Notts Crumble To Essex In Opener

Nottinghamshire 293 & 80 v Essex 253 & 374/9 dec (County Championship Division One)


*four day match Essex win by 254 runs

For many a fan of the red ball game, the start of the County Championship summer season brings joy and optimism of those who’ve missed their cricket fix since September the previous year and despite a wet start to the first day proceedings, optimistic, was how Friday largely began and ended, as Nottinghamshire put Essex into bat to have a look at them, last season’s Division One runners up without the now retired legend Alastair Cook, but with South African opener Dean Elgar in hot form, they soon started to put some runs on the board, but a resilient bowling attack had Notts tame their visitors to 253 all out, Elgar notching 80 with a top score 84 from Jordan Cox, Dane Paterson taking 5/49 as the hosts took maximum bowling points.

In response, Notts grabbed themselves a lead in the first innings of forty, Joe Clarke the first centurion of the season with 104 as Jack Haynes got a debut fifty in reaching 77, but a late collapse surrendered full control, Nottinghamshire at one stage 288/6 ending 293 all out with four wickets lost for just five runs which included a Sam Cook hat-trick, he ended with 4/59.

Losing those late wickets might not have mattered too much as by Sunday lunch Essex were 139/5 with a lead of 99 and a chaseable target intact, but a sixth wicket partnership by Matt Critchley and Paul Walter took the tie away, their stand of 140 edging the away side into advantage, that was furthered by stumps as Rossington and Snater took the lead to 289.

By Monday morning under the dark overcast skies of day four, Essex had two wickets remaining and a bit of time, and weather apparently on their side, to swing the bat and add a further 35 on their target which ended, declared mid-morning with a wicket remaining at 374, a lead of 335.

It dangled a carrot for Notts who began with 86 overs of the day to play, under 4 runs an over it was a target gettable, but it soon became apparent that it wouldn’t be got.

Haseeb Hameed started on the front foot, Ben Duckett was cagey, the former Northamptonshire opener first to go for five, stumps out of the ground bowled Porter a ball after his only boundary, Hameed followed on ten, stumps sent everywhere by Cook.

Essex have a new ‘chef’ in town, Alastair maybe their favoured retired son with the bat but a new icon is Sam Cook with the ball, he was electric with pace, bounce, swerve and dip, the Nottinghamshire front end unable to cope, Slater lasting ten balls for 3 before being Cook’s next culprit.

Joe Clarke and Matthew Montgomery looked to be steadying the ship before Clarke tried chopping on 19 as Snater bowled straight towards the wood, Montgomery was next to a peach by Cook, four of the first five wickets all bowled.

By now, the inevitable became more and more clear as the unconvincing Harrison went lbw on 1 and Hutton without care, for a duck swinging and missing it was all too easy. The tall Pennington proved a slightly trickier object to move as Cook and Porter decided to aim for his chest, rather than the stumps, strangely having got near all their wickets straight on, but it worked, he flicked to Elgar at first slip before Paterson came in, smashed one for six, then got out shortly after.

Cook the star of the show with 6/14 and an England call up this summer is surely guaranteed.

Notts however were woeful after much promise, a game they were very much in until the early wickets of the fourth innings, but the worry is the collapse that sent the green caps on their way, tale between their legs, without a fight in sight, it’ll have to be better against Worcestershire at the weekend, the Pears will be looking to do one over on a few ex-team-mates who jumped ship towards Trent Bridge over the winter, and it won’t be an easy fruit to pick.


*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).

*Main image @TrentBridge Lyndon James in action.

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