Nottinghamshire collapse in the face of mediocrity

Essex 203 & 359 Nottinghamshire 79 & 215 Essex win by 268 runs

Having been pipped to the Second Division title by Essex in the final game of last season, Nottinghamshire began this match believing they could prove a point and show themselves to be better equipped for the leading group. How wrong they were.

Having been pipped to the Second Division title by Essex in the final game of last season, Nottinghamshire began this match believing they could prove a point and show themselves to be better equipped for the leading group. How wrong they were.

Essex won by 228 runs with more than four sessions to spare. Victory was completed at ten to three yesterday afternoon, allaying all fears that storms would arrive to deny them a first win of the season. Without Ashley Cowan, John Stephenson and Ronnie Irani - all injured - their attack looks lightweight at this level. But the last three days here suggest Nottinghamshire are the team with problems.

Given the horrendous mess they had found themselves in on Friday afternoon, when this historic ground seemed likely to witness only the 28th instance in first-class cricket of a team dismissed for fewer than 20 runs, it was perhaps unrealistic to suggest they could have avoided defeat. A target of 484 to win was never more than theoretical.

Nonetheless, they should have been good enough to survive the day on a pitch where Aftab Habib had scored 151 and James Foster 85 on Saturday. However, after Jason Gallian and Usman Afzaal, unbeaten overnight, had been parted in the 14th over of the morning, Nottinghamshire slipped into steady decline.

The lavish swing exploited so superbly by Scott Brant and Jonathan Dakin as Nottinghamshire flirted with cricket's lowest-ever total on Friday was evidently harder to reproduce in yesterday's fresher conditions. Yet it did not matter to Essex, who found their opponents submissive instead to James Middlebrook's tidy off- spin and Graham Napier's accurate but hardly fearsome medium pace. Uneven bounce was by no means the only culprit.

Afzaal and Gallian departed in quick succession, after which it was the Nottinghamshire middle order that provided the biggest disappointment.

A high measure of resilience was needed here to protect a long tail but Kevin Pietersen, Bilal Shafayat and Chris Cairns all played themselves in and got themselves out. Pietersen chipped tamely to short mid-wicket, Shafayat carved carelessly to point and Cairns, who had looked capable of giving the crowd some fun at least, was bowled making room to cut.

Whether Essex win another match remains to be seen. Their batting generally has been unimpressive: Habib's hundred was the first from any of their batsmen this season and they will be lucky to come up against another opponent in such woeful form as Nottinghamshire are currently.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there