Shropshire Star

Pears’ Kiwi has a fruitful knock

Nathan Smith, Worcestershire’s new Kiwi signing, made 58 as his side, six down overnight, added a crucial 135 lower-order runs to total 355 and then took four wickets in seven balls as Nottinghamshire, batting again, went to a shell-shocked 151 for seven at the close, a lead of 195

Nathan Smith of Worcestershire

In a season notable for leg spin, another of that craft, Calvin Harrison, completed a maiden five-wicket bag for the home side earlier on the third day of this Vitality County Championship match but Smith’s thrilling counter with pace in the evening raised the spectre of a second home batting debacle at Trent Bridge in seven days.

Ben Duckett raced to 63 from 87 balls until undone an hour from the close, the first casualty of a triple-wicket maiden to which Smith then added a fourth success, ripping out Jack Haynes’s off stump. When Ben Slater went to a reflex short-leg catch off Josh Baker and Harrison was bowled by Adam Finch offering no shot, the collapse had encompassed six wickets for 19 runs in 51 balls from 125 for one.

With heavy showers forecast for this morning, Nottinghamshire, needing quick progress, belted 57 from a dozen overs either side of tea in an opening stand of 81. It is now more a question of whether they are bowled out before able to set a target.

Pears spinner Josh Baker said: “It’s great to be back in the side, I turned up in the squad here fully expecting to go on for a 2nd XI game against Leicestershire but I saw the used pitch and got really excited and they put me in the team.

“It’s turning quite a bit now as it’s seven days old but it’s still a pretty slow pitch.

“It will spin for them on the last day and I agree 250 would take some getting.”

n Durham unfurled a dogged rearguard action against Warwickshire on the third day of their Vitality County Championship fixture at Edgbaston – but need to deliver another one tomorrow.

Facing a mammoth target of 549 to avoid the follow on, Scott Borthwick’s side was bowled out for 517. Alex Lees (145, 240 balls), Ben Raine (93, 125), Graham Clark (76, 179), Ollie Robinson (60, 91) and Matty Potts (44, 40) all dug deep but Warwickshire’s depleted attack kept paring away, led by a career-best four for 137 by off-spinner Rob Yates.

Trailing on first innings by 181, Durham closed day three on 12 for two and need to bat out day four to prevent Warwickshire’s second-highest ever total – 698 for three – being rewarded with victory.

That should be achievable by the visitors on a pitch which has yielded up just 15 wickets in three days. The two first innings together contained 10 individual three-figure scores - four with the bat and six with the ball.

Warwickshire all-rounder Rob Yates said: “I am a bit sore after bowling all those overs but it’s not been a bad game for me personally and now we are in a decent position to chase a win on the last day which is always exciting.

“We bowled well all day and forced quite a few near-misses during the day and then towards the end we created a few chances and cashed in. They batted well and when Clark and Raine were putting on a good partnership it was touch and go whether we would make them follow on, but we stuck at it and that’s what you’ve got to do in conditions like this.

“It has been hard work for the bowlers and that’s down to a good batting pitch, the Kookaburra and just good, tough Division One cricket.”