Fletcher pleased to see Notts execute game plan against Kent

Luke Fletcher
Luke Fletcher

Luke Fletcher said Nottinghamshire carried their game plan out as they had hoped against Kent.

A fiery burst from James Pattinson set the tone for another day of dominance from Notts as they bundled the visitors out inside two sessions of their Specsavers County Championship match at Trent Bridge.

The unbeaten Division Two leaders maintained their proud record of securing maximum bowling points in every match this season by dismissing the visitors for just 180 in 54 overs.

Fletcher took 2-46 on a day when the home side’s bowling unit all contributed.

He said: “Personally it is nice to get some big players out but as a bowing unit we all stuck together today and everyone chipped in with a few wickets.

“I didn’t mind the pink ball, it was very different to the red ball as it didn’t shine up as much as the red Dukes. It swung throughout the innings, so no real complaints from me at all.

“The way we’ve prepared for this game, I think things have gone as we expected. We’d have taken that as a day after losing the toss, Patto got us off to a great start and all the other bowlers have backed him.

“We were pretty positive and pretty aggressive throughout which is what we wanted to do.”

Pattinson did the early damage, before finishing with 3-30, whilst Steven Mullaney, who enjoyed a fine all-round performance, worked his way through the lower order in claiming 3-2 from just three overs.

The only real defiance from Kent came from opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, who carried his bat for an undefeated 84, having hit 10 fours from the 169 deliveries he faced.

In the final session of the day, played under floodlights, Kent’s bowlers were held at bay by an unbroken partnership of 83 between Mullaney and Alex Hales as Notts closed on 135 for three, only 45 behind.

For the first time this season an opposing captain opted to toss the coin in Nottingham and Kent’s Sam Northeast chose to bat once he’d won it.

Just 5.2 overs later, the wisdom of that decision might have been questioned as Pattinson picked up his third wicket within the space of eight deliveries to leave the visitors on six for three.

The Australian speedster blasted a gaping hole through the Kent top order by removing Sean Dickson and Joe Denly to lbw decisions and then had Sam Northeast taken at second slip. All three batsmen departed without getting off the mark.

Sam Billings, fresh from England duty on Sunday, played a phrenetic knock of 30 from 32 balls before losing his middle stump after playing a loose drive at Luke Fletcher.

Darren Stevens was equally culpable, throwing his hands at the same bowler and nicking behind to Chris Read for 10.

Bell-Drummond reached his fifty in the first over of the second session, getting there from 99 balls with eight fours.

Will Gidman, who left Trent Bridge for Canterbury at the end of last season, twice survived streaky nicks into the slip cordon before being castled by Harry Gurney, who uprooted his former team-mates’ middle stump for 25.

Mullaney needed just three deliveries to add his name to the list of wicket-takers, having Adam Rose caught at slip for 22.

The same bowler then nipped out Matt Coles and New Zealand’s Adam Milne – for a golden duck on debut – leaving Jake Ball to bring the innings to a close with the scalp of Mitch Claydon.

Nottinghamshire’s openers survived for almost 14 overs, in the twilight period, before Stevens struck for the 39th time this season, having Jake Libby caught at slip for 16.

Samit Patel’s fabulous streak of high scores came to an end when he was bowled for just four by Coles. The batsman had arrived at the crease off the back of consecutive double-hundreds and should have gone for nought after being dropped by Denly in the gully.

The bowler, Milne, couldn’t disguise his disappointment, two balls after he’d picked up his maiden wicket in county cricket by having Brendan Taylor caught behind.

Mullaney appeared to be struggling with some ailment and had several visits from the Notts physio on his way to making 50 from 91 balls and reached stumps on 63 not out, with Hales unbeaten on 28.