Chris Read played a captain’s innings at Trent Bridge to set up nicely the final day of Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship Division One game against Worcestershire.
After two days of contrasting fortunes for both sides, Nottinghamshire dominated the penultimate day thanks to Read’s responsible innings of 73 off 122 balls. He batted four minutes short of three hours as Notts set Worcestershire 324 to win, in three sessions and five overs. By the close the visitors were 13 for 0.
Notts, who led by 72 runs overnight, batted with a degree of comfort for much of the day as Worcestershire’s five-man bowling attack toiled in temperatures that soared into the mid 30s.
James Taylor, batting with a runner due to a hamstring injury, and Riki Wessels, added 105 for the fourth wicket before the latter was brilliantly caught by Joe Clarke at deep point, for 55. Then, with Taylor having posted his half century, from 133 balls, runner Alex Hales failed to make his ground when attempting a third run, at 201 for 5. Taylor could barely believe his misfortune and left with Hales trailing in his wake.
It was not until lunch had been digested that Notts and Read in particular, turned the screw. Having seen Samit Patel become Saeed Ajmal’s single victim of the day – trapped lbw for 31, off 69 balls – Read and Brett Hutton batted with due care and attention on a wicket that was improving by the hour.
Read, who passed 50 off 82 balls, played the leading role with Hutton chipping in nicely with 34 in a seventh wicket partnership of 93. The 22-year-old Yorkshireman, who had bowled well the previous day, in the absence of Carl Fletcher and for long periods, Andy Carter, struck three boundaries during an innings that lasted 101 balls and exactly two hours.
Hutton became Jack Shantry’s second wicket of the innings at 327 for 4 and then, five runs later, the left-armer deservedly picked up a third when Read, in attempting a lavish pull shot, chopped on to his own off stump.
Ben Hilfenhaus departed at 341 for 9, to once again reward Shantry, and when Fletcher played on, Shantry finished with figures of 5 for 48.
Although Richard Oliver was dropped on 10 by Patel off Hilfenhaus, Worcestershire survived the final five overs of the day to leave themselves needing a further 311 to win on day four.