Notts respond to Mitchell and Moeen
A late burst of wickets put Nottinghamshire on course for victory in their opening LV= County Championship match of the season - but not before Worcestershire batsmen Daryl Mitchell and Moeen Ali had given the hosts a big scare.
Having been set 392 to win, the pair added 178 for the third wicket to push Worcestershire to within 157 runs of their target.
But a lapse in concentration from Moeen saw the left-hander dismissed for 94, and three more wickets followed in the last 10 overs as the balance swung back dramatically in Nottinghamshire’s favour.
First Alexei Kervezee played on to Ben Phillips before Luke Fletcher followed up with two wickets in as many balls, bowling Mitchell for a hard-fought 102 from 239 deliveries, and then castling Ben Scott.
The visitors reached 258 for six at the close, needing a further 134, but with only four more wickets required Notts will be favourites for the win.
Notts began the day on 355 for seven, 343 ahead, but lost Graeme White early on when he edged David Lucas to Michael Klinger at third slip.
Riki Wessels was trapped lbw by Alan Richardson for 113, with the veteran seamer, who finished with 5-95, yorking Andre Adams in his next over as Notts were bowled out for 403.
Having seen how successful the hosts had been with a watchful approach in their second innings, Pears skipper Mitchell and opening partner Klinger were circumspect against the new ball, adding 26 before Phillips found the outside edge of Klinger’s bat for a catch to wicketkeeper Chris Read.
Vikram Solanki survived a scare on 20 when Alex Hales failed to hold on to a high chance at first slip, but the 36-year-old perished soon after when he drove Adams straight to point.
Pears skipper Mitchell then dug in with Moeen either side of tea and the Notts bowlers appeared increasingly toothless.
It took the return of Adams for a third spell to break the partnership. Moeen aimed a loose drive at the paceman and a thin edge was claimed by Read.
Notts sensed their opportunity to take the initiative with the new ball and Phillips found some extra pace to beat Kervezee’s defensive push, the ball rebounding off bat and pad to hit leg stump and knock off one bail.
Fletcher then flattened the off stumps of Mitchell and Scott to give the home dressing room a massive boost just before the close.