Nottinghamshire shaded the honours on the first day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
With all four pace bowlers collecting wickets, Notts bowled out the home county for just 162 in 45.4 overs. They then recovered from a disastrous start, which saw them slump to seven for three, to reach the close on 96 for four.
The visitors’ bowling attack looked in good order once again, with Luke Fletcher grabbing the stand-out figures of three for 23.
Jake Ball and James Pattinson also each bagged three victims, whilst Harry Gurney picked up the other wicket to fall.
The match marked the return to county duty of England’s Jake Ball and he felt he had a satisfactory time of things.
“It went really well. I thought I hit a nice rhythm. There’s enough in the pitch and it was nice to bowl with Patto (James Pattinson) as well.
“All-round I think we put in a good bowling performance and hopefully we can kick on with the bat tomorrow.”
Ball’s nice began brightly, with the wicket of Stephen Cook. “I think he was in two minds as to whether to leave it or not but it caught the bottom of his bat. It was a nice one to get.
“I think it is the sort of wicket were if you get one wicket, it’s not easy for the new batsman to get in. There’s a little bit of nibble and a decent carry.”
Gloomy overhead conditions, no doubt, played a part as Chris Read again opted to bowl first. Jake Ball, playing instead of Stuart Broad in the only change from the win over Leicestershire, took only 11 deliveries to get his account up and running for the season.
Cook (2), South African Test opener on debut for Durham, intended to leave alone a delivery from Ball but didn’t withdraw his bat quickly enough and feathered a routine catch behind.
A short shower interrupted play for about 16 minutes and all appeared well for the home camp as Keaton Jennings and Jack Burnham consolidated.
The introduction of Luke Fletcher into the attack disrupted their progress and began a spiral of events that saw the home county lose three more wickets before lunch.
Burnham (15) misread a Fletcher delivery and lost his off stick after shouldering arms and the same bowler accounted for Michael Richardson (5), who edged low down to Greg Smith at third slip.
In between, Jennings’ progress was rudely interrupted as James Pattinson ripped out his off pole with a brute of a delivery. The England man had played some delightful shots and stroked five boundaries in his 28 before being beaten for pace by the Australian speedster.
It could have been even worse for the hosts as Notts appealed unsuccessfully for a caught behind from Paul Collingwood’s second delivery. Read and Pattinson appealed loudly but a posse of fielders, led by Michael Lumb, went up to the stumps and pointed – perhaps indicating that the bail had been clipped but not removed.
The first four overs after lunch produced just one run, with the pressure leading to the fall of another wicket. Collingwood had reached eight when he was pinned lbw by a full swinging delivery from Ball, leaving the score on 69 for five.
That became 69 for six as Ball had Ryan Pringle caught behind first delivery but the hat-trick was successfully averted.
Harry Gurney joined the list of wicket-takers, with Paul Coughlin (3) becoming Read’s third victim.
Pattinson returned for a third spell and removed Mark Wood lbw for 11 with his third ball and then uprooted two of Graham Onions’ stumps to end his innings on two.
Poynter took over, when joined by last man Chris Rushworth, and farmed the strike to great effect, hitting regular boundaries and necessary singles as he advanced to 50 from 46 balls, with his ninth four.
Fletcher eventually closed out the innings, bowling the Durham keeper-batsmen with a slower delivery, leaving Rushworth unbeaten on nine.
With 48 overs at their disposal, Notts struggled for early momentum as three wickets went down for no runs in the space of seven deliveries.
Greg Smith and Jake Libby had moved the score to seven when cricketing disaster struck them both. Onions had Smith caught in the slips for four at the end of the fourth. Next delivery, from the other end, Rushworth bowled Libby for three.
That was the start of a double-wicket maiden for Rushworth, who ended the over by having Alex Hales given out leg before for nought.
Samit Patel had been elevated in the order to number three and he justified the move by playing sweetly for an unbeaten 43, partnering Michael Lumb in a fourth wicket stand of 85.
Bad light forced the players from the field at around 5.15pm but they managed a brief return over 80 minutes later.
Sadly for Notts they lost a fourth wicket with Wood getting a ball to keep low and thud into Lumb’s pads to oust him for a hard-working 33.
Fletcher went out to join Patel as nightwatchman and reached three not out before a further stoppage brought the proceedings to a halt.
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