An unbeaten fourth wicket partnership of 46 between James Taylor and Riki Wessels provided Nottinghamshire with a decent end to the second day of their LV= County Championship Division One game against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge.
With two days remaining of this important relegation battle, Notts lead the visitors by 72 runs with seven second innings wickets remaining.
Having dominated for much of day one, Worcestershire continued to lead the way in the morning session of day two, thanks to Richard Oliver’s 99. The 25-year-old left hander, who passed 50 after tea on Monday, looked well set to post a second Championship century of the summer when he edged Samit Patel to wicket keeper Chris Read.
After lunch, it was an altogether different story, much as it had been on day one. Even without the bowling services of Luke Fletcher (hamstring) and with Andy Carter still nursing the abdominal strain he suffered on Monday evening, Nottinghamshire sent Worcestershire tumbling from 207 for 3 to 283 all out. To compound a bad afternoon for the visitors, Alex Gidman was forced to retire hurt on 13, after being struck on the head by Ben Hilfenhaus.
Under a cloudless sky, Hilfenhaus bowled with purpose throughout and finished with figures of 4 for 67 from 25 overs. Brett Hutton and Patel provided outstanding support, although it was Carter, bowling well within himself, who took the final wicket, off the final ball of the afternoon session.
Tom Fell, who was dropped on 22 before lunch, was the pick of the Worcestershire batsman, between lunch and tea. The 21-year-old struck nine fours on his way to 72 off 148 balls.
Trailing by 43 on first innings, Notts were quickly in trouble when Michael Lumb, who had already been floored by a Charlie Morris delivery in the fifth over, was brilliantly caught by Joe Clarke in front of square, for 12, seven balls later.
Brendan Taylor, who top scored with 69 in the first innings, was next out – lbw to Ed Barnard’s fourth delivery of the innings, at 44 for 2 - and with Alex Hales holing out to Barnard at mid wicket, off the bowling of Joe Leach, at 69 for 3, Notts were, once again, staring down the barrel.
Out of form James Taylor and Wessels provided genuine hope in the final hour despite the former having to bat out the last 10 overs with a runner after pulling up sharply with a hamstring problem.
By the close and with both sides counting the cost of another day of injury trouble, Nottinghamshire had reached 115 for 3 with Taylor not out 20 and Wessels unbeaten on 25.