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Report

Ben Slater cashes in on dead deck as Nottinghamshire settle for bore-draw

Only one wicket falls all day as Somerset toil in vain at Trent Bridge

Ben Slater pulls the ball away, LV= Insurance County Championship, Somerset vs Nottinghamshire, Taunton, June 25, 2023

Ben Slater pulls the ball away  •  Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 360 and 425 for 2 (Slater 168*, Hameed 91, Young 68*, Stone 63) drew with Somerset 470 (Abell 111, Pretorius 95*, Pennington 5-96)
Nottinghamshire opener Ben Slater turned the 13th hundred of his career into an unbeaten 168 but a lifeless final-day pitch had consigned this Vitality County Championship match to a draw long before that conclusion was reached with an exchange of handshakes at ten minutes to five as the home side declared on 425 for two.
Only one wicket fell in 72 overs on the day, Slater finishing on a score he has bettered only twice in his career, with overseas batter Will Young making 68 not out after Olly Stone had been out for 63 nine overs after lunch, the England fast bowler again showing off his batting skills with a half-century in each innings for the first time in his career.
There was too little in the pitch to encourage much interest for the bowlers, however, and it was hardly surprising that Nottinghamshire showed no interest in setting Somerset a target, given that their prospects of taking 10 wickets were almost non-existent.
The 13 points they take ensure they remain at a comfortable distance from the relegation places in the Division One table; Somerset's 15 keep them third.
After sharing an opening partnership of 172 with Haseeb Hameed that was broken shortly before Tuesday's close, Slater found two more long-term companions in Stone and Young.
Stone ostensibly joined him as nightwatchman with Hameed's demise but is making a strong case to be recognised as a genuine all-rounder.
The 30-year-old England fast bowler had made only one half-century in 47 first-class matches before surprising onlookers with a very good 90 against Lancashire on this ground in May but now has three in his last five innings.
This time he chipped in with 63 to go with his first-innings 83 batting at nine. Not all of his nine boundaries came off the middle of the bat, yet his defence was solid and he had helped Slater add another 136 before Jake Ball, using a belatedly taken second new ball, thudded one into his front pad as he played across the line.
Slater, meanwhile, whose stand with Hameed had been the highest for Nottinghamshire's first wicket since two shared an unbroken 236 against Worcestershire in 2021, was by then into three figures for the first time this season, reaching the century mark with a six and 12 fours, a good proportion of which clunked into the advertising boards on the short Bridgford Road side as the left-hander cut and pulled to profitable effect.
When Stone departed, Nottinghamshire's lead was 198 and, with little in the pitch to excite bowlers of any variety, Somerset could only hope a declaration might keep them in the game.
Yet the docile surface meant that realistically there could be only one winner in such a scenario and there was nothing in the way Slater and Young went about their business to suggest that such a course of action was even being considered.
Meanwhile Slater - dropped on 21 - pushed on past 150 for the third time in his career, having ticked off that milestone from 317 balls with 19 fours to go with the one six. By tea, at 396 for two, the lead was 286 with 37 overs remaining.
New Zealand Test opener Young, whose only noteworthy score in a disappointing season so far was his unbeaten 174 in the drawn match between these sides at Taunton, almost missed out on a half-century, dropped at short midwicket by James Rew, who had handed the wicketkeeper's gloves to Tom Kohler-Cadmore and later became the ninth Somerset player to have a bowl.