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Day 3 Report | Nottinghamshire vs NCCC

Nottinghamshire are closing in on their seventh victory of the season after maintaining the upper hand in their Specsavers County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.

Northants, set to score an unlikely 417 to topple the undefeated Division Two leaders, had reached 167 for four in their second innings, with Rob Newton having made 53.

Earlier, the home side had batted on for around 10 minutes before declaring their own second innings closed on 344 for nine, once Riki Wessels had been dismissed for 116.

Wessels had faced only 88 balls and hit 16 fours and four sixes in scoring his third century of the season. Azharullah claimed his wicket, giving him match figures of eight for 136.

Play eventually got underway at around 1.25pm, after overnight and morning rain had delayed the start.

Resuming on 317 for eight, Wessels and Jake Ball disrupted their plans by crashing away a number of boundaries as their stand passed three figures, a county ninth wicket record against Northants.

The unlucky Keogh saw both Alex Wakely and Richard Gleeson spill steepling offerings to reprieve Wessels before Keogh showed them how to do it, out at deep square leg.

Murphy and Newton were largely untroubled in putting on 69 for the first Northants wicket but the introduction of Samit Patel parted them, with Murphy falling leg before wicket for 30.

Newton had a life on 21 when he was dropped in the slip cordon by Cheteshwar Pujara, off Brett Hutton.

The 27-year old but rode his good fortune to reach his 50 from 109 balls but then ballooned a sharply-lifting delivery from Ball to Hutton at fourth slip. Richard Levi went in the same over, edging behind for four.

Hutton then pulled off another catch, a stunning diving effort, as Harry Gurney found the outside edge of Keogh’s bat, with Northants having slid from 113 for one to 122 for four.

Wakely, with 31, and Josh Cobb, who is unbeaten on 36, steadied the ship with an unbroken stand of 45, made, ironically, in the best conditions of the day. Time was called with a further 250 runs still required, a winning fourth innings figure not achieved at Trent Bridge since 1925.

Rob Newton (Northants, made 53)

“It’s been a tough couple of days with the injuries, particularly. We weren’t in a bad position yesterday when Sando (Ben Sanderson) went down but unfortunately you can only flog your seamers for so long and that really hurt us.

“But I thought we battled really hard tonight and throughout the day, so we’ve put ourselves within an outside chance, especially with a bit of rain. You don’t know. We’re happy to be four down but with the start we had maybe we could have been one better but I think we’d have taken 160 for four.

"We’re not always seen as the toughest in terms of being tough to get out. We play our shots, generally as a side, but once myself and Murph had battled away for the first 60 or 70 that kind of set the tone for everyone else and that was a nice partnership at the end and I thought Wakers played really nicely.”

Jake Ball (Notts)

“We’ve put ourselves in a really good position in that last session. I think we sort of had to be honest with ourselves and say we didn’t bowl as well as we could with the new ball but I think we’ve dragged it back nicely.

“Sometimes when you get on pitches where you know it is going to be doing a bit it can be easy to stick it up there and you go for a couple. But we know the lengths we have to bowl and it’s slightly fuller than you normally want – and then you get driven – but we feel we’ve got enough runs on the board to put them under enough pressure.”

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