Nottinghamshire short on heart

Leicestershire 381 & 357 Nottinghamshire 364 & 246-7 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
JON CULLEY

reports from Leicester

Leicestershire 381 & 357 Nottinghamshire 364 & 246-7 Match drawn

Perhaps Nottinghamshire, who are not enjoying the best of seasons, felt 375 was too big a target to chase with confidence. Whatever their thinking, they allowed an opportunity to go to waste here.

On a docile pitch, against opponents whose main strike bowlers were both injured, one could imagine quite a few sides responding to the challenge with greater conviction than they showed, especially with 102 overs at their disposal.

When time ran out they were 129 short and seven wickets down, which Leicestershire might consider to have been a reasonable effort on their part in the circumstances. David Millns, due to have his right foot immobilised after the game because of a sore Achilles tendon, bowled eight overs before the pain proved too much.

Alan Mullally, the left-armer who is his regular new-ball partner, has a side strain and could manage no more than some gentle spin. This left Gordon Parsons, ever the willing workhorse, to ease the strain on Adrian Pierson's spinning fingers.

Nottinghamshire will argue that their best chance lay in a productive innings either from Paul Johnson or Chris Cairns, and that when both failed cheaply in the space of five overs they had little option but to settle for damage limitation. In truth, there was not much purpose evident in the early part of the innings. When Johnson replaced Mathew Dowman in the 36th over, only 75 had been scored.

To boot, Johnson and Cairns were both out to poor shots, Johnson flat- batting Pierson to short wicket, Cairns top-edging a hook.

All in all, it was a day for Nottinghamshire to forget, although Graeme Archer stuck around with great determination to register the fourth century of the game, spanning more than five hours. None of his 16 fours will stay in the memory long, however.

The result was effectively assured by Archer's 110-run partnership with Wayne Noon for the fifth wicket, but Noon's departure at the start of the final hour kept Leicestershire interested in prolonging the contest.

Jonathan Dakin, a seam-bowling all-rounder whose innings of 101 not out and 66 made his match memorable, claimed his first Championship wickets, but, given that neither side performed well enough collectively to deserve to win, the draw was a fair outcome.

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