Nottinghamshire deserved draw with Warwickshire, says skipper Steven Mullaney

Steven MullaneySteven Mullaney
Steven Mullaney
Nottinghamshire captain Steven Mullaney believes his side got what they deserved from their Specsavers County Championship Division One tussle with Warwickshire.

Notts, bottom-of-the-table, overcame a mid-afternoon wobble to bat out for a draw at Edgbaston and Mullaney gave a frank assessment of the team’s batting display during the match and the season so far.

Having resumed on the last morning on 116 for one, needing 294 to avoid an innings defeat, the visitors batted through the final day to end on 354 for eight.

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The bulk of the defiance came from second-wicket pair Ben Duckett (140, 237 balls, 19 fours, two sixes) and Chris Nash (85, 216 balls, 11 fours) who added 199 in 66 overs.

When they were separated, a flurry of four wickets in nine overs put the visitors back into jeopardy at 255 for five, still 39 behind, but captain Mullaney (29, 91 balls) and Tom Moores (17, 78) dug in to add 60 and, vitally, eat up 27 overs.

“We didn’t bat very well in the first innings,” said Mullaney. “Warwickshire are a good bowling side with a class spinner and if you give wickets away against sides like that then at some point they are going to put you under real pressure.

“We have not batted well enough since the first game against Yorkshire so we needed something to turn our season around and hopefully today has done that with that magnificent partnership between Duckett and Nash. That was a template that helped us save the game.

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“We were never going to look to win the game today but at the same time we knew how important runs were to get in front of Warwickshire as quickly as we could. A little shower this morning knocked off five overs which helped us but I think we have got what we deserved out of the game because we have batted so well today.”

Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel wheeled way to add four wickets to his first innings six for 16, and take his haul to 22 wickets in the last two championship games, but ultimately the slow pitch, offering little to any bowler, sentenced the match to stalemate.

After his team was skittled for 97 in the first innings, Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores demanded much greater application from the batsmen second time round and Duckett and Nash showed exactly what was required. They combined watchful defence with punishment of anything loose during the morning session.

Duckett reached his 16th first-class century, and first for Nottinghamshire, from 155 balls and the second-wicket pair took their side within 55 of the home side’s total before Duckett was caught at short leg by Sam Hain off Patel.

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That triggered a mini-collapse which revived Warwickshire’s hopes of forcing an unlikely victory. Patel tasted more success in his next over when Joe Clarke was brilliantly taken at slip by Will Rhodes, diving to his left almost behind the wicketkeeper.

Armed with the new ball, Henry Brookes then had Samit Patel caught by Hain at third slip and Nash adjudged lbw to a big inswinger.

Mullaney and Moores crucially halted the collapse in nine overs up to tea and resisted into the final session before falling in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at leg-slip off Patel and the former caught behind off Liam Norwell.

That inched the door ajar again for Warwickshire and Luke Fletcher sent up a return catch to Brookes but James Pattinson and Stuart Broad kept their heads down to see the game out.