Good Friday for Wessels
Riki Wessels struck his maiden LV= County Championship century for Nottinghamshire to put them firmly in charge against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge.
The former Northants man finished unbeaten on 104, having joined forces with skipper Chris Read, who struck 68, to post a fifth-wicket stand of 134 in just 22 overs.
Their efforts, together with forties from Alex Hales, Neil Edwards and Michael Lumb, enabled Notts to post an imposing 355 for seven in their second innings, giving them a substantial lead of 343 and making them strong favourites to start the season with a victory.
It was a far cry from the action on day one when the hosts had been dismissed for 118 before restricting Worcestershire to 130 all out in reply.
Beginning the day with a 12-run lead, the Pears knew they needed to make early inroads, but failed to use the new ball to their advantage.
The home side’s shot selection was also noticeably improved as Hales and Edwards posted the first half-century stand of the match inside 14 overs.
It looked as if the duo might bat through unscathed to lunch but instead they had to settle for a stand of 94, Notts’ highest opening partnership in four-day cricket since August 2008.
Both men fell in the space of three overs; Hales punched James Cameron to Richard Jones at extra-cover and Edwards was then trapped lbw by Alan Richardson, who returned 3-71.
Worcestershire’s hopes were raised early in the afternoon session when Richardson snared England Lions captain James Taylor lbw for 13 as he offered no stroke to a ball that nipped back.
But Lumb was calm and collected in partnership with Wessels and it was a surprise when the former fell to left-arm spinner Shaaiq Choudhry 10 overs before tea.
That only paired Read with Wessels and the duo upped the scoring rate and punished Worcestershire with a succession of well-timed drives.
It was the second new ball that eventually parted the duo as David Lucas trapped Read lbw, but not before the Notts wicketkeeper-batsman had powered seven fours and pulled Jones over square-leg for six in his 122-ball stay.
Wessels - boosted by a score of 172 in a warm-up game against Loughborough MCCU last week - was undeterred and went to three figures by guiding Lucas to third man for his 13th boundary, having faced only 128 balls.
It was the right-hander’s first century in the LV= County Championship since September 2009 and his 13th in all first-class matches.
Worcestershire did claim one further breakthrough before the close when Ben Phillips fell leg before to Lucas for 16.