Nottinghamshire 355 (Moores 106, Mullaney 50) lead Yorkshire 264 by 91 runs
Even on a dull, faintly sultry morning with summer momentarily elsewhere Trent Bridge exerts a rare magic. Many have noticed this but few have ceased to treasure it. And thus it was again at eleven o’clock on the second day of this game as Steve Patterson ran in and bowled to Ben Duckett. The stands may have been deserted in two respects – one thought of New Mexico’s white sand dunes – but the cricket was properly contested and we realised afresh that Nottinghamshire’s home remains resolutely a ground rather than a stadium.
Yet to watch cricket at Trent Bridge unaccompanied by the candid denizens on the top deck of the Radcliffe Road Stand is to miss much of the rich fun. We are all grateful for the Bob Willis Trophy but these matches still occasionally have the air of ghost games, even if the runs and wickets are real enough. Not that this passing impression marred the joy of Nottinghamshire’s players and staff a few minutes before the close when they applauded Tom Moores, whose century has been largely responsible for his side’s strong position in this match. Moores batted for exactly three hours to make the second century of his career, initially in a cautious fashion with Peter Trego but with increasing freedom during a 99-run seventh-wicket stand with Samit Patel. Then, once the ninth wicket had fallen, Moores let rip completely in a madcap last hour of play.
Dawid Malan, whose occasional legspin had taken two wickets, was reverse swept for one six and Duanne Olivier was pulled for another. Matthew Carter offered stout support in a canny last-wicket thrash which produced 61 runs and has built a 91-run lead which may well be a match-winning advantage. Although Moores was bowled by Patterson for a career-best 106 just on the close it will take a substantial effort by Yorkshire’s batsmen to get something from this match. The Trent Bridge regulars would have adored it but they have had to make do with the live stream. Never mind. Two months ago we thought we might have nowt.
Professional cricketers must perform regardless of their environment, of course, yet they rightly relish venues where cricket is clearly the beating heart of matters rather an accessory to some corporate funfair. Debutant Dominic Leech will certainly remember Trent Bridge, for it was here, at ten minutes past noon, that he took his first wicket for Yorkshire with only his 11th delivery when Haseeb Hameed looked to turn the ball to leg but only succeeded in edging it to Adam Lyth. That was the second wicket taken by the visitors in the morning session; Lyth had pouched Duckett off Olivier in the ninth full over of the day. But the removal of Hameed may become more of a priority if he continues to rediscover the composure that informed his play a few years ago.
Released by Lancashire last September – and his last months at Emirates Old Trafford seem ever more like an incarceration – Hameed hit Olivier for three fine fours in the day’s opening skirmishes and has now made 141 runs in three competitive innings for his new county. It is a decent start yet his innings was only of limited value in helping Nottinghamshire reply to Yorkshire’s 264. The first principal contributor to that collective effort was the captain Steven Mullaney, whose half-century was almost bisected by luncheon.
In the over before the interval Mullaney pulled Olivier for the day’s first six. On the resumption the Nottinghamshire skipper extended his partnership with Joe Clarke to a promising 60 before dropping the ball in front of square on the off side and calling his partner for a single. However, Jordan Thompson made excellent ground from backward point and threw down the wicket with Clarke well short of his ground. Thompson, the gazelle, as one imagines few people have said before. The Yorkshire allrounder is a solidly-built fellow and his athleticism was a shade surprising.
That dismissal was typical of a day on which Nottinghamshire’s top order became well-set but then lost their wickets when attempting to achieve dominance. Mullaney reached his fifty off 79 balls but was almost immediately leg before wicket to Lyth when trying to sweep a ball that was both too short and too straight for the stroke. Trego hit the ball as hard as ever but then drove Olivier to Harry Brook in the gully when on 39.
Patterson and Olivier, the frontline Yorkshire seamers, bowled well on a pitch ill-suited to their skills. Jonny Tattersall polished the ball with such vigour one might have thought he had borrowed the moves from a Harrogate dance floor: Strictly Come Shining perhaps, or was that the sequel Stanley Kubrick never made? Nevertheless, the visitors will probably regret going into this game without an in-form, frontline spinner. Lyth tweaked his way towards 1 for 52 in 13 overs and Malan bowled even better but poor Jack Shutt lost his line completely and conceded 49 runs in eight overs. Even the sternest Notts loyalist from Cuckney or Caythorpe would have pitied the 23-year-old and Yorkshire’s staff will need to support him in the coming days.