Mullaney's best tightens Notts grip on Division Two

Nottinghamshire 430 for 9 dec (Lumb 117, Pujara 112, Miles 4-123) beat Gloucestershire 149 (Mustard 53, Fletcher 3-32) and 231 (Bancroft 53, Mullaney 5-32) by an innings and 50 runs

File photo – Steven Mullaney claimed his maiden five-wicket haul © Getty Images

Nottinghamshire cemented their best start to a Championship campaign in a decade, thanks to a convincing victory over Gloucestershire with a day to spare. After following on, the visitors were dismissed for 231 in their second innings, leaving Notts to celebrate victory by an innings and 50 runs.

The win, Nottinghamshire’s fourth in five matches – together with last week’s draw with Glamorgan – equals the start they made to the 2007 campaign, their last in the second tier.

Steven Mullaney was the unlikely bowling hero for the home side, taking career best figures of 5 for 32, with the main resistance coming from Cameron Bancroft and Phil Mustard. Bancroft scored 53, his highest Championship score, and Mustard followed his first-innings half century with a knock of 49.

The morning session began with Gloucestershire on 37 for 1, still 244 runs behind. For around an hour things went well for the batting side as Bancroft and Will Tavare developed their second-wicket partnership. However, Mullaney and Stuart Broad then altered the momentum with a spell that reduced Gloucestershire from 98 for 1 to 104 for 5.

Bancroft had been dropped on 46 when his eagerness to reach 50 persuaded him to flash hard at Broad. The ball flew to third slip, where Samit Patel couldn’t hold on. The Australian eventually brought up his half-century from 88 balls but was then pinned in front by Mullaney.

Two deliveries later, Graeme van Buuren nibbled at the same bowler and was comfortably taken at first slip by Riki Wessels. Chris Read’s hunch to bowl Mullaney had been fully justified with a double-wicket maiden helping him to figures of 2 for 8 from seven tight overs. Broad also bagged two wickets in quick succession, ending Tavare’s 105-minute vigil on 20 before bowling George Hankins for 0.

Harry Gurney secured his 250th wicket in first class cricket when Jack Taylor became the third lbw victim in the first session, leaving Mustard and Kieran Noema-Barnett to bat through until lunch on 125 for 6.

Noema-Barnett enjoyed himself at the start of the afternoon, hitting 30 from 34 balls before picking out long leg, off Brett Hutton. Mullaney then returned to claim the final three wickets to fall. Mustard was caught at slip, Craig Miles miscued to mid-off and the bowler was able to celebrate his maiden five-wicket haul when Matt Taylor was given out lbw.

Nottinghamshire’s maximum-point haul strengthens their lead at the top of the Division Two table, with 104 points from five matches, ahead of next weekend’s home clash against local rivals Derbyshire. Gloucestershire remain in mid-table, on 36 points from four matches.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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