Nottinghamshire 373 for 5 (Duckett 145, Clarke 89, Hameed 59) trail Leicestershire 440 (Ackermann 116, Hill 104, Patterson-White 3-37) by 67 runs
Ben Duckett made 145 and there were half-centuries for Joe Clarke and Haseeb Hameed as Nottinghamshire built a strong response after Leicestershire posted a season’s-best 440 all out on day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Clarke made 89 after he and Duckett had shared a partnership of 198 for the third wicket on a pitch that offered the home side’s bowlers little margin for error, but they made inroads in the final session to leave Nottinghamshire 373 for five at the close, still 67 runs behind..
Duckett’s century was his second of the season and his best so far, although it ended with a somewhat bizarre dismissal.
He accumulated 21 boundaries, indulging his penchant for pulls and cuts when offered even a modicum of width, but hitting straight balls to the fence too. Yet after delivering such a high-quality performance, he was bowled by left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson attempting a switch hit.
Up to then he had brought only frustration to the Leicestershire bowlers, although earlier it had been Nottinghamshire’s turn to suffer as Leicestershire, having slept on what was already their highest score of the season, scored another 100 runs at five an over before surrendering their last two wickets, collecting five batting bonus points for the first time this season.
Nine down when Chris Wright fell in the fifth over of the day with the fourth point only just secured, it was an admirable effort led by all-rounder Ben Mike, who hit 78 off 100 balls as he and last man Will Davis added 89, a record for Leicestershire’s 10th wicket against Nottinghamshire.
Mike cracked sixes off James Pattinson and Brett Hutton in going past fifty for the third time this season as the fifth point was claimed with eight balls to spare. Davis finished unbeaten on 32 with Mike running up nine fours before falling to a well-judged catch at long on.
Yet Nottinghamshire could not have set about their response in a more purposeful way, scoring at almost six an over for the first 90 minutes of the afternoon session, with barely an over allowed to go by without at least one boundary.
Ben Slater feathered a catch behind off a good, straight ball from Wiaan Mulder but Hameed looked in superb touch. He raced to fifty off 48 balls and it was a real surprise when he was bowled by Mike offering no shot.
Clarke was quickly into his stride and although the scoring slowed down a little in the run-up to tea, it was only a brief respite. Duckett, having gone to the break at 98, cut Mulder for his 17th boundary shortly afterwards to move into three figures from just 112 balls. You would not have bet against him doubling his score and he was visibly cursing himself after giving his wicket away.
Lyndon James may feel he did likewise after waiting so patiently as next man, caught off a miscued pull after facing just three balls. Nottinghamshire played out the remaining hour in much more circumspect fashion.
Steven Mullaney is unbeaten on 37 but Nottinghamshire suffered another setback when Clarke, eyeing up his first hundred of the campaign, edged Parkinson to slip.
Leicestershire’s Louis Kimber will take no further part in this match, having been replaced by Nick Welch as a concussion substitute. Kimber was struck on the helmet while batting on Sunday and, though he was able to complete his innings, was ruled out after an examination on Monday morning.