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Jon Culley at Trent Bridge
April 8, 2012
Nottinghamshire 118 (Jones 6-32) and 403 (Wessels 113) beat Sussex 130 and 299 (Mitchell 102) by 92 runs
Nottinghamshire expect to have Samit Patel back in their side for their second match of their LV= County Championship season against Durham at Chester-le-Street on Thursday, on a mission to prove he is worthy of keeping his place in the England side as a batsman when the home Test series against West Indies begins on May 17.
Patel made his Test debut in the drawn series in Sri Lanka as a spin-bowling all-rounder but Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, believes he will have to put himself ahead of rivals Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Jonny Bairstow as a specialist batsman if he is to remain involved.
"The challenge for Samit is to prove to England he can play as a specialist batsman at number six," Newell said, after watching his county open their campaign with a 92-run victory over relegation favourites Worcestershire at a drizzly Trent Bridge.
"He will not play for England in England as a spin bowler; he's got to play as a batsman.
"We have been told that Samit is free to play for us in all cricket as soon as he reports back and I think he has to play in the next five Championship games and score some runs if he is to nail that number six spot. I think the selectors will be watching his progress quite closely."
Nottinghamshire needed only an hour or so to take the last four Worcestershire wickets on the fourth morning, having made significant inroads with the new ball on Saturday evening after a 174-run partnership for the third wicket between Daryl Mitchell (102) and Moeen Ali (94) had given their opponents a chance of successfully chasing down a target of 392 to win.
Worcestershire had resumed still needing 134 with only four wickets in hand and lost another to the sixth ball of the opening over when seamer Luke Fletcher, who finished with four wickets in the innings and seven in the match, had Shaaiq Choudhry leg before to one that cut back sharply.
They might have capitulated sooner had Nottinghamshire held on to their catches in the slips. James Cameron, who finished unbeaten on 27, was put down on 11 and 26, and Lucas on six, to chances of varying difficulty, although a greasy ball in drizzly rain did not help the fielders.
It mattered little. Andre Adams (4 for 90) bowled David Lucas off an inside edge and held a low return catch popped back by Richard Jones and when, with rain falling steadily, Fletcher appealed more in hope than expectation for an lbw against Alan Richardson, umpire Robinson dismissed any notion that the ball might have clipped bat before pad and raised the finger.
Given that Nottinghamshire had been bowled out for 118 on the opening day, a victory of any kind would have been taken as a bonus, let alone one by a margin, in the end, that was quite substantial.
"Our first innings batting was woeful and we had to bowl very well but from the end of the first innings onwards we put in a pretty good performance," Newell said.
"The first innings was an early warning for everyone. Four of our top six gave their wickets away with sloppy shots, which was unacceptable.
"You know what to expect here at this stage of the season but some of the younger lads were perhaps a bit excited after playing on flat wickets in Barbados pre-season. We were much more disciplined in our second innings and we bowled pretty well throughout."
Worcestershire captain Mitchell felt his side had played well in parts of the match but that performance with the new ball was critical.
"It is the first week of April and the ball swung and seamed around a lot, particularly on the first day, although it was never a 118 all out pitch or a 130 all out pitch," he said.
"Once a bit of the moisture had come out and you got past 40 overs it was a bit easier. But the new ball was crucial, as we found last night. We bowled well with it first innings, when we swung it big, but I think Richard Jones and Dave Lucas will holds their hands up and say they did not bowl so well in the second.
"There were some positive signs, though. Me and Moeen obviously batted well in the second innings and I don't think it was lost then. If we had scored 180 in the first innings we might have won the game.
"But you live and learn. We missed a few opportunities last year and came back strong."
*Nottinghamshire have confirmed they expect to have England off-spinner Graeme Swann available for matches against Lancashire and Middlesex in the Championship next month and fast bowler Stuart Broad against Middlesex, subject to his fitness after a calf injury and his IPL commitments.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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