Tolley benefits from misses

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The Independent Online

Extra catching practice ought to be on Middlesex's agenda after they failed literally to take a firm grip here yesterday. Nottinghamshire, having bowled poorly on the opening day, faced being in substantial arrears to the side currently propping up the championship but were let off the hook, relatively speaking, by six dropped catches.

Extra catching practice ought to be on Middlesex's agenda after they failed literally to take a firm grip here yesterday. Nottinghamshire, having bowled poorly on the opening day, faced being in substantial arrears to the side currently propping up the championship but were let off the hook, relatively speaking, by six dropped catches.

They were required to follow on in any event after being dismissed for 245, which left them 167 behind, but they might by now have been contemplating an innings defeat.

Chris Tolley, called up because of Paul Reiffel's back injury, was the principal beneficiary, allowed three extra lives, two of them during a partnership that critically added 52 for the sixth wicket after Nottinghamshire had slumped to 109 for 5. Edmund Joyce, the squarer of two gullys set for Angus Fraser, spilled the first when Tolley was five, after which Richard Johnson, diving to his left at third slip, could only parry a second chance offered off Fraser, when Tolley was 10.

Another let-off on 42, a straightforward chance to Mark Ramprakash at second slip, permitted the all-rounder to complete his second half-century of the season and reach 60 before an awful heave across the line saw him leg before to Phil Tufnell.

Mike Roseberry's dropping of Darren Bicknell at gully in the third over cost nothing, but Jason Gallian's double escape in the same Johnson over, when he was dropped at second slip (Ramprakash) and then gully (Joyce), maintained the momentum of Nottinghamshire's most productive passage, as Gallian and Afzaal added 78 in 19 overs.

Dropped catches apart, Middlesex performed as inconsistently as might be expected of a side in their position. Johnson's successes were well deserved and Tufnell took his tally for the season to 51 wickets, but Simon Cook and Ben Hutton have bowled better.

Fraser was off the field after tea, resting various aching joints, which raised questions of whether Law 2.5 allowed him to bowl when the home side followed on. He did, although Middlesex did not profit.

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