If you were to ask Mark Wood to name his favourite cricket ground it would be fairly easy to guess his answer. The 22-year-old seam-bowling all-rounder from Steve Harmison's home town of Ashington has played only three County Championship matches in five years with Durham – all of them at Trent Bridge.
It is a freakish fact that looks all the more noteworthy, moreover, because he has made a significant contribution to all three games.
He marked his Championship debut with an unbeaten 45 as Durham attempted (in vain, as it happens) to pull off a last-day run chase in 2011, returned with a match-winning 5 for 78 last year and today put the visitors in a strong position in this match, posting an unbeaten 58 – his maiden first-class half-century – to help establish a substantial first-innings lead before dismissing three of Nottinghamshire's top-five batsmen.
It is a record, naturally, that begs an explanation about where he has been the rest of the time but it seems he has just been unlucky. Injuries blighted the intervening period between the first two appearances and his failure to keep his place after last year's success with the ball was simply down to the strength of Durham's pace bowling roster.
At least he can expect not to be sent back to the Second XI this time. When Durham go to The Oval to face Surrey next week, Graham Onions will be on England Lions duty.
On a Trent Bridge pitch that said much about why the return of the heavy roller for use during matches has not been universally welcomed, Wood's half-century swelled a total built around Will Smith's epic 153. It was also bolstered by late runs from Onions (26) and Gareth Breese (44), despite another pleasing day for Stuart Broad, who showed no sign of being at all troubled by his sore groin in finishing with 4 for 88. Graeme Swann was wicketless but had 34 overs under his belt by the end, confirming that his elbow is back to good working order.
Durham's first-innings lead turned out to be one that may win them this match, given that Nottinghamshire are five down and still trail by six runs going into the final day.
They lost Alex Hales cheaply for the second time in the match before Wood dealt his triple blow. Ed Cowan was caught behind chasing a ball that left him, James Taylor was leg before trying to work him to leg, and Samit Patel, trying to avoid a short ball, sent a catch looping to second slip, probably off the glove or bat handle.