(Photo: Getty Images)
By Dave Bracegirdle
It took just over 15 minutes of the first day for Nottinghamshire to seize a vice-like grip on this contest and snuff out any hope that Kent might have harboured about closing the gap on the Division Two leaders.
In that brief period James Pattinson blew away the visitors’ top order, despatching Sean Dickson, Joe Denly and Sam Northeast, all without scoring, to leave Kent in total disarray.
The Aussie pace ace has earned countless admirers with his performances this season and Matt Walker is amongst them.
“I would say he is possibly the best bowler in the world right now, both from what I have seen in this game and obviously from what he has done this year,” purred the Kent head coach.
“What really impressed me was the pace, which is something our players haven’t experienced for quite a while. Then there’s the control with it, the combination of those things were lethal.
“It was a devastating burst up front,” he continued. “It didn’t take us by surprise because we knew what he was about but it certainly knocked us sideways for a little while. He’s extremely competitive and I would say he is as good as I’ve seen for a long while and I know the boys agree.”
The best place to play the speedy Pattinson was from the safety of the non-strikers end and that’s where Daniel Bell-Drummond found himself in the early stages until emerging from the shadows to play his best championship innings of the season, carrying his bat for an undefeated 84.
Another opener, Nottinghamshire’s Steven Mullaney, then hogged the headlines by surviving the trickiest of the twilight conditions before going on to make a career-best 168.
“It was nice to make a contribution and help put us in such a strong position,” he said.
The match wasn’t without incident, with Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball picking up a knee injury which will rule him out of Saturday’s One-Day Cup final and Kent’s Darren Stevens had to go to hospital after ducking into a bouncer from Harry Gurney.
Result: Notts (371) drew with Kent (180 & 265-9)