Nottinghamshire fought back strongly on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Northants at the County Ground.
The visitors reached 384 for eight at stumps, a first innings lead of 124 with Michael Lumb scoring 99, having taken part in two of the three century partnerships posted during the day.
Lumb faced 192 balls and hit 13 fours, before edging Kyle Coetzer to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, the tenth instance of a Nottinghamshire player to fall in the nineties this season. He shared in a stand of 133 with Riki Wessels, who made 71 and 106 with Chris Read, who added 59. After tea Ajmal Shahzad and Luke Fletcher also profited against a tiring attack, putting on 114 for the eighth wicket as Notts enhanced their Championship credentials with a display of great character.
Resuming from their overnight position of 38 for four, still 222 behind, Notts’ produced the perfect response as Lumb and Wessels blunted the home attack during the morning session. The pair combined to create the county’s highest fifth wicket stand of the season, with the only scare coming from the first ball of the day as Wessels nicked Muhammad Azhar Ullah high over the slip cordon for four.
Azhar Ullah eventually broke the stand, bowling Wessels just before lunch with a delivery that nipped back to clip the top of his off stump. The former Northants player had scored an impressive 158 not out when the sides met at Trent Bridge earlier in the season and seemed on course for a repeat as he stroked his way to an elegant 50 from 78 balls, with 10 fours.
Lumb had endured a difficult first half of the season, reaching fifty only once in the LV=CC as he battled against a niggling arm injury. Full fitness and white ball cricket had brought about a return to form for the left-hander, culminating in his 81 at Lord’s on the eve of this match.
Read paced his innings beautifully, accelerating nicely to reach his fifth LV=CC 50 of the season in 114 deliveries, with 5 fours and a huge 6 over widish long on, from the bowling of James Middlebrook.
Notts had gained a narrow lead by the time Read had succumbed to a successful lbw appeal by Andrew Hall but Shahzad and Fletcher weren’t about to let a position of strength go to waste. Both registered their highest scores of the campaign, with Fletcher falling just before the close for 49. The 25-year old was involved in some innocent by-play with Neil Wagner, the New Zealand international on debut for Northants.
After sending a bouncer past the batsman’s ears Wagner went down and had a word with the 6’6” Fletcher whose response was a smile, followed by three consecutive boundaries to leave the bowler nursing figures of nought for 101, following his first day duck.
Shahzad closed on 65 not out and with Andre Adams for company will look to strengthen Nottinghamshire’s position on the third morning.
Head Coach of Northants Cricket, David Ripley summarised the day's play saying, "I thought we came out of the blocks well and put the ball in good areas. We were just looking for that edge. There was a little bit of playing and missing but quality batsmen aren’t going to be phased by that. They kept their patience, got in and then it became difficult for us.”