Vitality County Championship – Day One – Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire

Vitality County Championship – Day One – Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire

There would always be talking points in the game at Trent Bridge between Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire. Some of that was about the pulling power of teams at Test match venues, and there were matters about the cricket. The early season use of the Kookaburra ball over the more favoured Dukes ball  and Nottinghamshire’s use of the same pitch they used last weekend in their opening fixture against Essex. Nottinghamshire naming two spinners in their playing XI in April seemed unimaginable. 

A Joe Clarke century, a former Worcestershire player, helped Nottinghamshire to a position where they could claim to be on top. Notts were in trouble at 34/2 when Ben Duckett (9) chased a wide delivery and was caught behind by Gareth Roderick off the bowling of the impressive Nathan Smith. The New Zealander bowled superbly with the new ball and also accounted for the first wicket of the day when Haseeb Hameed (11) was bowled comprehensively. Ben Slater (70), who had watched the drama unfold at the other end, rarely looked troubled and added 133 for the third wicket with Clarke. Notts were 83/2 at lunch and it was early in the afternoon that Clarke sprang into action, moving from swiftly to 50 after a more cautious approach earlier in the day. Josh Baker, the left-arm spinner, bore some of the brunt of Clarke’s counterattack. Two of Clarke’s three sixes were deposited from the young spinner’s bowling. Clake had gone into the first interval on 16 not out from 61 balls. 28 balls later, he was holding his bat aloft while celebrating his half-century. In that short burst, Clarke hit five fours and two sixes. 

Baker eventually got his revenge and keeper Roderick caught Clarke behind for 105. There was every chance at 236/6 that Notts would allow the visitors to end the day on top. It was left to the two young Notts allrounders Lyndon James (39) and Calvin Harrison (25) to steady the innings and to take the Notts total over 300 by the close of play. The pair added an unbeaten stand of 67 for the seventh wicket. 

28 overs of spin were bowled on the first day, 24 of them from Baker, and with three more days to play, it feels like the spinners could change the course of this game. The bounce was good on a pitch that had already been played on in the last seven days, which would suggest it will deteriorate at some point, and with Notts winning the toss, it could be their spin attack that turns the tide. 


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