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John Ward at Trent Bridge
July 23, 2008
Nottinghamshire 213 and 146 for 2 (Wagh 56*) lead Yorkshire 161 (Shreck 5-58) by 198 runs
Grim batting characterised Nottinghamshire's determined efforts to build a match-winning total against Yorkshire. Bilal Shafayat and Mark Wagh both dropped anchor. on a pitch they couldn't quite trust, for dogged fifties as the home team batted again after leading by 52. Until then, swing bowling again had played a significant part.
Early on, the only real question appeared to be whether Yorkshire were capable of reaching three figures, so clueless were they against the morning swing. Their own bowlers had been able to do little with the conditions yesterday, and they were indeed fortunate that Darren Pattinson was not playing and in his regular county form. As it was, Charlie Shreck cut his run-up and pace, finding prodigious swing at times, and the visitors' lower order were for the most part totally out of their depth.
Matthew Hoggard (1) was the first to go, caught at third slip off Andre Adams, who was also finding movement, and his single was the only run for 18 minutes before Adil Rashid hit Adams for four to midwicket. Gerard Brophy, Hoggard's overnight partner, took more than half an hour altogether to open his account but, despite their care, neither of these batsmen thrived, both falling lbw to Shreck just short of double figures.
As time went on, the ball swung a little less, though Mark Ealham was still able to get some sharp movement. Rana Naved slapped an uppish drive to the cover boundary to take the score past 100, to the relief of his team; he managed two similar bold strokes in succession off Shreck in the next over before being bowled through the gate by another big winger for 18. His partnership of 20 with the solid Tim Bresnan was at this point the second-best of the innings.
Bresnan was in fact streets ahead of his team-mates and remains capable of becoming a genuine all-rounder. He rarely appeared in trouble, though he played himself in with great care, and he found good support from last man Deon Kruis, with whom he batted up to lunch. So capable did Bresnan look that even when he was scarcely into double figures, Notts succumbed to the modern stupidity of putting seven fielders on the boundary to gift him singles in an effort to get at Kruis, instead of actually trying to get him out.
The pair was still together at lunch, however, with their stand now worth 46, though with the first ball afterwards Ealham deceived Bresnan (32) with another swinging ball and trapped him lbw. Kruis was unbeaten with a noble 17, and Yorkshire's deficit was 52: quite sizable in the context of the match, but considerably less than had seemed likely. Shreck took 5 for 58, the underused Ealham 3 for 17.
The afternoon session was rather tedious, as the home side treated it as a war of attrition as they attempted to build an unassailable lead. The Yorkshire bowlers found some swing and there were frequent appeals, one of which found Matt Wood eventually lbw to Hoggard for 14. There was some criticism of Hoggard's omission from the Headingley Test team, but on recent evidence Hoggard is doing an adequate job in county cricket, but is not in Test-match form yet. He may well come again and should never be written off.
Shafayat, a makeshift opener replacing Will Jefferson - dropped, but finding some form with 74 for the seconds today - played laboriously but determinedly to hold the fort. He opened out somewhat after tea, snicking Bresnan for four past slip to reach 50 off 125 balls. The team 100 came up in the 43rd over. Shafayat eventually fell for 62, in unusual fashion: he straight-drove Hoggard powerfully, the bowler could only parry the chest-high hit, but Naved, racing over from mid-on, managed to take a fine diving catch behind the umpire. The stand realized 103, and soon afterwards Hoggard left the field with an injured hand.
Wagh took nearly 100 minutes to move from 27 at tea to his 50, which took him 122 balls. Towards the close the scoring rate picked up and the home side finished the day with a clear advantage. Most unusually, the two sides had completed their 96 overs for the day by 6pm, so no extra time was required.
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