Wessels wrestles initiative
Durham’s hopes of claiming the LV= County Championship title were dented as half-centuries from Nottinghamshire’s Riki Wessels and Andre Adams left the visitors chasing an uphill target for victory.
In a fast-moving match, 18 wickets fell on day two as batsmen failed to cope with a pitch offering plenty of assistance for seamers and displaying occasional uneven bounce.
Durham, resuming their first innings on 44 for three, were bundled out for 195. Ian Blackwell top-scored with 52 from 54 balls before he was caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Graeme White, who finished with a career-best 3-17.
That left the visitors 75 behind and, despite 5-54 from Mitch Claydon, Wessels’ rapid 84 from 68 balls and an unbeaten 53 from Adams left Durham chasing 321 to win. They closed on 20 for one.
The tone for the day was set from the second delivery of the morning when Paul Collingwood’s push at an Adams loosener found third slip.
Dale Benkenstein and Blackwell appeared to be on top of the conditions as they added 91 for the fifth wicket, until Fletcher had Benkenstein caught at second slip for 49.
The introduction of White just before lunch proved too tempting for Blackwell, who came down the track to drive but was instead brilliantly caught and bowled.
Durham lost their last four wickets inside six overs with Adams and White sharing them, Adams moving to 59 wickets in the championship this season.
Notts openers Alex Hales and Karl Turner both played loose attacking shots to be caught behind, but Wessels showed better technique with 14 crisp fours on both sides of the wicket and a straight six to extend the hosts’ lead.
He lost Darren Bravo with a poorly executed drive to mid-off and Steven Mullaney edged Mark Wood to second slip on the eve of tea, with the young seamer removing Wessels at the start of the evening session.
Claydon snared Paul Franks, White and Chris Read in four overs before Adams launched his assault, hooking Callum Thorp into the Fox Road Stand and blasting Claydon over long-on.
He added 61 in 10 overs with Darren Pattinson, who was bowled by Ruel Brathwaite, with Fletcher last to fall as Notts were dismissed for 245.
There was still time for opener Will Smith to fall lbw to Fletcher as Durham suffered an early blow in their chase. They head into the third day requiring a further 301 for victory.