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Mullaney enjoys return to form

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Steven Mullaney enhanced Nottinghamshire’s chances of claiming victory over LV= County Championship champions Warwickshire with a fluent 94 – his highest first-class score since May 2010.

The all-rounder boosted his hopes of being retained by the hosts beyond this summer with an enterprising 119-ball knock that contained 11 fours and four straight sixes.

He took charge in a fifth-wicket partnership of 119 in just 28 overs with Chris Read, who contributed 36.

Either side of that, Neil Edwards scored only his third first-class half-century in as many seasons and Riki Wessels made a brisk 38, while Paul Franks, who finished unbeaten on 76, and Ben Phillips put on 91 for the eighth wicket.

Steven Mullaney

Steven Mullaney led the way with 94 - his highest first-class score since May 2010 - as Nottinghamshire piled on the runs at Trent Bridge

New Zealand international Jeetan Patel was the pick of the Warwickshire bowlers with 4-127 as Nottinghamshire closed on 444 for eight - a lead of 395 going into the final day at Trent Bridge.

Having wiped out their first-innings deficit the previous evening to resume on 49 without loss, openers Edwards and Sam Kelsall remained together until the total had reached 88, at which point the latter poked Patel’s arm-ball to Rikki Clarke at first slip.

Wessels - who reached 6,000 first-class runs during his innings - was next to go, lbw to Clarke, but not before he had thumped five fours and a six from just 32 deliveries. Edwards followed in the next over, pinned leg before wicket by Patel.

England batsman James Taylor made just 14 before he tried to hit Patel over the leg side and was snared via a superb diving catch on the run by visiting skipper Jim Troughton.

Any ambitions Warwickshire had of running through the remainder of the hosts’ batting line-up quickly dissipated as Mullaney and Read joined forces.

The straight hitting of Mullaney was a particularly attractive feature of an untroubled partnership, while Read looked destined to reach 1,000 championship runs for the season until he was run out just 25 short of that figure.

Chris Woakes effected a direct hit as Mullaney called Read through for a quick single, but the Notts captain remonstrated on his way back to the pavilion, having clearly felt he had made his ground.

Soon after, Mullaney attempted to go to three figures with a fifth maximum but holed out to Troughton at long-on, denying him only a second career championship ton.

The entertainment continued as Franks - in compiling his highest score of the season from 121 balls with nine boundaries and a six - found useful allies in Phillips, who was eventually caught behind off Darren Maddy, and Luke Fletcher.

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