<
>

Injury-hit Northants suffer under Wessels assault

Nottinghamshire 213 (Wessels 69, Mullaney 58, Azharullah 5-63, Gleeson 4-38) and 317 for 8 (Wessels 107*, Patel 64) lead Northamptonshire 141 (Cobb 46*, Hutton 3-25, Wood 3-35) by 389 runs

A scintillating century from Riki Wessels has put Nottinghamshire in total command at the halfway stage of their Specsavers County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.

Fading light forced the players from the field before tea, with 37 overs remaining in the day, with Notts on 317 for 8 in their second innings, an overall lead of 389.

Wessels remains unbeaten on 107, having reached his hundred from 77 balls, with 14 fours and three sixes. The former Northants man raced from 50 to 100 in only 21 deliveries and has shared in an unbroken ninth wicket partnership of 90 with Jake Ball, whose contribution is 10.

Rory Kleinveldt (3-81) and Richard Gleeson (3-107) have each taken three wickets to try and keep Northants in the contest but Wessels' knock, the 22nd century of his career, finally appeared to knock the stuffing out of a side that were handicapped, for varying times, by the absence of three key players.

Samit Patel made 64 from 59 balls, setting the platform for Wessels' brutal assault.

After 20 wickets fell for 373 runs on the opening day it took just 13 deliveries of the morning session before that tally was increased, with Jake Libby edging Azharullah to third slip.

Steven Mullaney became the first of three Notts batsmen to lose their off-poles to Kleinveldt, with Patel and Alex Hales also joining the list.

Patel batted with the utmost freedom, reaching his 50 from only 42 balls before playing loosely, around a full-pitched delivery. Hales also seemed in the mood, caressing five boundaries in his 22-ball 25 before also having his stumps re-arranged by the South African all-rounder.

Indian Test star Cheteshwar Pujara batted doggedly for 162 minutes in making 34, before being pinned in his crease, to fall to Azharullah for the second day running.

Northamptonshire's hopes of strengthening their position - and rekindling their promotion hopes - were damaged by a succession of unfortunate injuries, with captain Alex Wakeley and wicketkeeper Adam Rossington having to leave the action and go to hospital for x-rays on hand injuries - David Murphy took the gloves and picked up a catch, despite being given a torrid time as some uneven bounce began to show.

Their resources were stretched even further when Ben Sanderson hobbled off the field with hamstring trouble after bowling five deliveries in a comeback spell. Gleeson picked up the wickets of Chris Read, Brett Hutton and Luke Wood in the mid-afternoon gloom but that only fired Wessels up to produce another blitz against his former county.

He scored 158 against them at Trent Bridge in 2014, their last championship visit, and made 146 in their one-day meeting in Nottingham last year. This time he had the satisfaction of passing 10,000 career runs early on, before launching an all-out assault on the tiring attack.

He celebrated his third championship hundred of the season by clubbing the next ball from Kleinveldt for his fourth maximum, seconds before the umpires intervened and called an early halt to proceedings.