By James O'Brien
James Taylor strengthened his case for an England recall as he hit 78 on the third day of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship Division One match against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge.
Taylor shared 91-run stands with Samit Patel, who made 30, and Riki Wessels, still there on 78, as Notts recovered from 30 for three to reach 259 for five at stumps.
Northants missed out on a second batting point as they were bowled out for 248 having added only seven to their overnight total.
Play got under way as scheduled at 11am for the first time in the match and Nottinghamshire were quickly into their stride.
Maurice Chambers aimed an expansive drive at Andy Carter's third ball of the morning and lost his off-stump before the Notts seamer trapped Muhammad Azhar Ullah in front for nought.
Alex Hales, back from his brief loan spell with Worcestershire, opened the Notts innings alongside Phil Jaques and looked in good touch until he edged a good delivery from Azhar Ullah to David Sales at second slip.
In contrast to Hales, Jaques did not look comfortable during his 17-ball stay and departed for a duck after an attempted pull off Chambers lobbed off his glove to Sales in the slips.
Michael Lumb also found life difficult and one ball after being wrapped on the glove, he lost his balance coming forward to another Andrew Hall delivery and was stumped by David Murphy.
Taylor hit four boundaries in quick succession as he took the fight back to Northants and continued to play positively amid Nottinghamshire reaching 71 for three at lunch.
Patel was fortunate to see out the first over of the afternoon session. He edged Hall just short of slip and watched Ben Duckett almost pull off a spectacular catch at point as the ball looped off the back of his bat.
Taylor impressed at the other end and reached his third half-century of the season off 69 balls.
The partnership came to an end when Patel drove off the back foot straight to Rob Newton at cover, who held on at the second attempt to give Chambers his second wicket.
— Nottinghamshire CCC (@TrentBridge) May 13, 2014
Rain halted proceedings with Nottinghamshire on 136 for four and following another short delay after an early tea, Azhar Ullah had a big shout for lbw against Taylor turned down and then saw Hall drop a simple chance at first slip off the edge of Wessels' bat.
The Notts pair managed only six runs from as many overs as the visitors tightened the screw but, aided by some wayward bowling by Steven Crook, they took 38 from the next five, which included four boundaries in five balls for Wessels as he passed 50.
Northamptonshire got the breakthrough they desperately needed in the next over when Middlebrook had Taylor lbw playing across his front pad.
Chris Read joined Wessels at the crease and declared his intention by hitting Middlebrook straight down the ground for six.
Wessels hit a maximum of his own over the midwicket boundary to take Nottinghamshire past Northamptonshire's first-innings total before rain brought an early finish.