Worcestershire defied Nottinghamshire's hopes of securing what appeared to be the only realistic route to a positive outcome to this rain-affected contest thanks in no small part to a young all-rounder whose name may be one to remember.
Aneesh Kapil, the England Under-19 player who broke into the first team at New Road as a 17-year-old last season, followed his three wickets in Nottinghamshire's first innings with a stylish 41.
A whippy pace bowler, the Wolverhampton-born right-hander shared a partnership of 39 with James Cameron for the seventh wicket that enabled Worcestershire, who had been 66 for 6 on Friday evening, to pass the target of 94 needed to avoid the follow on before helping Richard Jones add useful late-order runs, restricting Nottinghamshire's lead to 86.
Kapil looks a genuine all-rounder. A product of the New Road academy that has produced Matt Pardoe, Jack Manuel and Neil Pinner for the senior side last season, he made a good impression as part of Worcestershire's Twenty20 side, taking 3 for 9 against Northamptonshire in his third match and marking his first-class debut against Sussex at Horsham with a half-century.
In two hours at the crease yesterday he hit four boundaries, including one sumptuous stroke to the offside boundary off Harry Gurney, before succumbing finally to Andre Adams, consistently Nottinghamshire's most dangerous bowler, who completed his first five-wicket haul of the new season.
Kapil, who will by 19 in August, was bold enough to smack the New Zealander's opening delivery over extra cover for a one-bounce four but the bowler had his revenge two balls later when he had him leg before playing across one.
Adams took five wickets in an innings seven times last season, more than any bowler in Division One. In an unusual double, he also hit more sixes than any other player.
Impressive too yesterday was the left-armer Gurney, whose signing from Leicestershire during the winter was made with Nottinghamshire's one-day side primarily in mind.
Yet the 25-year-old – born in Nottingham – bowled well enough against Somerset's powerful batting line-up in the last round of matches, when he deputised for a flu-struck Adams, to retain his place here ahead of experienced all-rounder Paul Franks.
He justified his selection by taking four wickets, the pick of them with a ball that drew Cameron into a push outside off stump that found the edge.
With poor weather forecast for today, Nottinghamshire realistically needed the chance to bowl out Worcestershire for a second time yesterday to reclaim top place in the table from Warwickshire.
As it is, they have extended their lead to 174, which in normal circumstances would be a platform from which to set up a run chase today. It still might, of course, if the meteorological prognosis is wrong, although last night the staff here were bracing themselves for the possibility of floods.
With Alan Richardson unable to bowl because of a side strain, Jones struck with the new ball as Alex Hales chipped a soft catch to square-leg. David Lucas trapped Michael Lumb leg before but Neil Edwards, dropped at second slip off Lucas on nine, is unbeaten on 49.Reuse content