|LV= County Championship Division Two, Trent Bridge (day three):|
|Nottinghamshire 201: Montgomery 43 & 390-7 dec: Clarke 67, James 61, Hameed 60, Montgomery 44|
|Leicestershire 93: Evans 50*; Fletcher 4-23 & 257: Finan 58; Mullaney 3-29, Hutton 3-51, Paterson 3-92|
|Nottinghamshire (20 pts) beat Leicestershire (3 pts) by 241 runs|
Nottinghamshire wrapped up a three-day victory over Leicestershire that put them in what looks like an unassailable position at the top of Division Two.
Set an implausible target of 499 to win after Nottinghamshire declared at 390-7 on Tuesday, Leicestershire were bowled out for 257 in their second innings to give the home side victory by 241 runs.
Nottinghamshire might have pocketed their 20 points much earlier but for a stoppage of more than two hours for rain with Leicestershire nine wickets down, their frustration compounded by having put down two catches as last-wicket pair Callum Parkinson and Michael Finan added 83.
The players left the field for a delayed tea at 15:52 BST and did not return until 18:00. Rain began to fall again within moments of play resuming with the prospect of the teams being forced to come back on Thursday morning, potentially for just one ball.
Fortunately, it took only 10 deliveries for Nottinghamshire to take the final wicket as Finan edged Dane Paterson to second slip.
- Relive the third day’s County Championship action as it happened
Finan – on his first-class debut – made 58 after being dropped first ball, while Parkinson was given a life on 13.
Nottinghamshire’s nearest pursuers in the promotion race, Middlesex and Glamorgan, have a game in hand but they face each other at Lord’s next week, which means the picture will look clearer when Steven Mullaney’s side next play, against Worcestershire at New Road a week on Tuesday.
Realistically, Leicestershire knew at the start of the day that they had only self-respect to play for, the measure of which would be how long they could survive.
One down at lunch would have represented a solid start. After an hour and a half, it looked possible, with Sam Evans the only casualty, caught behind after being drawn into playing a ball outside off stump from Paterson that he knew, on reflection, he would have been better advised to leave.
With the pitch much more docile than at the start of the match, Hassan Azad and Louis Kimber looked as if they could hang around but then Mullaney’s decision to have a bowl himself quickly transformed the picture.
The veteran all-rounder separated this pair with his second ball, angling in and trapping Azad leg-before.
Mullaney then had Kimber caught at mid-off and Colin Ackermann, to whom Leicestershire would have been looking for a long stay, leg-before playing across the line.
Four down for 97 at lunch therefore represented a somewhat less optimistic picture, which soon worsened as Rishi Patel and Harry Swindells both gave their wickets away, each clipping straight to Liam Patterson-White at midwicket.
Ed Barnes (37) and Roman Walker stalled Nottinghamshire’s progress for a time, adding 48 for the seventh wicket.
Barnes did well against the short ball but such a delivery brought about his downfall in the end as Brett Hutton, having loaded the leg-side field, banged one in that seemed to follow Barnes as he backed away, the ball looping to short-leg as he instinctively brought the bat up to protect his head.
The leg-side trap also did for Walker, who also batted nicely for a while before pulling to deep backward square, and for Chris Wright, who was looking to do the same when he was caught behind down the leg side.
It should have been all over next ball as Finan too was fed a short delivery that he obligingly hooked, but Lyndon James, the catcher in Walker’s dismissal, let this chance go down.
Report supplied by the ECB Reporters’ Network.