Kent secure draw at Trent Bridge
Kent secure draw at Trent Bridge

Nottinghamshire were left feeling frustrated after persistent drizzle prevented them from chasing down a modest target in their Specsavers County Championship day-night match against Kent at Trent Bridge.

In the hour of cricket that was possible they picked up the final two Kent second innings wickets, leaving themselves to score just 75 but the wet weather returned before they could face a ball.

Adam Milne and Adam Rouse ensured that the unbeaten Division Two leaders were kept waiting, with a stand of 79 for the eighth wicket.

Milne, making his Kent debut, was eventually dismissed for 51 and Rouse was last to fall after scoring 35.

Harry Gurney returned figures of three for 63 for Notts, with Luke Fletcher and Steven Mullaney each striking twice.

Resuming on 214 for seven, after the first session had been lost to the weather, the visitors held only a narrow advantage of 23 as the game belatedly headed into its final act.

Hopes of an unlikely rear-guard action had taken a hit with the overnight news that Darren Stevens wouldn’t be able to return to the crease to resume his innings. The 41-year old had been struck on the helmet on the third day and had retired hurt on 31.

Milne and Rouse had already extended the contest into a fourth day and they took their stand beyond 50 before Notts took the second new pink ball.

It almost brought a wicket straightaway but Rouse was spilled at third slip by Brendan Taylor, off Fletcher.

The same bowler didn’t have to wait for long before making amends, to the immense relief of the small band of home supporters who had turned up.

New Zealand international Milne, who had been dismissed first ball on the opening day, reached his 50 with a push through the off side for two, getting there from 87 balls, but he drove at the next delivery and nicked behind for 51.

In gloomy conditions, even with the floodlights on, last man Mitchell Claydon defied the home attack for half an hour before the innings ended with the fall of Rouse.

Having batted resolutely for 142 minutes, the Kent gloveman, changed tack and heaved Mullaney high over the midwicket rope for six. Next ball he attempted a repeat but couldn’t clear Samit Patel on the same fence.

Sensing an imminent downpour Notts rushed out Alex Hales to open the batting with Mullaney but before a ball could be bowled the rain returned and the umpires led the players from the field.

The draw was an unexpected reward for Kent, who had faced an uphill battle since the first session of the match when they had been reduced to six for three after becoming the first visiting side to Trent Bridge to bat first this season.

After losing to Worcestershire last week Kent now turn their attentions to next week’s home championship match against Northamptonshire. The 8 points they take from Trent Bridge keeps them third in the table, 39 points behind the leaders, with a game in hand.

Nottinghamshire were left to gather just 12 points from a contest that they always looked like winning points and their attention now switches to white ball action and Saturday’s trip to Lord’s for the Royal London One-Day Cup final against Surrey. Their hopes have suffered a slight setback with the confirmation that Jake Ball’s knee injury will prevent him from playing.

Peter Moores (Notts Head Coach) was frustrated that his side hadn’t been able to push for the win:

“You can’t control the weather, so it’s frustrating when you get that close and everybody has put the effort in. Anybody that has been in the game for a while will accept that this was just part of it.”

“We got in this position because we bowled them out for under 200 and we got a 200 lead, so the only reason it got twitchy was because we dominated the game. It was special for us because we got a cb* out of it (*cb – career best – Steven Mullaney’s 168) and there was also the sadness because Jake Ball picked up a niggle just before the final.”

Meanwhile, Moores gave his thoughts on the use of the pink ball:

“If you take it just on this one game you would say it’s not been the greatest advert for it because you need weather. It’s designed for people to sit in the stand and you don’t want to be cold if you’re doing that and unfortunately for this experiment it has been quite tough.

“I think there are some issues with seeing the ball at different times but you can see why the experiment is there; to try and find out whether we can put cricket on at different times of the day when people might find it easier to watch.”

Meanwhile, Matt Walker, the Kent Head Coach had his own thoughts on the use of the pink ball:

“I think there has been a fairly mixed reaction to the pink ball. Individually, everyone has had their own little battles with it, I think it’s just different, that’s the biggest issue.

“It’s not done excessive amounts in the air but it is just a slightly different feel in the hands for the bowlers and sometimes it reacted differently off the surface for the bowlers, so Stevo (Darren Stevens), for example, wasn’t quite getting that zip off the wicket that he would do with a red ball.

“I think in terms of the batting the biggest issue for the lads is that they weren’t able to pick up the seam and weren’t quite seeing the shape of the delivery so they were just seeing a pink blur coming down and when you facing the likes of Pattinson and Ball at good pace it can be a bit of a challenge.

“I think it is fine to try something, it’s all a little bit like the first year of T20 when no-one really knew what was going on but look how that’s turned out.

“If they are going to stick with it then I hope they have more than one game a year so people can used to it, rather than just a token one-off.”