reports from Trent Bridge
Nottinghamshire 314 and 50-0
When it comes to made to measure pitches, Ron Allsopp is strictly Savile Row, so quite how Nottinghamshire came to prepare a slow turner for an Essex side wearing an Oxfam suit in the seam department is a bit of a mystery.
It has, however, made for a level game, with the two sides finishing only 13 runs apart on first innings. John Childs and Peter Such shared seven of the Nottinghamshire wickets, and yesterday, the home team's 21-year-old left-arm spinner Jimmy Hindson underlined his potential by taking 5 for 92.
It is just as well for his side that he did. Nottinghamshire's Andy Afford was almost impossible to read, in that none of the Essex batsmen could tell from his jerky action whether there was a long hop on the way, or a half-volley. Tim Robinson has been accused of many things as a captain, but although enterprise is not one of them, he was being pragmatic in setting a field for Afford designed for saving runs than taking wickets.
The first two Essex wickets yesterday fell to the New Zealander Chris Cairns, whose inclination to put in a bit extra may have done him no good when he aggravated a side strain bowling a bouncer to Ronnie Irani.
Nottinghamshire could ill afford to lose Cairns to injury as well as Chris Lewis, and although Lewis may return to action in the Sunday League tomorrow, Trent Bridge spectators are not inexperienced when it comes to scratching Lewis's name off the scorecard 15 minutes before a game.
Hindson's first victim yesterday was Graham Gooch, who has swept many a left-arm spinner into oblivion down the years, as Hindson was no doubt contemplating when Gooch went down on one knee to dispatch him for a flat six over square leg. However, the next time Gooch attempted it, the ball floated to slip, and the youngster was off and running.
Other decent scalps included Nasser Hussain and Paul Prichard, who had made 109 before getting himself out, carelessly thrashing a wide long hop to cover. He has an unenviable job captaining a currently weak Essex side, and this innings (176 balls, 19 fours) will have done his confidence no harm.
Another Hindson victim was Such, whose dismissal caused him such anguish that he banged his bat into the turf all the way to the pavilion. This would have amazed those who had not seen him since Essex turned him into, if not quite a batsman, someone who knew one end of the bat from the other. When he was at Nottinghamshire, Such making one run would have got a standing ovation.Reuse content