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George Dobell at Trent Bridge
April 22, 2012
Nottinghamshire 162 (Read 104*, Trego 5-53) and 169 for 4 drew with Somerset 445 for 2 (Compton 204*)
Mick Newell admitted Nottinghamshire had been "pretty hopeless" after the rain came to their rescue against Somerset.
Newell, the Nottinghamshire director of cricket, described his side as "a shambles" in the match and conceded that they had endured "a very, very poor four days." But the rain that curtailed the first three days of this game returned to cut another 40 overs from the final day and a Somerset side weakened by injuries was unable to press home their advantage.
Somerset, coming into this game without seamers Vernon Philander, Gemaal Hussain, Adam Dibble and Alfonso Thomas were also forced to do without Steve Kirby, who was kept off the field with a "quad strain" on the final day. He is optimistic of being fit for this week's championship match against Lancashire.
In his absence, Peter Trego was obliged to carry the attack and, well as he bowled, he lacked the support that might have created more pressure. Neil Edwards, paying the price for a lack of foot movement, was caught behind by a beauty angled across him, before Alex Hales edged another waft and Michael Lumb was bowled out of the foot holes by the remarkably mature George Dockrell.
Nottinghamshire also demonstrated more resilience on the final day. James Taylor, in particular, played much straighter, left the ball well and displayed enough pleasing cuts, drives and pulls to show why he is so highly rated. The way he tore between the wickets, even with the match ebbing to a draw, showed an admirable greed for runs. And greed really isn't such a bad quality in a batsman. This was his highest championship contribution for Nottinghamshire but there are surely be brighter days ahead.
Newell agreed the move Trent Bridge was "make or break" for the career of Taylor, 22, who picked Nottinghamshire ahead of a host of other clubs when he left Leicestershire at the end of last season. He faces a stern examination of his technique on the seam-friendly pitches of Trent Bridge and against the better Division One attacks.
"He'll play for England," Newell said. "It might take him a little while but he'll benefit from playing here. England wanted to see him tested against Division One attacks and he has already commented on the different quality bowling attacks in division one. He has the mentality to conquer those challenges. We won't put any pressure on him. I just want him to be the best player he can be."
Newell was less effusive in praise of Samit Patel. After a first innings dismissal, reaching for a lavish drive outside off stump, Patel fell in the second innings playing across a straight ball. Neither were the shots of a man with a strong case to bat at No. 6 in the Test team this summer. "If Samit is going to play for England he will need to be batting at six in a three man seam attack and playing as a batsman," said Newell. "At the moment he is a long way from that. You can't drive away from your body and you can't throw your hands at the ball at Trent Bridge in April. That was a galling dismissal.
"The weather has done us a massive favour," Newell said, as he reflected on the fact that his team are now - along with Worcestershire - one of only two top division clubs who have yet to pick up a batting bonus point this season. "We are going to lose matches if we don't make decent first-innings scores and Hales, Patel and Taylor were all out to poor shots. And I told them that.
"A first innings score of 160 was a pretty poor return and we didn't look threatening with the ball. That's a worry."
Somerset, not for the first time in recent years, had to be content with narrowly missing out on their goal. But bearing in mind their injury situation they can take a great deal of pride from the game. They were superior in all departments and, for the second week in a row, were denied victory by a slim margin. If they keep playing such fine cricket then, sooner or later, their luck will surely turn.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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