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County Championship: Steven Mullaney hits 55-ball century for Notts at Lord's

Steven Mullaney
Steven Mullaney struck eight sixes and six fours in his 100 not out
LV= County Championship Division Two, Lord’s (day three)
Nottinghamshire 415 & 295-5 dec: Mullaney 100*, Clarke 66; Hollman 3-77
Middlesex 195 & 69-3: Robson 51*; Fletcher 2-6
Middlesex (3 pts) need another 447 runs to beat Notts (7 pts)
Match scorecard

Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher left Middlesex facing the prospect of their heaviest losing margin by runs at Lord’s on a sobering third day of their County Championship match.

Mullaney plundered a magnificent unbeaten 55-ball hundred littered with mighty blows while Fletcher scored his second fifty of the match and Joe Clarke hit 66 not out before Nottinghamshire declared on 295-5, 515 runs ahead.

Fletcher was not done there either, ripping out both Middlesex openers for ducks among figures of two for six as the hosts struggled to 69-3 at the close.

They need to reach 216 to avoid rewriting the record books, having lost by 301 runs to Ray Illingworth’s Leicestershire at the home of cricket in 1976.

First-innings centurion Haseeb Hameed departed early after slashing a wide ball from Toby Roland-Jones to Sam Robson at slip.

Fletcher, however, revelled in his role as nightwatchman, picking up where he had left off 24 hours earlier to plant a rare half-volley from Tim Murtagh into the grandstand. The shot travelled down the stairs of the stand, meaning Middlesex opener Mark Stoneman was forced to temporarily leave the field to retrieve the ball from the spectator concourse.

While Ben Slater took 28 balls to get off the mark, Fletcher made hay in the sun, forging on to make his second 50 of the match – the first time he had achieved the feat in his professional career and the first player ever to make half-centuries from number 11 and number one in the same game.

As in the first innings he departed to his next ball, trapped lbw by Martin Andersson.

Ben Duckett continued the momentum, hitting Luke Hollman for three fours in an over before attempting to reverse sweep the leg-spinner only to send it down the throat of skipper Peter Handscomb at long leg.

Hollman, who returned 3-77, struck again in his first over after lunch with a superb caught and bowled to remove Slater and he later dislodged Lyndon James’ off bail with one which proved too close to cut.

The remainder of the innings, however, was batting carnage, Clarke pulling a short ball from Murtagh into the grandstand as he moved to 50 in 73 balls.

This, though, was snail-like compared to skipper Mullaney, who first hit Hollman out of the attack before planting his replacement Josh De Caires into the Warner Stand over cover as his half-century came in 31 balls.

Incredibly he then accelerated, racing to 100 in another 24 deliveries, smiting Andersson for two sixes in an over and then belting Hollman back over his head with a shot which struck the pavilion sightscreen.

The declaration came, leaving Middlesex facing a record chase of 516 or pragmatically four sessions to bat for a draw.

Fletcher all but ruined those hopes with his opening salvo as he had Stoneman caught at slip for a second-ball duck before bowling De Caires, also without scoring, the ball deviating from the glove to the wicket as the youngster withdrew his bat too late.

Handscomb somehow survived 46 torturous deliveries before edging James Pattinson to Duckett at second slip to leave the hosts 32-3.

But Robson stood firm, surviving a huge caught-behind shout when on six to reach a stubborn 50 shortly before the close, and hopes of an unlikely draw rest heavily on the shoulders of the former England opener.

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters’ Network.

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