It is difficult to pinpoint where Nottinghamshire go wrong in first-class cricket.
It isn’t for lack of trying; they have some highly talented players with bat and ball. They have a former England coach in Peter Moores, who has guided two sides to the County Championship. They were on top for the first two sessions of their current game against Durham at Trent Bridge. At the end of day two, they trail Durham by 165 runs as when the teams left the field for bad light.
At 196 for seven, Durham were on the ropes. Nottinghamshire’s bowlers were making life difficult for the batsmen that tried their luck. The new ball came and went.
When play resumed 15 minutes later due to earlier rain, Durham were 241 for seven. Brydon Carse and Ben Raine were helped by some loose bowling from Notts, who lost some of yesterday’s rhythm and 2.3 overs in Jake Ball, who hobbled off the pitch with a sore back.
Luke Fletcher replaced Ball mid-over and found some control, and soon after, Brett Hutton had his first wicket of the match; Carson was playing down the wrong line. Raine was then ably supported by Matt Salisbury and Chris Rushworth, who would play a significant role with the ball.
Durham added 134 runs for the last three wickets, Rushworth and Raine helping themselves to 59 runs for the last wicket.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Durham, who lasted most of the morning session before requiring Ben Slater to see out a nervy over before lunch.
Durham’s bowlers learnt from the home team’s bowlers’ mistakes in the field and bowled tight lines and lengths. Rushworth was miserly at the Radcliffe Road End and that allowed Salisbury to run in from the Pavillion End.
The Notts batting didn’t help itself, getting caught on the crease far too often and Durham made it pay. In no time, Notts were 26 for three. Slater was the first to go with a tentative edge behind to Stuart Poynter behind the stumps. It was the first of three wickets for just 19 runs in a spell of six overs from Salisbury, who ran in with purpose.
Haseeb Hameed played around a good delivery from Salisbury, and it did enough to clip the top of off stump. Next ball Joe Clarke prodded at a delivery that he could and should have left.
The only Notts batsman unusually to get out to a shot with any intent was Lyndon James, who saw his attempted pull from Carse fly straight up in the air and Poynter sprinted in front of the stumps to take a diving catch at the feet of his bowler.
It left Notts 85 for six; the follow-on looked a real possibility with Notts fast running out of recognised batsmen and unsure if Ball would be fit to bat. Tom Moores and Liam Patterson-White ensured that would not happen with a partnership of 56 before Poynter was called upon to take his fifth catch of the innings and give Rushworth his second wicket of the day.
Durham look in an excellent position to turn the screw on the third day and ensure they win their first red-ball game since September 2019 at Lord’s.