Trent Bridge clash ends in stalemate


Nottinghamshire opener Ben Slater turned the 13th hundred of his career into an unbeaten 168 but a lifeless final-day pitch had consigned this Vitality County Championship match to a draw long before that conclusion was reached with an exchange of handshakes at ten minutes to five as the home side declared on 425 for two.

Only one wicket fell in 72 overs on the day, Slater finishing on a score he has bettered only twice in his career, with overseas batter Will Young making 68 not out after Olly Stone had been out for 63 nine overs after lunch, the England fast bowler again showing off his batting skills with a half-century in each innings for the first time in his career.

There was too little in the pitch to encourage much interest for the bowlers, however, and it was hardly surprising that Nottinghamshire showed no interest in setting Somerset a target, given that their prospects of taking 10 wickets were almost non-existent.

The 13 points they take ensure they remain at a comfortable distance from the relegation places in the Division One table; Somerset’s 15 keep them third.

After sharing an opening partnership of 172 with Haseeb Hameed that was broken shortly before Tuesday’s close, Slater found two more long-term companions in Stone and Young.

Stone chipped in with 63 to go with his first-innings 83. Not all of his nine boundaries came off the middle of the bat, yet his defence was solid and he had helped Slater add another 136 before Jake Ball, using a belatedly taken second new ball, thudded one into his front pad as he played across the line.

Slater was by then into three figures for the first time this season, reaching the century mark with a six and 12 fours.

When Stone departed, Nottinghamshire’s lead was 198 and, with little in the pitch to excite bowlers of any variety, Somerset could only hope a declaration might keep them in the game. Yet the docile surface meant that realistically there could be only one winner in such a scenario and there was nothing in the way Slater and Young went about their business to suggest that such a course of action was even being considered.

Meanwhile Slater – dropped on 21 – pushed on past 150 for the third time in his career, having ticked off that milestone from 317 balls with 19 fours to go with the one six. By tea, at 396 for two, the lead was 286 with 37 overs remaining.

New Zealand Test opener Young almost missed out on a half-century, dropped at short midwicket by James Rew, who had handed the wicketkeeper’s gloves to Tom Kohler-Cadmore and later became the ninth Somerset player to have a bowl.

Somerset’s acting captain Craig Overton said: “It was a pretty tough day for us. Ben Slater and Will Young batted very well after Olly Stone up top on a very good batting wicket. There wasn’t much in the pitch for the seamers. Jack Leach got a little bit of spin out of the rough but it was very slow spin and didn’t feel that threatening. But that’s cricket. Sometimes you just have to plug away.

“It’s not easy bowling in 25 degrees plus heat but they never got away from us, which was the big thing. We wanted to make sure they did not have a chance to have a good bowl at us. That was the only way we were going to get a result but if you look at it, the last four wickets fell for 500 runs and it was getting flatter and flatter, really dead and slow.

“Over the course of the match we did pretty well at times. We had them 190 for seven in the first innings and if we’d been able to bowl them out for 220 it could have been a different game. In the end it was a good hard-fought draw.”