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Jon Culley at Trent Bridge
July 29, 2012
Sussex 171 and 146 for 0 (Joyce 63*, Nash 79*) trail Nottinghamshire 520 for 4 dec (Lumb 171, Taylor 163*) by 203 runs
It is not the same kind of mental strength he will need if he is asked to face Dale Steyn and company at Headingley but James Taylor passed one test of temperament at the first time of asking after trotting down the pavilion steps on Sunday morning.
In between walking off at 106 not out on Saturday and attempting to pick up where he had left off he had a lot to be excited about: a first Championship century as a Nottinghamshire batsman, then a phone call telling him he was the man nominated to replace Ravi Bopara in the 13 for the second Test. He would not have slept especially well. Yet there was not a hint of distraction in his approach to the job in hand, which was specifically to bat Sussex out of the game.
And inasmuch as he was still batting when Chris Read decided a lead of 349 was enough for his bowlers to be let loose on Sussex for a second time he fulfilled the task. He was 163 not out, having added 57 off 63 balls to his overnight score with no chances offered.
How many more chances he will have to score centuries in his Nottinghamshire shirt remains to be seen. Stuart Broad, the county's last major recruit from Leicestershire, has played in only 11 Championship matches in five seasons since arriving at Trent Bridge, never more than three in one season. If Taylor is as successful as Broad has been since England called on him for the first time he will become a similarly occasional participant. At least Taylor has played 10 times already and, furthermore, as a batsman, he should need fewer rests.
Taylor and Voges added 77 to the overnight total in little more than an hour, leaving their partnership unbroken at 148 and heralding a day in which, rarely this summer - apart from when there has been no play at all - no wickets fell. It was not a day without interruption as a band of showers swept through during the afternoon but 70 overs were bowled, at the end of which Nottinghamshire were left to contemplate how they might bowl Sussex out in three sessions, rather than five and a half.
Sussex might not be the threat to Nottinghamshire's title aspirations that Warwickshire clearly are but they have a strong record at Trent Bridge, winning three of their last four first-class matches here, and in Chris Nash and Ed Joyce, who have become a solid opening partnership, two batsmen who have prospered against them individually.
Nash finished on 79 from 160 balls. He had scored 57 or higher in seven of his last 10 Championship innings against Nottinghamshire and twice gone on to score a century, including 128 at Hove earlier this season. Joyce, meanwhile, might draw encouragement from recalling that the two highest scores of his career have been against Nottinghamshire - 192 for Middlesex in 2005, 183 for Sussex in 2009.
On a pitch that behaved as benignly as it has for Taylor and Michael Lumb on day two, and with no spinner to give the ball a particular rip, they had things largely their own way. Samit Patel is a decent slow left-arm bowler who gives little away but he does not turn the ball hugely.
Even Andre Adams, the leading wicket-taker in the country with 52, could not interrupt their progress and Harry Gurney, in particular, took some punishment at the hands of Nash, whose drives were timed superbly and went for seven of Nash's 14 boundaries.
Intriguingly, Nottinghamshire finished the day level on points with Warwickshire, both needing to take 10 wickets on the final day.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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