Wagh leads fightback as Notts scent unlikey win

Nottinghamshire 59 & 357-6 Yorkshire 264
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The Independent Online

Having looked anything but champions elect on the first day, Nottinghamshire have fought their way back into this match with a spirit which suggests they might be worthy recipients of the pennant after all.

Facing a first-innings deficit of 205 on a pitch which, while much improved, continued to offer the Yorkshire bowlers occasional encouragement, the home team lost only two wickets in going ahead before a late clutch of wickets saw this fascinating game swing back towards the visitors. Such is the unpredictability of four-day cricket that even the confidently forecast showers stayed away as Paul Franks, Mark Wagh and Adam Voges mixed defiance with an array of attacking shots to turn the match on its head.

Just as very little had gone their way on Tuesday, pretty much everything went right for Nottinghamshire from the moment Andre Adams trapped Oliver Hannon-Dalby leg before with the fourth ball of the morning. There was just time for the Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale, to move from his overnight 147 to 151 before Adams had Moin Ashraf caught behind to finish with 6 for 84, taking his total of Championship victims this season to 64.

The application and restraint shown by Franks and Alex Hales in seeing off the Yorkshire opening bowlers indicated that at least some of the lessons of the first-innings horror show had been learnt, though both rode their luck.

Their stand of 56 was Nottinghamshire's first Championship opening stand of more than 50 this season and it took a lovely outswinger from Ashraf to end it, Hales edging the last ball of the 18th over to Gerard Brophy behind.

Franks, however, was beginning to play with real freedom, particularly through the off-side, and in Wagh he found a partner equally willing to take the bowlers on. Driving chunkily, Franks went to his half-century off 72 balls, and must have been entertaining thoughts of his first Championship century for five years when Gale, not before time, given the score was 184 for 1 after 42 overs, threw the ball to Adil Rashid.

Sure enough, the leg-spinner made an almost immediate breakthrough, though the well pitched-up delivery outside off-stump appeared to hold no great threat. Anticipating spin, Franks played slightly inside the line and edged to Jacques Rudolph at first slip.

Wagh, though, continued to dominate, pulling Steven Patterson high over midwicket for six and taking Nottinghamshire into the lead. He too was nearing a century when he became overconfident, mistiming an attempt to hit Rashid over long-on and spooning a catch to Richard Pyrah.

At that stage the lead was 73, and only five more runs had been added when Samit Patel sparred at a wide delivery from Shahzad to be caught at third slip. Ali Brown quickly followed, caught behind off the same bowler, and though Brophy dropped a straightforward edge by Chris Read, the wicketkeeper held on to an edge from Voges when the Australian had reached 72.

By the close, Read and Darren Pattinson had extended the lead beyond 150. Another 50, perhaps even a few less, and the match is still very much in the balance.