Three years after taking 61 wickets to help Lancashire win the Championship in his last full season, the veteran spinner Gary Keedy may have kept Nottinghamshire’s title ambitions alive today as he proved that the skills he has been refining since he took his first wicket in 1995 are still fully intact on day two of this game.
The 39-year-old left-armer, making his first appearance for Nottinghamshire after leaving Surrey for Trent Bridge during the winter, principally to develop his career as a physio-therapist and spin-bowling coach, has so far taken 4 for 56, having enabled his team, still hoping to unseat Yorkshire at the top of the First Division table, to find a way back into the match after being dismissed for 188.
That represented a sub-par performance from a side rich in batting talent and, having been 66 for 4 overnight, they never properly recovered after Riki Wessels, who passed 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the first time in his career, was undone by a fine ball from Chris Rushworth that squared him up and found the edge, Calum MacLeod taking the catch at gully.
The Durham openers Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings put on 51 in 11 overs against some ordinary bowling with the new ball, but when Keedy entered the fray Stoneman tickled his first delivery into the gloves of wicketkeeper Chris Read, who took a second catch as Jennings made a mess of an attempted sweep to give Keedy a second success four overs later.
Michael Richardson was run out after a mix-up with left-hander Scott Borthwick, who became Keedy’s third victim when he went back to a ball that spun out of the rough and bowled him. Keedy claimed his fourth when John Hastings, also playing back when he might have done better getting forward, was leg before.
Paul Collingwood was typically obdurate with the bat, driven by the goal of dragging Durham clear of the relegation places, and his partnership of 59 with Paul Coughlin for the eighth wicket has extended their lead to 261, but the pitch here tends to flatten out and Nottinghamshire will fancy any target under 300.