Cricket: Proceeding cautiously

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The Independent Online
Notts 200-3 dec and 13-2

Somerset 241

WITH 163 overs, or one-third of this game, already washed away with the rain, the chance of an uncontrived result being reached tomorrow looked an unlikely prospect by close yesterday.

Yet the match progressed as if there was all the time in the world, with the Nottinghamshire batsmen declining to hit out in search of an early declaration and the Somerset bowlers evidently determined not to gift them a single run. When Tim Robinson eventually declared, 41 runs behind, the clock was about to strike six and the chance of an exciting finale on Monday had all but disappeared.

With more intelligent and accurate bowling in the morning session Nottinghamshire might well have seized the initiative. With just 181 runs on the board and only three tail-end wickets left, Somerset's vulnerability should have been more ruthlessly exploited.

As it was, Kevin Evans and Chris Lewis bowled too short and too wide to trouble the batsmen. To be fair, though, Mushtaq Ahmed, who was dropped twice and played and missed more often than he played and hit, would be the first to admit that he was lucky to reach his fifty. Such was Lewis's frustration that after an hour and a half he was on his knees pounding the ground with his fists.

In reply, the left-handers Mark Saxelby and Paul Pollard put on 138 for the first wicket but early on were unable to force the pace against the accuracy and movement of Andrew Caddick and Neil Mallender. Nine short of the century his flawless display deserved, Pollard was eventually stumped off Harvey Trump's off-spin.

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