Match Report: Nottinghamshire v Essex


Nottinghamshire v Essex
LV= Insurance County Championship
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 May 2023
Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Matt Critchley, Adam Rossington (wk), Simon Harmer, Doug Bracewell, Shane Snater, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Nottinghamshire: Ben Slater, Haseeb Hameed, Matt Montgomery, Joe Clarke (wk), Lyndon James, Steven Mullaney (c), Liam Patterson-White, Calvin Harrison, Brett Hutton, Stuart Broad, Dane Paterson.

Match Details:

Umpires: Steve O’Shaughnessy & Tom Lungley
Match Referee: Will Smith
Toss: Nottinghamshire won the toss and elected to bowl
Scorecard: View here
Result: Match Drawn

Day Four Reaction: Tom Westley

“I thought Notts played some fantastic cricket, so a draw was a fair result. But at the same time we were a bit disappointed not to have got a few more runs more quickly today, then we might have been able to have a few more overs at them when it was starting to spin.

“We let ourselves down a little bit with the bat in the first innings. We could have got a few more runs. It was good to get 300 after being put in but there were times we needed to build partnerships when it didn’t happen. If we could have reduced their lead a bit on first innings it would have helped us today.

“Sometimes losing the toss and getting 300 is not the end of the world but this was an occasion when it would have been nice to get a few more.

“But we did well to come back and overcome the deficit we had. Cooky batted brilliantly and so did Dan but it is a shame we couldn’t have got a few more runs quicker and had a few more overs, which would have made Harmy (Simon Harmer) more effective.

“It was one of those where if we had played a bit better cricket in the first half of the game we would have been in a better position in the latter.

“It has been a good cricket wicket throughout the game. You want the majority of wickets to be taken by seam bowlers at the start of the game and the spinners come into it towards the later stages.

“I’ve been a little bit disappointed in general with the way the season has gone for us so far. We’ve played some really good cricket at times but been hampered by the weather. Down in Canterbury I think we were in a position where we could have won that game and against Surrey also, where we lost a day to the weather. Apart from the Warwickshire game we have played some pretty good cricket and probably deserved better rewards.”

Day Four Highlights:

Day Four Report:

Nottinghamshire move up one place to fourth in the Division One table after their LV=Insurance County Championship match with Essex ended in a draw, the home side declining to embark on a frantic run chase in the final session of the fourth day at Trent Bridge.

Having been 144 runs behind on first innings, Essex recovered well enough to declare at tea on 362 for eight in their second innings, giving Nottinghamshire 39 overs to chase 219 to win.

In other circumstances, Nottinghamshire might have seen a required rate of 5.6 runs per over as within their compass, yet they were sufficiently respectful of the threat posed by off-spinner Simon Harmer in dry conditions on a fourth-day pitch not to risk defeat in pursuit of victory.

They were 97 for four, still 122 runs short of their theoretical target when the sides agreed to call it a day with five of the scheduled overs unbowled, with Joe Clarke 42 not put, he and fifth-wicket partner Steven Mullaney having survived 10 overs with most of the Essex fielders clustered round the bat. Nottinghamshire take 11 points to Essex’s seven.

Earlier in the day, former England captain Sir Alastair Cook, who has never made a century on this ground, failed tantalising by one run to correct the statistical anomaly in his record but skipper Tom Westley made 95 and Tom Lawrence 52 to put Essex in a strong position.

All-rounder Lyndon James was the pick of a Nottinghamshire attack in which Brett Hutton could not bowl due to injury, taking three for 67 including the wicket of Cook. Leg-spinner Calvin Harrison finished with three for 52 on his Championship debut.

After Matt Montgomery’s 177 had enabled Nottinghamshire to be seemingly in control of the game at the halfway stage, Essex batted through two sessions on Saturday for the loss of only one wicket, taking a lead of 55 into the final day with Cook seemingly poised finally to post a three-figure score on this ground for the first time at the age of 38, needing just 13 more runs.

After surviving two difficult chances on Friday, he must have fancied making Nottinghamshire pay for their lapses and having emerged unscathed from a brief joust with former international team-mate Stuart Broad at the start of the day he clipped a ball from James behind square for his 11th boundary, putting him just one hit away from a celebration that no one present would have begrudged him.

But a couple of overs later it was James who was celebrating, having found a gap between Cook’s bat and pad with a delivery that looked to brush a glove on its way through to ‘keeper Joe Clarke, who took a good catch low to his right. Spectators stood to applaud Cook regardless, having seen some moments of England’s greatest Test runscorer at his best.

Broad’s second spell of the morning was always more threatening than his first and it was with a fine ball angled into the body that he denied Westley – the leading runscorer thus far in the Championship – a second hundred of the season, the right-hander successfully defending his stumps but at the cost of an edge that Clarke took comfortably at shin height.

At 258 for three at lunch, 114 ahead, Essex still looked to have the game under control but wickets in consecutive overs midway through the afternoon session offered Nottinghamshire hope that they might yet force the issue, despite being a bowler short with Hutton off the field nursing a tight calf.

First Matt Critchley became a third victim for James, who brought one back sharply to bowl him off what looked like an inside edge for a dogged 20. Then Adam Rossington departed without scoring, handing leg-spinning all-rounder Calvin Harrison a maiden Championship wicket via an easy return catch.

Lawrence, who has been recalled to the England squad for the summer’s opening Test against Ireland next month, completed a 94-ball half-century but when Steven Mullaney relieved James at the pavilion end he was leg before, playing across one, at which point the Essex lead was 175 with 48 overs left to play.

Seven overs and 19 runs later, Doug Bracewell clipped tamely to short midwicket to give Harrison a second success. Shane Snater slog-swept his first two balls for six but though Harrison took revenge by bowling the Zimbabwe-born Netherlands international for 18, it still came as a surprise that skipper Westley chose to declare at tea rather than bat Nottinghamshire out of the game.

The likelihood of Essex taking 10 wickets in the final session of the contest seemed remote, yet scoring 5.6 runs per over looked a carrot Nottinghamshire might chase.

Yet even though Haseeb Hameed dispatched the last ball of the opening over to the boundary, it quickly became clear that Nottinghamshire were sufficiently wary of Harmer’s ability to exploit last-day pitches to take an approach that was for the most part conservative.

Sam Cook produced a couple of good deliveries to have Hameed caught behind and opening partner Ben Slater bowled before Montgomery trapped on the crease by a Harmer off break.

Harmer turned one sharply to bowl James, at which Westley brought on Critchley to bowl leg breaks from the other end, which meant that Clarke and Mullaney spent the last 40 minutes or so with most of the Essex fielders crowded around the bat.

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Reaction: Matt Critchley

“From the position we were in at the end of the first innings, to have nearly 200 on the board for one wicket down, we’d have taken that. Tommy (Westley) played beautifully and obviously, Sir Alastair (Cook) showed his class.

“He’s ticked off a lot of milestones in his career and hopefully he can tick off another one tomorrow and get a hundred here.

“It was disappointing with the chances that went down yesterday, which obviously had they stuck would have put us in an even stronger position, and Montgomery punished us, going from maybe being out for none or four to getting a hundred and plenty, but these things happen. He looks a good young player.

“We pride ourselves on always staying level whether we are up or down in the game. We don’t get carried away with what is happening and we have full trust in ourselves to come out on the right side of results playing the kind of cricket we want.

“We’ll look to play positively tomorrow and you never know. There are different ways the game could go.

“For me, it was good to burgle a couple of wickets at the end there and as the weather gets a bit warmer, hopefully I’ll be able to bowl a few more overs.

“It didn’t deviate off the straight too much for me or Simon (Harmer) today but there was a bit of turn out of the rough and maybe that will come into play a bit more in the fourth innings if the sun comes out again and there is a bit of a chase.”

Day Three Report:

Having scored only one first-class fifty in 14 previous visits to Trent Bridge, Alastair Cook made it two in one match and stands just 13 runs away from his first century on the ground as Essex overcame a substantial first-innings deficit to nose ahead against Nottinghamshire.

Chef is 87 not out with skipper Tom Westley unbeaten on 70 and Essex are 55 runs in front at the end of day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match, closing on 199-1.

Cook’s innings improved his career-best first-class score at Trent Bridge for the second time in 48 hours, having top-scored with 72 as Essex were bowled out for 298 in the first innings before the home side posted 442 in reply on the back of Matt Montgomery’s colossal 177.

Cook will come back tomorrow determined to register his first century on this ground, especially after surviving a couple of chances today.

Strike bowler Sam Cook and leg-spinner Matt Critchley finished with three wickets each after Essex had taken the remaining five Nottinghamshire first-innings wickets in the course of the morning session.

Having been 28 ahead overnight, Nottinghamshire stretched their lead into one that seemed to put them firmly in control of the game.

Montgomery, 130 not out at Friday’s close, failed by one run to match the 178 he made against Durham in the final match of his debut season last September as the highest score of his career to date.

The 23-year-old, in only his 12th first-class match, had another escape, on 155, when a sharp chance to Simon Harmer at short mid-wicket off Doug Bracewell went to ground. Clearly, it was not so important to Essex as the opportunities that were not taken at the start of his innings, when he was missed on 0 and dropped on 4. Nonetheless, it would not have improved the mood in the Essex dressing room.

Montgomery found impressive support from Calvin Harrison, who burst on to the scene as a leg-spin bowler in short-form cricket two seasons ago. This is his first-class debut and he can clearly bat, his seven boundaries in a 36-ball 31 including some of the best shots of the day, the last of them, moments before Doug Bracewell made a mess of his middle and off stumps, clipped through midwicket to take the Nottinghamshire total beyond 400.

After Harrison left to warm applause, Brett Hutton hit straight to midwicket off Harmer before Harrison’s fellow leggie, Critchley, had Montgomery leg before reverse sweeping.

With Nottinghamshire nine down there was the prospect of a 30-minute delay before lunch was taken, a playing condition that catering staff must feel was drawn up to irritate them with hot food ready to be served. Happily, number eleven Dane Paterson obligingly holed out to long on barely two minutes past the scheduled time.

With a deficit of 144, the first target for Essex was to reach tea with most of their wickets still intact. On a pitch of no great pace and, as Harmer had discovered, some help for the spinners out of the rough on perhaps the first consistently sunny day of the season.

Stuart Broad’s opening spell was curtailed after four overs, Brett Hutton’s after five and it was Dane Patterson who created the first real chance, in the 17th over, when Cook, on 15, edged one, fairly hard and certainly high, too much even for Harrison, who stands 6ft 4ins. He got his hands to the chance above his head but could do no more than that.

It was the fourth Nottinghamshire seamer, the all-rounder Lyndon James, who made the only breakthrough, five overs before tea, getting one to go past the inside of Nick Browne’s defensive bat and on to pad, breaking an opening stand of 62.

Meanwhile, spinner Liam Patterson-White was beginning to look a threat and there was another escape on 29 for Cook in the left-armer’s 10th over, Steven Mullaney diving to his right at slip, behind wicketkeeper Joe Clarke, but again unable to hold on to the chance.

The final session continued in much the same fashion as the middle one. The Essex batters applied themselves for the most part diligently, Broad sent down another four overs without success, and Patterson-White continued to probe for openings, bowling a 17-over spell from the Radcliffe Road end before a boundary apiece from Westley and Cook persuaded Mullaney to make a change.

The second of those, stroked serenely through the covers, took Cook to 51, his second half-century of the match on a ground where he had previously made only one in 23 innings. By the close, his boundary tally stood at 10 and he and Westley had added 137 for the second wicket, having put together a 135-run partnership in the first innings.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Reaction: Anthony McGrath

“We put down three chances, I think, in that first session, and beat the bat quite a bit but we weren’t at our best today. We bowled poorly in patches and didn’t really bowl in partnerships.

“It is a pitch where you have to take your chances when they come. We know it is a new-ball wicket and we did make them play and miss and find the edge and unfortunately we put them down, which is unusual for us because we’re normally very good behind the wicket and in the slips.

“It cost us, particularly with Montgomery. But you have to give credit to him. As a batsman if you get a let-off you have to make the opposition pay and he did that and played really well.

“But getting a wicket near the end was a boost. We spoke at tea about being somewhere near parity at the close and having them seven down.

“They’re five down so we’re a bit behind in the game but there is a lot of cricket left in this game and if we can bowl well in the morning and then get some runs on the board then hopefully it will be a tough challenge for them.”

Day Two Report:

Matt Montgomery demonstrated his readiness to fill Ben Duckett’s place in the Nottinghamshire line-up this summer with an unbeaten 130 as the Trent Bridge side edged into a first-innings lead as their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Essex reached the halfway point.

The 23-year-old South African-born batter has been earmarked to cover for Duckett’s involvement in the Ashes series since his successful introduction to the senior Nottinghamshire side last summer and though he survived a couple of scares early in his innings, ultimately he looked up to the job.

There were half-centuries also for Ben Slater and Joe Clarke and on a tough day for the Essex bowlers, Sam Cook was the pick with three for 51.

At the close, Nottinghamshire were 326 for five in reply to Essex’s 298 all out, giving them a lead of 28 as they chase a third win since returning to Division One.

Nottinghamshire were in control much of the day, having emerged from a challenging opening session with only one wicket lost when Cook induced an edge to dismiss Haseeb Hameed via a routine catch to first slip.

Essex had cause to regret not making the most of such help as they had from the pitch while the ball was still new, letting both Montgomery and Slater off the hook before lunch.

Montgomery was put down by wicketkeeper Adam Rossington on four off Shane Snater, having had some fortune before he had scored a run when Rossington failed to reach a chance created by the same bowler.

Slater’s escape came after Jamie Porter had returned for his second spell of the morning. The Nottinghamshire batter, back in his familiar opener’s slot with England’s Duckett rested ahead of the international summer, had just completed his first half-century of the season when he edged to first slip.  It should have been a regulation take for Alastair Cook, but the ball bounced out of his hands and fell to the ground.

The pitch seemed to behave much as it had on day one, the batters never comfortable when the ball was aimed at the stumps but finding it sitting up nicely and the outfield pleasingly quick when the bowlers offered anything short or wide.

In the event, the Slater let-off proved none too costly. Sam Cook’s post-lunch spell looked destined to be truncated in its second over when the 25-year-old seamer’s left ankle appeared to give way under him. Yet he was able to continue with no damage done and his next over saw him produce a fine delivery that the left-hander had to defend, but which bounced and seamed away enough to find the edge.

By tea, Nottinghamshire had added another 106 runs as Essex regretted still further not taking the chances offered in the morning, especially those by Montgomery, who had advanced to 73, looking more like the player who ended last season by turning his maiden century into a mightily impressive 178 as Nottinghamshire crushed Durham to confirm themselves as Division Two champions.

It was that innings that put the 23-year-old right-hander at the front of the rank to be cover for Duckett. As it happens, an injury to wicketkeeper Tom Moores opened up a place for him earlier than expected, although he had failed to get beyond 34 in five innings before this one.

His first 50 came off 116 balls with nine fours, after which he looked increasingly assured as he and Clarke began to dominate, the latter reaching his own half-century in 89 balls with a towering six down the ground off Simon Harmer’s off-spin.

Clarke fell just before tea, caught at long off off Matt Critchley, the leg spinner, undone by perhaps the first shot he had played that lacked control. The partnership was worth 97, enough to establish a platform from which Nottinghamshire would hope to build a first-innings lead, but there was more personal frustration for Clarke, who has gone past fifty eight times and failed to convert since he last made a Championship hundred.

The second new ball gave the Essex bowlers some renewed encouragement and in light poor enough to warrant switching on the lights after tea batting became a little more hazardous. Cook claimed his third success when Lyndon James edged into Rossington’s gloves.

By then, however, Montgomery had completed his hundred with his 15th boundary, albeit with not the cleanest of hits after earlier timing the ball impressively. He had faced 194 balls and his partnership with skipper Steven Mullaney added another 48 before the latter was lbw to Doug Bracewell to the penultimate ball of the day’s scheduled overs.

Day One Highlights:

Day Two Reaction: Anthony McGrath

“It’s hard to judge at the moment whether that’s a good score or not. At times the pitch looked pretty flat, at others there was a bit of swing, a bit of movement. It looks quite dry, too, so with us batting last hopefully Simon (Harmer) can come into it later in the game.

“It was disappointing to lose wickets at the end for not very many. We were hoping to be still batting tonight but then again when you lose the toss and get nearly 300 during the day, if we get a good start tomorrow then we are well in the game.

“Most teams would bowl first here and we knew we had to get through the new ball but after losing Nick early on, Tom and Chef (Sir Alastair Cook) played really well. There were a few near misses but it was a good stand that set up the rest of the innings. It was a shame we couldn’t capitalise more on it.

“Alastair has looked good now all season without getting a score. He has looked very, very good, in practice and when he’s batted. It has been a stop-start season with the weather so far, which hasn’t helped. And we’ve got a break now for T20 but hopefully he can take this form on into the rest of the season.

“It was disappointing for Dan (Lawrence) not to get a good score after being selected for the England squad. But again, all of our top order got in without anyone going in to get a big score. All of them were kicking themselves that they couldn’t go on.”

Day One Report:

Half-centuries from Alastair Cook and Tom Westley were the mainstay of Essex’s 298 all out after being put in by Nottinghamshire on the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Trent Bridge.

Brett Hutton led the way for Nottinghamshire’s bowlers with four for 69 to increase his haul for the season to 29 wickets, just one behind Warwickshire’s Chris Rushworth. There were three wickets each for Dane Paterson and Stuart Broad, in his final warm-up before this summer’s Ashes series.

Tom Lawrence, named in the England squad for the pre-Ashes Test against Ireland on June 1, was out for 16. Nottinghamshire are 13 without loss in reply.

Earlier, spectators were treated to some moments of vintage Cook as he made 72 and shared a second-wicket stand of 135 with Westley, even though England’s all-time leading Test batsman failed to end his Nottingham hoodoo.

The 39-year-old cricketing knight has made centuries on all the traditional English Test grounds except Trent Bridge and today’s effort was his best score here in both domestic first-class and Test cricket.

He faced a Nottinghamshire attack in which Broad looked as potent as he has so far this year but emerged unscathed from his encounter with his former England teammate and his 10 boundaries included shots of the highest quality.

Having fielded four front-line seamers in their last home fixture two strips away from the one prepared for this match, Nottinghamshire picked two spinners for this one, leg-spinner Calvin Harrison coming in for his Championship debut alongside orthodox slow left-armer Liam Patterson-White, neither took a wicket.

The opening session brought a wicket in the fifth over when Broad had Nick Browne leg before but otherwise was a good one for Essex, who left the field at 86 for one.

Neither Cook nor Westley had given a chance, the former completing an 89-ball half century – only his second on this ground – early in the afternoon when he played Hutton comfortably towards the mid-wicket boundary, running three to go with his seven fours.

For Essex to dominate the early stages in this way was clearly not in Nottinghamshire’s script and there was an audible groan when Paterson, relieving Broad after another short burst at the pavilion end, finally forced a false shot from Westley on the pull only for Ben Slater to put down the chance at fine leg.

Cook passed his previous best against Nottinghamshire (69 not out on first-class debut) when he steered Patterson-White to the third-man boundary, after which Westley executed a much better pull shot off Paterson to move  to fifty from 128 balls with his fifth boundary.

A second breakthrough for Nottinghamshire arrived around an hour and 10 minutes into the afternoon and welcome though it was to most in the home crowd there was some disappointment too that it was Cook who departed, looking to drive Paterson on the off side but succeeding only in edging to second slip, where Harrison took a good catch to his left.

Many will have wondered if they had seen Cook’s best chance to correct the omission in his personal record book elude him.

Thereafter, the session swung the way of Nottinghamshire.  Westley had a second escape, albeit to a difficult caught-and-bowled chance off Lyndon James, but survived only into the next over, when he bottom-edged Paterson into his stumps.

Hutton then picked up wickets in consecutive overs. Lawrence advanced aggressively down the pitch only to edge tamely to stand-in wicketkeeper Joe Clarke, who made another easy take as Matt Critchley followed one outside off stump.

Essex had slipped from 151 for one to 195 for five but the slide was arrested when Adam Rossington, back in action after three matches out because of injury, was joined by Simon Harmer, the pair adding 75 before the latter had no answer to a full, quick delivery from Broad with the second new ball, squared up and palpably leg before.

Rossington soon followed, lbw playing across one from Hutton, before Matt Montgomery held a superb catch at third slip as Broad dismissed Shane Snater, Hutton bowled Doug Bracewell and Montgomery took a second catch to help Paterson remove Jamie Porter, Essex’s last five wickets having gone for just 28 runs, the last four for only 10.