossington saw Essex through to tea without looking in any trouble. After tea the pair found runs easier to come by as they put the efforts of Dan Lawrence and Matt Critchley to shame. Harmer clipped Paterson  off his legs to the mid wicket boundary. At the other end Rossington eased Lyndon James to the mid wicket boundary to bring up the 50 partnership with Harmer. 

He lofted the first ball in Championship cricket from leg  spinner Calvin  Harrison over  Broad at mid on to the boundary to bring up Essex’ first batting point. In the next over Rossington late cut the slow left arm spinner Liam Patterson-White for another boundary.

Broad got the first wicket of the day in the fifth over when trapped Nick Browne plum leg before. Alastair Cook top scored with 72 his highest score for Essex against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on his 150th First class appearance for Essex, his 72 came off  124 balls and included 10 fours.  

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: “He dosen’t know that. He’s been looking good all season without getting that big score.”

With Tom Westley they added 135 in 42 overs and Cook outscored Westley who was more circumspect than Cook.  Both Cook and Westley dug in as the bright sky gave way to overcast conditions.  The first chance that either of them gave was when they had added 110 when Westley on 36 hooked Paterson  to long leg.   Ben Slater had to move a couple of yards to his right  and got both hands to it but spilled the chance.

Cook brought up his 50 which came from 89 balls in 134 minutes  and included seven fours when he turned Hutton off his hips through mid wicket for three.

Westley reached his fourth 50 of the season, which came from 128 balls in 159 minutes,when he pulled Paterson to the mid wicket boundary. On  60 Westley gave a return chance to James who dropped it in his follow through as he changed direction.

After giving Westley two lifes Nottinghamshire finally got him when tried to pull a short ball from Paterson but bottom edged him on to his middle stump.

McGrath added: “ It was disappointing to lose the wickets at the end for not many but when you lose the toss and nearly get 300 you are in the game.  The lads said that the pitch did more near the end. If the weather keeps dry and hopefully if we bowl last Harmer will do the business.”

Day 2

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’s  Matthew Montgomery made Essex pay for dropping him twice before he had reached double figures by hitting his first Championship century of the season and his second was his second for Nottinghamshire.

The 23 year old South African born but English qualified came to the crease in the fourth over of the day when Haseeb Hameed pushed at Sam Cook  and Sir  Alalastair Cook at first slip pouched a simple catch at first slip. Montgomery pushed Doug Bracewell into the covers for a quick single to bring up his first hundred of the season from 116 balls with nine fours.  He danced down the pitch to Simon Harmer and drilled him to the long off boundary.

Montgomery got off the mark when he edged Shane Snater’s second ball but stumper  Adam Rossington couldn’t take the low chance to his right.  Without adding to his score  Montgomermery had  another life off Snater  when he nibbled and nicked but Rossington couldn’t  hold on to the chance moving to his right.  As well as those two drops Jamie Porter had a  big leg before shout against Montgomery when he was on 59 shared in  three 50 plus partnership’s as Nottinghamshire closed in on Essex total.

His best shot on his way to his century was when he danced down the pitch to Harmer and drilled him to the cover boundary when he reached his century he delightfully drove Porter to the long off boundary.

Montgomery’ third wicket partnership with Joe Clarke was the most productive as they accelerated the score  with Clarke out scoring Montgomery and raced to his 50 when he lofted Harmer over the long off boundary for a six.  His 50  came off 89 balls with nine fours and that six. The partnership was broken in  the penultimate over before tea when Clarke had a big swing at Matt Critchley, got an outside edge and the ball hung in the air till Porter took the catch at mid off.  At the close Nottinghamshire were  28 ahead with five wickets left and Montgomery was unbeaten on 130.

Nottinghamshire’s Bowling and batting coach Ant Botha said: “We now have competition for places in the team which is a coach's dream and Montgomery was close to selection for the first game but we knew that Ben Duckett would be going off with  England. Montgomery is very grounded and is a good kid. He  knows where he wants to go and it is our job to help him get there.  He has got a very good temperament, he just wants to learn all the time and it was nice that he was able to stamp his authority today. He is certainly one to watch for the future and there is an opportunity for him to put the game to bed,

It was a great day for us. Our  message this morning was to build big partnerships but there is still a lot to do.”

Late arrivals to the ground missed a rapid start by Nottinghamshire openers Ben  Slater and Haseeb Hameed, in particular Slater who pulled the third ball of the day from. Porter for a six,as they added 24 in three overs, 20 of them came off Porter’s two overs  and they lost a wicket. 

Slater had a torrid over against Sam Cook when he played and missed at two and survived a strong leg before appeal.  When Sam Cook was taken out of the attack at the Pavilion end and replaced by Porter,  Slater still had luck on his side as he played and missed but he did play a delightful cover drive to the boundary.

Without adding to his 50, Slater edged Bracewell to Cook at first slip who parried it but couldn’t get the rebound.  Eventually Essex took a chance when Slater got a thick ledge to Sam Cook, who his previous over went over on his ankle, and Rossington took the simple task.  Slater’s 153 minute innings included seven fours and a six from 121 balls. 

Botha added: “Slater’s been knocking at the door  for a big score but the luck hasn’t gone his way so it was nice for him to get 50 but a pity that he didn’t get a big score.”

Sam Cook got his third wicket of the innings in the fifth over with the new ball when Lyndon James edged Cook to Rossington after adding 73 with Montgomery in rapid time coming in 19 overs. Bracewell got a wicket when he trapped Steven Mullaney leg before with that came back into him and kept low.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: “We put down three chances, I think, in that first session, and beat the bat quite a bit but we weren’t at our best today. We bowled poorly in patches and didn’t really bowl in partnerships.

It is a pitch where you have to take your chances when they come. We know it is a new-ball wicket and we did make them play and miss and find the edge and unfortunately we put them down, which is unusual for us because we’re normally very good behind the wicket and in the slips.

It cost us, particularly with Montgomery. But you have to give credit to him. As a batsman if you get a let-off you have to make the opposition pay and he did that and played really well. But getting a wicket near the end was a boost. We spoke at tea about being somewhere near parity at the close and having them seven down. 

They’re five down so we’re a bit behind in the game but there is a lot of cricket left in this game and if we can bowl well in the morning and then get some runs on the board then hopefully it will be a tough challenge for them.”

Day 3

AN unbroken second wicket partnership of 137 between Sir Alastair Cook and Tom Westley took Essex into the lead and the match into the final day.

The former England captain was unbeaten on 87, his highest first class score at Trent Bridge, while his captain Westley was 70 not out at the close. Cook brought up his second fifty of the match, which came from 130 balls, with a cover drive boundary off Liam Patterson-White and it's his 122nd First class century.

He gave Nottinghamshire three chances: On 15 he  top edged Dane  Paterson from a   ball that big on him but   Calvin Harrison at second slip could only parry it and Cook got a single. Then on  29 Cook  played back to Patterson-White and  survived a strong leg before appeal.  Without adding to his score he edged a drive and Steven Mullaney at slip could only parry the ball.

Westley  nudged Harrison off his legs for three  to fine leg to bring up his second 50 of the match from 102 balls.  A clip off his legs by Westley off Lyndon James took Essex into the lead.  By this time both the batters and fielders body language gave the impression that they thought that the pitch was too good and  Rhett Hutton escorted an off drive by Cook off Harrison to the long off boundary.

It took Essex the morning session to take the remaining five Nottinghamshire first innings wickets.  Trailing by 144 Nick Browne and Cook defied the Nottinghamshire bowlers for 98 minutes laying  the foundations before James got his first wicket of the match when  he angled one in at Brown who was  leg before on his front pad.

Matthew Montgomery was ninth out when he reversed swept leg spinner  Matt Critchley and was hit on the pads and Umpire Tom Lungley adjudged him leg before.  Montgomery was one short of equalling his best score for Nottinghamshire of 178 made last against Durham at Trent Bridge.  His mammoth innings lasted 470 minutes

Yet again Essex gave him a life, on 155 he clipped Doug Bracewell to. Simon  Harmer at short mid wicket who dropped the one handed left handed chance. Earlier he  effortlessly eased Shane Snater to the square leg boundary to take him into the 140’s.

Nottinghamshire started the day with 11 overs to get more batting points, in the 110th over Montgomery pushed Jamie Porter to mid on for a single but Snater  attempted  to stop the single but took his eye of the ball and allowed Montgomery and Patterson-White to run two and get their third batting point.

Montgomery said: “I was  very pleased with my innings but yesterday I was happy to get through to lunch.  Last night I found batting hard under the lights.  I think the pitch is getting slower and flatter.

Essex had a good afternoon but I feel that we are still in a good position and if we can get a couple of breakthrough’s we can chase a target down.Today has been the best day for batting.”

Two overs later Patterson-White tried to cut Porter but it was too close to him and edged it to Harmer at second slip who took an instinctive catch.  On his Championship debut Harrison gave a good account of himself hitting seven fours in his  31 out a partnership of 46 with Montgomery until Bracewell pegged back his off. and middle stumps

Hutton slog swept Harmer over the longest boundary on the ground for a six but the off got his revenge when Hutton chipped him off his back foot to Snater at mid on.  Paterson tried to hit Critchley out of the ground but found Westley on the long on boundary.

Critchley who took three. Wickets said: “I burglared a couple today after the hard work of the other bowlers. It was nice to contribute and pretty pleasing to get the wickets.  Cook batted unbelievably and showed his class.  We’ll talk tonight about what we’re going to do tomorrow but the pitch is taking spin. It’s  been a good cricket wicket, if you bowl well on it you’ll take wickets and if you bat well you’ll score runs. A small chase on that pitch  might suit us.  We’ve missed a few chances but we pride ourselves on not getting too carried away.”

Day 4

ESSEX rolled the dice to get a victory to propel them up the  Division one table before the break for the Vitality blast but  they were only able to take four Nottinghamshire wickets.

The visitors declared their second innings on 362 setting Nottinghamshire 219 to win in 39 overs. Nottinghamshire lost both openers before the fifth  over to Sam Cook.  Haseeb Hameed nibbled at him and Adam  Rossington took a comfortable catch. Four overs later Cook nearly cut Ben Slater in half and played on.

Nottinghamshire lost their third wicket when Matthew Montgomery walked across his stumps to Simon Harmer, who was turning the ball, and was leg before as the ball turned into him.  Harmer bowled with four men round the bat, a silt mid off and short mid wicket, in all he had seven on the legside. He got his second wicket when he clipped Lyndon  James’ off bail.

Essex captain Tom Westley said: “It was a fair result, Nottinghamshire played fantastically well, if only we had a few more runs in the first innings because the pitch was starting to take spin.  It was a good cricket pitch with the seamers taking wickets and then the spinners coming into it later.   We’ll take confidence from this match, but we have played some good cricket so far but we’ve been hammered by the weather.”

Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney said: “It was a great game with two equally matched teams and it was a fair result.  We controlled the game without dominating it. I thought  Montgomery took his chance and he  was unbelievable.

The first session this morning was vitally important. If we didn’t control it the match could have gone away from us.  We thought that we would see where we’re after 20 overs but the pitch was turning. We had to get a good start against the new ball.

Essex resumed on the final day with a lead of 55 and by the end of the morning session they only added 59 in 29 overs so they had set their stall out to bat Nottinghamshire out of the game. Shane Snater smashed his first two balls for two sixes over mid wicket. Slater caught the first one but stood on the rope.  Snater had three more big swings, missed all of them and  the last which  bowled him. The declaration came at tea.

The spectators came in the hope or expectation of seeing Sir Alastair Cook’s first century at Trent Bridge. Cook still hasn’t scored a First class century at Trent Bridge as he fell one short.  He tried to run James down to third man but it was too close to him and he top edged it to stumper Joe Clarke adding 12 to his overnight score.  In James’ previous over  Cook  played and missed so maybe the nerves got to him.  With Westley they added 157 in 50 overs for the third wicket. Cook walked back to the pavilion to a standing ovation.

Westley,who became the Championship leading run scorer, also looked odds on to get a century but he fell short.  Three overs before lunch he  got squared up by  Stuart Broad who  found the outside edge and Clarke again took the catch. 

Dan Lawrence clubbed Liam Patterson-White to the cover boundary to bring up the 50 partnership with Matt Critchley.  Two balls later  he lofted Patterson-White over mid wicket and just out of the reach of Slater.  He reached his fifty with a single  off the next ball.  But he only added another two before he missed a straight ball from Mullaney and was plumb leg before.

James got his third wicket when he bowled Critchley through the gate with one that came at him. Critchley made 20 out of 56 in 16 overs.  Six balls later Calvin Harrison got his first Championship wicket when Rossington chipped him a gentle return catch.  Harrison got his second wicket when Doug Bracewell tamely lobed him to Mullaney at short mid wicket.


May 19, 2023 4:42 pm

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