Steven Mullaney plays leading role for Notts on first day of Championship match against Hampshire at Welbeck
Steven Mullaney batted for three hours and took a crucial catch as Notts brought Specsavers County Championship cricket back to Welbeck Cricket Club.
On the first day of the match against Hampshire, however, it was Kyle Abbott who strengthened the visitors’ title ambitions with a six-wicket burst.
The former South African international returned figures of six for 37 from his 14 overs as Notts were bundled out for just 162 in only 60.2 overs.
Mullaney batted for almost three hours for the home side, making 45 from 114 deliveries, with four fours and a six.
Hampshire, second in the table at start of play, closed on 93 for two, with Joe Weatherley unbeaten on 47.
Notts head coach Peter Moores said: “We are very disappointed to be bowled out for 162. In our top order we didn’t build the partnerships that we needed to, to have any impact on the game.
“We got people in but then they got out, which is something in four-day cricket that you can’t do.
“You’ve got to sell your wickets dearly and we didn’t see that today. I thought the captain probably led by example, he played compact and late and batted very well.
“We missed a couple of chances but to get rid of Rahane was a big wicket for us because he’s a very good player.”
The hosts made the worst possible start, losing a wicket to the third ball of the match as Ben Slater unluckily inside-edged Keith Barker onto his stumps, without a run on the board.
The visitors then struck twice more to pick up an early bowling bonus point as Notts slid to 41 for three.
Chris Nash, playing in his 200th first class fixture, was given out lbw to Abbott for six, who then had Joe Clarke caught at second slip by Weatherley for the same score.
Only 17.1 overs were bowled before a heavy shower halted play with Notts on 54 for three.
Notts lost their fourth wicket soon after lunch, when Ben Duckett, on 22, pushed at James Fuller and edged behind to Tom Alsop.
Duckett had made a century in last week’s drawn fixture against Warwickshire. Samit Patel, in contrast, arrived in the middle after four single-figure scores in a row.
He seemed to have found a welcome return to form, stroking four elegant boundaries but after a 90-minute vigil he feathered Abbott behind for 24.
Mullaney pulled a short ball from Fuller for the only six of the innings but then lost Tom Moores to a full-pitched delivery from Barker.
James Pattinson joined his skipper in a sixth-wicket partnership of 51 but once the Australian had been bowled by Abbott, the home county slid from 156 for six to 162 all out.
Abbott dismissed Luke Wood and Luke Fletcher in the same over, leaving Fuller to close out the innings with the wicket of Mullaney.
Notts got the early boost they were hoping for, as Oli Soames nicked Fletcher to slip with only five runs on the board.
Weatherley and Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian Test batsman, combined to frustrate Notts over the closing two hours, adding 80 together, the highest stand of the day of the day.
Jake Ball, playing on his home club ground, was particularly unlucky, twice having Weatherley put down in the slip cordon before he found a willing catcher in Mullaney, to send back Rahane for 34.