Mullaney keeps Notts in touch

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Steven Mullaney

Steven Mullaney, the central figure in Nottinghamshire's recovery from the depths of 29 for four, cuts powerfully on the way to 97

LV= County Championship leaders Nottinghamshire were again grateful to all-rounders Steven Mullaney and Paul Franks for rescuing them from early trouble.

After slumping to 29 for four, Mullaney put on 78 with Ali Brown for the fifth wicket and 79 for the seventh with Franks before falling to David Balcombe for 97. He had hit 100 not out against the same opposition two weeks ago.

Both batsmen enjoyed some luck, with Mullaney dropped on 50 and Franks on 35 and 53. The latter finishing unbeaten on 57 as Notts were bowled out for 270, while James Tomlinson claimed 5-66.

On a green wicket offering plenty of help to the seamers, Hampshire reached 23 for one in reply, with Liam Dawson brilliantly caught behind by Chris Read.

But their batting line-up was weakened by the loss of overseas batsman Hashim Amla, who has joined South Africa for a tour of the West Indies, and Mark Wagh, who is taking his law exams.

Tomlinson and Dominic Cork profited in the first hour by picking up two wickets apiece. Neil Edwards and Alex Hales fell in consecutive overs while Samit Patel and Bilal Shafayat joined them soon after.

But 40-year-old Brown counter-attacked in typical fashion, hitting a six and six fours in a 46-ball innings before he was lbw to Sean Ervine just before lunch.

Mullaney, playing in only his seventh first-class match, showed good judgement with well-timed shots square of the wicket and was unmoved by being dropped by Jimmy Adams at first slip off Balcombe.

Skipper Read was defeated by a sharp lifter from Tomlinson in the following over and was one of wicketkeeper Nic Pothas’ five catches, but Mullaney and Franks survived to bring up the first batting point before tea.

Mullaney finally came a cropper when his cut was edged to Pothas and Andre Adams quickly followed in harebrained fashion, slogging to mid-off.

Franks and Darren Pattinson dug in to pass 250 but Tomlinson returned with the new ball to pick off Pattinson and Charlie Shreck in consecutive balls.

With nine overs to negotiate, Hampshire opener Dawson was unable to survive, edging Pattinson’s outswinger.

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