Night watch lasts nearly 90 minutes and scores his second 50 of the match (batted at #11 in the 1st innings) and your spinner goes for eight an over, you know you’re in trouble!
And Middlesex are!
Nottinghamshire reach 113/3 at lunch on day 3 at the Home – a lead of 333 – with Fletcher (the said night watch) scoring at pace with Duckett in support for a swift 20-odd and demolishing Hollman’s spin in the process with sweeps, ramps and switch hitting.
Fletcher highlighting his innings with a 6 into one of the openings in the Grandstand – quite a feat of accuracy.
The strategy is clear – score quickly but not so madly as to collapse – and reach a lead of 400/450 by tea and then run through the Middle. Based on their first innings, Middlesex will do well to reach the current lead but rain is forecast for sometime tomorrow so Nottinghamshire need to balance their plans accordingly.
Wheels come off and the afternoon session brings 182 runs for the loss of two wickets. Mullaney raced to 100no before declaring at 295/5 and a lead of 515. Clarke deprived of his century being stranded on 68. Mullaney’s century off 55 balls was punctuated with eight 6s.
However it must be stated – and somewhat churlish of me given I’m surrounded by Notts supporters – that the pitch is so flat and brilliant for batting, the boundary on the Grandstand side very short and the less said about the Middle’s bowling the better.
But you can only play in the conditions and opponents given to you.
Middlesex now need to bat for four sessions – and a minimum of 127 overs – or score 516 to win. Given they lasted less than two sessions in the first innings, the auguries are not promising.
Innings starts with a second ball dismissal (Stoneman) and swiftly followed by de Caires (b Fletcher) for another 🦆 and you still need another 516 or to bat for loads of overs, things look grim.
By the close, after the pace of the innings has slowly moved from a stop to a crawl, the pressure of the scoreboard begins to tell and one more trudges back to the Pavilion. At 69/3 there’s only one way this is going!
When you…add all that up, you just know it’s not going to be your day/session/match!
But what you can enjoy is the skill on display…and here’s a few photos to ponder.