Durham 53 for 2 (Borthwick 12*, Drissell 9*) trial Nottinghamshire 662 for 5 dec (Montgomery 178, James 164*, Mullaney 136, Hameed 115) by 609 runs
Nottinghamshire added a new line in their county record books as they put one hand on the Division Two trophy by racking up a massive 662 for 5 declared against Durham on day two of the final match of their LV= Insurance County Championship season.
The seventh-highest total in their 181-year history was only the second to contain four individual hundreds, matching the achievement of the team that made 656 for 3 declared against Warwickshire at Coventry in 1928.
Durham’s batters then had to face a Nottinghamshire attack boasting England pace bowler Stuart Broad for the first time since April. They closed on 53 for 2, still 609 behind, fading light forcing an early close for the second day running.
A draw from this match – which already looks assured – will clinch promotion for Nottinghamshire regardless of results elsewhere. A win secures the title.
After Nottinghamshire had started the day on 276 for 2, they lost Joe Clarke in only the third over, caught at second slip fending a ball from Potts. Dropped on 27 on Monday evening, he didn’t add to his 28 overnight. It means the 26-year-old is likely to finish the season without a first-class hundred for the first time in his career.
Montgomery’s performance will give the selectors a tough decision to make the next time they have a full complement of batters to pick from.
The South African-born right-hander, standing in while Ben Duckett is away with England, looked the part again. Unruffled by a blow to the body from Potts at the start of the day, he turned his hundred into 150 from 304 balls after hitting 22 fours. He and the impressive James added 161 for the fourth wicket.
Montgomery’s marathon innings ended after he had ended a curious passage of two hours without a boundary by hitting fours in consecutive overs. Weary after more than six-and-a-half hours’ batting, he jabbed at one outside off stump from Potts and inside-edged on to his leg stump.
At 438 for 4, next man Mullaney had licence to assert himself and did so, hitting sixes off Potts and Liam Trevaskis (twice) on his way to a 49-ball half-century. James, meanwhile, completed the third century of his career – all this season – from 158 balls after collecting 13 fours.
Having not offered a chance before then, the shot that took him to the 100 mark was oddly rash, a slash at a ball from seamer Jonathan Bushnell that left wicketkeeper Chris Benjamin, standing up, in some pain and needing treatment after being hit on the hand.
Mullaney’s century – his third of the season – came off 91 balls with four sixes, which he had increased to seven by the time he was caught behind for 136 off Raine with the third new ball, at which point he declared.
James overtook his previous best of 155, accumulating 19 fours in almost five hours at the crease.
As if things could get no worse for Durham, who are without top-scorer Michael Jones – away with Scotland – another frontline batter, David Bedingham, suffered an injury in the field and did not field after tea.
Liam Trevaskis, sent in as an emergency opener, fell leg-before to Broad in the sixth over. As the light faded, prompted by the umpires, Mullaney turned to his spinners to keep playing on a day already extended to compensate for time lost on Monday.
That should have made it easier for Durham to negotiate what remained. Instead, Sean Dickson – in his last match for the county before moving to Somerset – took a huge swing at the left-armer Liam Patterson White and sent the ball off a leading edge to mid-on.