Nottinghamshire 551/8 dec v Middlesex 376 & 261/1 (County Championship Division Two)
*four day match drawn
It was the battle of the top two in the second division of the County Championship, and after four days of cricket the sides came out even despite Nottinghamshire being on top for most of the game against Middlesex.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Nottinghamshire had a fantastic first day making 378 for four in 96 overs. The county lost Ben Slater (9) early, before Ben Duckett came in and continued his prolific form with a quick 37 off 39 balls, with seven boundaries.
Hameed, who reached a nice 50 off 89 balls, then put on 105 with Joe Clarke (47), before the latter was caught. Hameed however continued to dominate, and having struck three boundaries in one over, he strode to his 100 off 149 balls with a run off two, two and four off the expensive Tom Helm.
He was bowled in the next over for 101, his second century of the season, having hit 14 fours, but this then brought in skipper Steven Mullaney who proceeded to put on an unbeaten 151 in 41 overs with Lyndon James through to the close. Matching each other almost run for run, James was first to his fifty (his third of the summer) off 81 balls, before Mullaney got to his half-century (his fifth of 2022) a few overs later off 77 deliveries.
Runs came freely, and by stumps James was on 90 off 157 balls (ten fours), and Mullaney had 79 off 122, to his name. The captain was dismissed after facing three balls without adding to his score in the first over of the second day after a late start due to rain.
And after Tom Moores was caught behind with the total passing the 400-mark, spinner Liam Patterson-White showed his all-round prowess with a fine 50 off 73 balls, and added 91 with overnight batsman James for the seventh wicket, before the latter was caught for a magnificent career-best 155 off 249 balls (19 fours and one six).
On 90 at the beginning of the day, James strode to his second first-class hundred with a boundary off Tim Murtagh (169 balls). He continued on his merry way with a four and a six to reach 150 before holing out two overs later. James Pattinson came in and put on some quick runs, smacking a six, four, four and four off consecutive balls as he made an unbeaten 35 off 27 balls (four fours & two sixes), before the county decided to declare on a massive 551 for 8 declared, their highest total at Trent Bridge in seven years.
With Patterson-White he put on 53 in just 7.3 overs for the eighth wicket. Slow bowler Luke Hollman (4-122) was the best of the suffering bowlers, whilst Helm conceded 140 runs in 22 overs.
In reply, Notts got off to a great start with Pattinson trapping Sam Robson leg-before in the fourth over, before Stephen Eskinazi was bowled by Luke Fletcher three overs later. When Jack Davies was leg-before to Dane Paterson for a six-ball duck, the previous leaders of the division were struggling at 37 for 3 in the tenth over.
Opener Mark Stoneman started a recovery with Max Holden before the former went for a well-made 67 with ten fours. A few overs later, with nothing added to the score, Middlesex finished the day on a precarious 106 for 4 with Holden still there on a patient 24 not out.
Patterson-White, who impressed again with one for 16 in nine overs, together with Fletcher, Pattinson, and Paterson, took one wicket apiece.
Middlesex made a better fist of it on the third day with overnight batsman Holden moving patiently to 86 before being caught off part-time bowler Slater, and putting on 142 with wicket-keeper John Simpson, having lost Helm early on without a run added. Simpson showed his promise as an all-rounder with a fine 92 off 184 balls (13 fours & 1 six), and proceeded to add another 73 for the seventh wicket with Hollman, who also impressed with 52, including 11 boundaries.
Martin Andersson (36 off 60), boosted the total even further and when he was the last man dismissed Middlesex had totalled 376 in their first innings, to trail by 175 runs. Pattinson was the best of the bowlers with 4 for 65, whilst Paterson picked up 3-97 to become the county’s top wicket-taker for the season. The Londoners followed-on but safely closed on 63 without loss with Robson on 36 and Stoneman on 16.
It was a completely frustrating final day for the county, as Middlesex batted through 80 overs to lose just one wicket on a benign pitch. Openers Stoneman, who made an unbeaten 109 off 296 balls, and Robson, who was dismissed by part-timer Duckett, in making 108 off 258 balls, put on 201 for the first wicket in 82.2 overs.
Overseas stars Pattinson and Paterson bowled just 16 overs between them as the county resorted to using all 11 players to come on and turn their arm over. With Middlesex on a comfortable 261-1 in their second innings, the game was declared a draw with Notts picking up 15 points and Middlesex 14.
Nottinghamshire still head the Division Two table with 146 points from eight games, with Middlesex still second on 135. The county now entertain Durham on Friday, hoping to continue in their quest to qualify for the next stage of the Vitality Blast twenty20 competition from an impossible position.
Nottinghamshire XI: Slater, Hameed, Duckett, Clarke, James, Mullaney (c), Moores, Patterson-White, Pattinson, Fletcher, Paterson.
Middlesex XI: Stoneman, Robson, Eskinazi, Davies, Holden, Simpson, Hollman, Andersson, Roland-Jones, Helm, Murtagh (c).
Venue: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)
*Main image @TrentBridge Haseeb Hameed scored a first innings century.