Nottinghamshire are in a strong position to start their LV County Championship campaign with a victory after dominating the second day against Middlesex at Lord’s.
Although they missed out on a third batting bonus point when they were dismissed for 298 in the first over of the day, Nottinghamshire bowled out Middlesex for 181 with Harry Gurney and Samit Patel each taking three wickets.
Going in again with a lead of 117, Nottinghamshire openers Steven Mullaney and Brendan Taylor, who made a century in the first innings, put on 77 before Mullaney (44) was bowled by Tom Helm and Taylor (34) caught at long-off off Tim Murtagh, but they will resume in a position of strength on 101 for two, a lead of 218.
It became a chastening day for Middlesex made worse by the absence of Dawid Malan, who was unable to bat after breaking his finger on the first day. Malan is due to see a specialist to assess the extent of the injury.
It had started well enough with Steven Finn having last man Gurney caught at backward point off the second ball of the day to deny Nottinghamshire a third batting point.
Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins then put on 51 for the first wicket when Middlesex replied, but the innings went into steady decline once Gurney had moved one back up the Lord’s slope to bowl Gubbins for 23.
Nick Compton, in his first innings since returning to Lord’s from Somerset, never settled and was bowled by Vernon Philander for three by one that nipped back off the seam.
The procession continued after lunch once Nottinghamshire had removed the adhesive Robson for 35 when he offered no shot to Jake Ball’s third ball of the session and lost his off stump.
Nottinghamshire’s seam attack relished a green-tinged pitch offering some lateral movement with Gurney and Ball bowling superbly in tandem as they made further inroads.
Stand-in skipper Adam Voges got a feint edge when Gurney moved one off the pitch and in the next over Ball surprised Paul Stirling with extra bounce and Patel took the catch above his head at second slip.
Batting looked a little easier once the ball had lost its hardness and the sun came out with John Simpson and James Harris adding 40 for the sixth wicket with few alarms.
Nottinghamshire skipper Chris Read turned to Patel’s left-arm spin and the hunch paid off with two wickets in three balls with Harris leg before playing back – Patel’s 200th first-class wicket - and Tom Helm offering no shot.
Gurney took his third wicket when Simpson was betrayed by a lack of footwork as he prodded to first slip and Taylor ended the innings by taking a fine running catch at deep mid-wicket to remove Murtagh for 19 and give Patel his third wicket.