Patel keeps marauding Jordan at bay
Nottinghamshire 321 for 8 (Patel 157, Jordan 5-83) v Sussex
It was a day of two opposing stars at Hove, as an imperious 157 from Samit Patel rescued Nottinghamshire from Chris Jordan-induced turmoil, after the Sussex bowler took 5 for 83. This was a rarity, in that both sides will be satisfied with the position of the game at stumps, while also championing one of their own. But Ed Joyce, Sussex's captain, would be irked at not earning a chance to bat, especially after calling correctly and having Nottinghamshire 62 for 4 at lunch.
Coming in with the ball just over 20 overs old, there was still a great deal for Patel to overcome, particularly as Jordan was settling into a rhythm that he did not look like syncing out of. Patel played within himself at the start and, for a moment, it looked like he would fall victim to Jordan at any moment.
But Patel kept at it, first taking runs off Steve Magoffin, before getting the measure of Jordan with 10 runs - a cover drive for four, a tuck of the legs for two and another four in front of point - which took him to 52 in 77 balls. From then on he was at his fluent best - pushing the ball into gaps with the sort of precision that England miss in the 50-over game.
The subject of a viral video no more than a month ago after an aborted run out left him nursing a bruised ego and coccyx, his running between the wickets was masterful. Perhaps brought about by a return to full spikes or improved fitness, he seemingly waltzed his way to 91 before going to three figures with a hop and a skip for six over long on and a slap through cover for four - both off Monty Panesar.
He then upped the rate, eventually hitting Panesar, who spent most of his overs overcorrecting whenever Patel rumbled him, out of the attack. It was only a further 41 balls before he brought up his 150, by which time Ajmal Shahzad proved how capable he could be with the bat, as he timed some nice drives in between some useful pushes to give Patel the strike.
The morning session belonged to Sussex - specifically, Jordan, who had a hand in all of the four wickets to fall before lunch. Fast bowlers shaped like cruiserweight boxers seem to be the new trend, but what strikes you about the great Barbadian hype is how naturally he carries himself.
His run up displays light feet, with a natural action that seems to flow as he's on the way down from his low leap. In his first 10 overs, not one ball seemed to elicit even a grunt, yet each was delivered at the same ferocity - mid-80s mph, they say - in two spells, from both ends, in which he returned figures of 3 for 16.
His athleticism was evident in Sussex' YB40 clash with Warwickshire on Thursday as he took a stunning one-handed catch, diving to his left at wide first slip, and he reinforced his credentials in that position by holding on to a tricky low catch off Steve Magoffin to send Michael Lumb on his way.
But Nottinghamshire regrouped after the loss of Steven Mullaney early in the afternoon session as Patel oversaw a 50-run partnership with Chris Read (18), and 92 with Paul Franks (36) before he took his side past 300 with Ajmal Shahzad by the end of the 89th over.
But when he did fall - caught by Joyce after trying to hook a ball that wasn't quite short enough - he looked rightfully dismayed. It was the only legitimate chance he gave.