Sunday, April 14th, 2024

Nottinghamshire vs Worcestershire: Day three report & highlights

Nathan Smith produced a sensational all-round performance for Worcestershire on day three of the Vitality County Championship match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Smith hit his maiden half century for Worcestershire and was the rock behind a superb fightback by the middle-lower order to secure three batting bonus points and limit Nottinghamshire’s first half lead to 44.

Then the New Zealander then took four wickets from seven balls in Nottinghamshire’s second innings to reduce them to 127-5.

He dismissed Ben Duckett, Joe Clarke, Matt Montgomery and Jack Haynes in a dramatic burst.

Nottinghamshire lost a total of six wickets for 16 runs in 8.1 overs and closed on 151-7 from 48 overs.

It leaves the final day fascinatingly poised on a used pitch with the home side having an overall lead of 195.

Smith had come to the wicket on Saturday evening with Worcestershire 186-6 and still 213 runs in arrears.

He dug in for three hours in making 58 off 136 balls and saw Worcestershire through to 347 before he was ninth out.

Smith was given excellent support by Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira (54) and Joe Leach (48 not out) in stands of 84 and 68.

Worcestershire were eventually dismissed for 355 in 108.3 overs, just 44 behind the home side on first innings.

It was another example of the resolute approach of their batters after scoring 360 and occupying 107.1 overs in the first innings against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Then came Smith’s sensational spell with the ball after Nottinghamshire had reached 125-1 at one stage and he was well supported by Josh Baker and Adam Finch.

Worcestershire resumed on 220-6 from 63 overs with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 29 and Smith 15 not out.

Smith cut the very first delivery of the day from spinner Calvin Harrison to the boundary and then pulled Dillon Pennington to the ropes.

Pennington bowled a short but fiery spell but the seventh wicket pair brought up the fifty stand and then D’Oliveira went on the offensive against spinner Liam Patterson-White.

He cut him for four to secure a batting bonus point and then hit the next delivery for a straight six to complete an 89 ball fifty which also contained four fours.

Smith then smashed Harrison over the mid-wicket boundary for a maximum.

The stand was worth 84 when D’Oliveira was trapped lbw by Patterson-White for 54 with the total 270-7.

Josh Baker (8) was caught and bowled by Harrison but then Leach joined Smith to provide further strong and determined resistance.

Nottinghamshire delayed taking the second new ball and Leach cut Harrison for four to secure a second batting point.

Smith saw little of the strike for a spell but reached an excellent fifty from 103 balls with a single off Harrison.

It contained one six and four fours.

Leach pulled and cut Dillon Pennington for boundaries before the second new ball was finally taken in the 96th over.

The half century stand between Smith and Leach came up shortly before lunch from 89 balls and Worcestershire reached the interval on 331-8 from 98 overs.

A productive morning realised 111 runs for the loss of just two wickets from 35 overs.

Smith’s resolute knock ended on 58 when he went to pull a delivery from Pennington and was pouched at long leg.

He batted for a total of 178 minutes and hit one six and four fours..

Worcestershire were then 347-9 but a leg bye off Luke Fletcher made sure of a third batting point before Finch (3) attempted to sweep Harrison and was bowled behind his legs.

Leach remained undefeated on 48 from 88 balls with seven boundaries.

Nottinghamshire openers Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett reached 59 off 16 overs by the tea interval.

Duckett had one slice of good fortune on 27 when he inside edged Jason Holder past his leg stump for two.

The opening stand was worth 81 before Baker made the first breakthrough when Hameed went for a big hit and sliced the ball to deep cover where Jones took a well judged catch.

Duckett completed a 73 ball fifty but the picture changed dramatically when Smith returned to the attack.

Jones took another fine catch after Duckett (63) popped up a Smith delivery on the leg side and two balls later Clarke (0) inside edged a ball and Roderick held onto a magnificent catch away to his left, showing tremendous reflexes.

Smith struck for the third time in the over when Montgomery (0) was plumb lbw and the first ball of his next over brought about the downfall of Haynes (1) as he lost his off stump.

Spinner Baker provided excellent support at the other end and was the perfect foil to Smith.

He earned a deserved second scalp when Slater (23) fell to a reflex catch at short leg by Kashif Ali.

Smith came out of the attack with figures of 11-4-29-4 and replacement Adam Finch was rewarded for his fine efforts from the Stuart Broad End when Harrison (3) offered no shot and lost his off stump as the ball zagged back.

Baker ended with 19-3-55-2 and Finch 9-3-18-1.

Baker said: “It’s great to be back in the side, I turned up in the squad here fully expecting to go on for a 2nd XI game against Leicestershire but I saw the used pitch and got really excited and they put me in the team.

“I’s turning quite a bit now as it’s seven days old but it’s still a pretty slow pitch.

“It will spin for them on the last day and I agree 250 would take some getting. But there is real belief in this side, it’s something we take pride in.

“Nathan Smith is a hell of a cricketer, he was leading wicket-taker in New Zealand cricket this past winter and he can properly bat.

“I was at mid-off and he was telling me what he’d bowl – and he did just what he said. It’s amazing to see him go about his work.

“I was pleased with how I bowled at the other end and great to get Ben Slater out with that catch by Kashif. You can’t train for that kind of catch close in, and you could see on his face he was as amazed as I was.”