Nottinghamshire 378 for 7 (Hussey 125, Lumb 107) v Somerset
Most professional sportsman aim to finish their careers on a high but few will beat the achievements of Nottinghamshire's David Hussey in the final few days of his life on the county circuit. Having announced this will be his final season with his adoptive county, it appears to have given him a renewed purpose to leave a legacy at Trent Bridge.
Only days after contributing to Nottinghamshire's YB40 final victory over Glamorgan, their first Lord's final triumph since 1989, Hussey led the revival in their final Championship match of the summer with their future in Division One at stake and ensured they finished the opening day against Somerset, also threatened by relegation, in a dominant position.
Both teams started the final round of matches with a healthy lead over Derbyshire, currently positioned in the final relegation spot, and knowing that a draw with bonus points should be enough to make them safe. It prompted the ECB to send Tony Pigott, the former England fast bowler, to Trent Bridge as a match referee to ensure there was no collusion.
He would quickly have been satisfied with what he saw with Somerset winning the toss in humid and swing-friendly conditions and reducing Nottinghamshire to 76 for 4 when Hussey, now 36, joined Michael Lumb at the crease shortly before noon. They were not separated until mid-way through the final session when Craig Meschede induced an edge behind and Hussey departed to a standing ovation from a healthy crowd after scoring a superb 125, his 23rd first class century for Nottinghamshire in eight seasons.
Their 214-run partnership was a Nottinghamshire record for the fifth wicket against Somerset and was a masterclass from both batsmen on how to combat bowler-friendly conditions. Content to leave as many balls as possible during the early stages, they accelerated as the swing diminished after Lumb contributed only 15 to the first 100 runs they added.
"I felt a bit of responsibility today because you really want to get stuck in," explained Hussey, who plans to play a final season for Victoria before retiring completely from first-class cricket. "It was a bit of a cause today and when we lost the toss and got stuck in on a difficult wicket.
"Michael Lumb and I both wanted to be the role models that showed the younger kids how to play on this sort of wicket. It means a lot to the players to do the hard yards and keep the team up. Being a left, right combination was very helpful and I got quite a few cheap runs off my pads because of that, which was very handy. Michael Lumb stuck to his gameplan and was just sensational."
Both batsmen benefitted from Jamie Overton, Somerset's promising 19-year-old fast bowler, being removed from the attack for excessive short-pitched bowling. He had been warned after bowling a beamer at Hussey before lunch and then effectively ended his shift for the day by bowling two successive short-pitched deliveries, both no-balled by umpire Michael Gough, shortly before tea.
Gough consulted with Nigel Llong, his fellow official, before informing Marcus Trescothick, Somerset's captain, of their decision. Trescothick's anger at his young fast bowler was evident in the aggressive manner in which he returned his cap, throwing it in Overton's general direction for him to pick up while Lewis Gregory finished the over.
Denied the pace and bounce generated by Overton, who stands at six foot five inches, Somerset looked toothless and tired during the afternoon session and allowed both Hussey and Lumb to accelerate and add 133 in 35 overs. Their perseverance was rewarded, however, during the final session when they claimed three late wickets.
Hussey had already been dropped down the leg-side off Alfonso Thomas on 118, with wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter missing the sharp chance, but added only six more runs before giving a more conventional catch. Lumb departed 10 overs later for 107, apparently unhappy at being given lbw to Gregory just as Nottinghamshire increased their scoring rate as they chased maximum batting bonus points.
Chris Read, Nottinghamshire's captain, fell only 12 balls before the close after also edging Meschede behind trying to cut, having taken his side to within 22 points of their fifth batting point, and a step nearer preserving their Division One status for next summer.