CricInfo Championship: Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire at Nottingham, 8-11 Aug 2001
Dave Bracegirdle

Nottinghamshire 2nd innings: Lunch - Day 3, Tea - Day 3, Stumps - Day 3,
Live Reports from previous days


NOTTS SET WORCESTERSHIRE CHALLENGING TARGET

Needing 321 to win Worcs ended the third day on 9-0 from four overs. Notts’ batsmen had totally dominated the day putting behind them their awful collapse on the opening afternoon. A century by Greg Blewett, plus fifties for three of the middle order, renewed home hopes of a first Championship victory of the season at Trent Bridge

Beginning the day on 39-1 Notts were indebted to their second-wicket pairing of skipper Darren Bicknell and Australian Greg Blewett. Their stand of exactly 100 had taken the home side into an overall lead but was ended when Chris Liptrot trapped Bicknell lbw for 38.

The same bowler also accounted for Blewett but not before he had completed his fourth Championship ton of the season, getting there with a lofted six straight back over bowler Matt Rawnsley.

Usman Afzaal made 53 and Paul Johnson 18 as the middle order continued to build upon the earlier fine work. By tea the lead was already more than 200 and shortly afterwards Kevin Pietersen advanced to his own fifty (80 mins 66 balls 10x4s) then lifted Rawnsley high over mid-wicket for six.

Chris Read, on his 23rd birthday, had also hit a maximum during the afternoon session and he lifted Rawnsley for another as he helped Pietersen post the second century stand of the innings.

Pietersen held his bat aloft on reaching 76, acknowledging those who were aware that, after Blewett, he had become the second Notts player to reach 1,000 first-class runs for the season. In his first season of county cricket the 21-year-old could, quite rightly, be proud of the achievement.

A first ton at Trent Bridge looked a certainty but on 86 he was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding from Rawnsley, swooping at extra cover to return Read’s shot sharply to Steve Rhodes. Three balls later Richard Logan went without scoring, not playing a shot at David Leatherdale.

Worcestershire took the new ball as soon as it became due and a Bichel half volley enabled Read to clatter it through the covers for the boundary needed to reach his 50 (124 mins 99 balls 5x4s 2x6s).

A J Harris then tried to leave alone a delivery from Bichel but only succeeded in gloving it to Rhodes and without further addition to the total Read edged Sheriyar to Vikram Solanki at first slip. Nadeem Malik scored his first senior runs with a sliced boundary over the slips but then, with the total on 423, he was held in the gully by Weston.



NOTTS CONTINUE REMARKABLE RECOVERY

Almost dead and buried on the first day Notts' recovery was completed on the third afternoon when they extended their lead over Worcestershire. By tea they were on 312-5, an overall lead of 209.

Having twice been dismissed in the 90s in the Championship, Greg Blewett wasn’t about to repeat the experience. Advancing down the wicket at spinner Matthew Rawnsley he lifted him over the top for four and then a six from successive deliveries to reach his fourth ton of the season (198 mins 149 balls 16x4s 1x6). By way of celebration a confident clip through mid-wicket made it 14 runs from three deliveries.

Blewett’s partnership with Usman Afzaal had been worth 83 when Chris Liptrot picked up his second wicket of the day to renew Worcester’s hopes. The centurian didn’t get far forward and seemed to get a bottom edge on to his off stump to depart for 108.

Afzaal didn’t seem too perturbed about the loss of his partner, hitting Sheriyar for four boundaries in succession in the next over, although the generous width offered was as much a factor as the impeccable placement and timing. A single made it 17 from the over and he then steered Liptrot to the fence to complete his fifty (88 mins 71 balls 9x4s).

With a lead of 127 Notts lost their fourth wicket. Again Liptrot was the bowler as Afzaal, like Darren Bicknell before lunch, was rapped on the pads when late movement brought the ball back into him.

Paul Johnson and Kevin Pietersen had both failed in the first innings and the latter had a close call on nought when he survived a confident lbw shout. The repercussions seemed to spill over though as umpire Ray Julian and bowler Alamgir Sheriyar discussed the incident. Julian then spoke to Worcester’s captain Graeme Hick and his counterpart Trevor Jesty, presumably about Sheriyar’s comments.

Johnson looked in good form but gave Sheriyar something to shout about in the next over when he pulled a short delivery straight to Rawnsley, positioned just in front of square.

Pietersen accelerated into the 30s and together with Chris Read, on his 23rd birthday, helped take Notts to a situation of high promise. Read hit the day’s second maximum when he pulled David Leatherdale over the ropes at square leg.



NOTTINGHAMSHIRE BATSMEN PRODUCE BETTER SHOWING

Nottinghamshire put in a better batting performance on the third morning. Trailing Worcestershire by 103 on first innings they reached lunch on 144-2, with Greg Blewett unbeaten on 71 not out.

Play began on time with Australia’s Andy Bichel bowling to Blewett, his fellow-countryman. A legside wide was followed by a loose long hop which the batsmen crashed to the boundary with relish.

An attempted repeat in Bichel’s next over almost brought Blewett’s downfall as Phillip Weston dived spectacularly at gully to parry the ball. Although technically a half-chance Weston’s athleticism should really only be applauded for saving four runs.

Notts, 64 runs adrift at start of play, were reliant mainly upon Blewett as the gap closed to less than 20 in the first hour of play. Darren Bicknell was unusually subdued, contributing just four runs out of the first 42 before doubling his output with a streaky inside edge which flew past the 'keeper on its way to the fence.

By contrast his partner was timing everything out of the middle with a crisp on-drive off Chris Liptrot bringing up his 50 (95 mins 74 balls 10x4s).

Bicknell’s four off Liptrot took him to 31 and took his side into profit and another offside boundary extended the lead to exactly 100 whereupon Worcs made the first breakthrough of the day. Liptrot brought the ball back in to the left-hander and saw umpire Trevor Jesty uphold his lbw appeal.

Usman Afzaal began his innings on a "king pair" but scurried through for a sharp single first ball and provided useful support for his partner in the last 20 minutes before the interval.

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Date-stamped : 10 Aug2001 - 22:33