Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day two)
Nottinghamshire 187 & 90-6: Duckett 37, Slater 31; Harmer 4-32
Essex 241: Browne 67, Harmer 43, Siddle 40*; Fletcher 5-50
Nottinghamshire (3 pts) lead Essex (4 pts) by 36 runs
Match scorecard

Notts suffered a dramatic collapse after Luke Fletcher’s 5-50 put them back in the game against Essex.

Stuart Broad removed Alastair Cook early for 31 and they reduced Essex to 158-8 despite Nick Browne’s 67.

Simon Harmer (43) and Peter Siddle (40 not out) added 81 before Fletcher cleaned up the tail and they were all out for 241 with a lead of only 54.

Notts were 70-0 but lost six wickets for 20, four of them to Harmer, and reached stumps on 90-6, just 36 ahead.

Having been bowled out for 187 on the opening day, the visitors needed something special from their bowlers and after Essex resumed on 68-0, a uncharacteristic loose stroke from Cook saw him caught at third slip in the fourth over of play.

From 124-2, the 2017 champions lost six wickets for 38 either side of lunch, including Browne, but Harmer and Siddle kept the Notts attack at bay for 23 overs before Fletcher, armed with the new ball, picked up their last two wickets in successive overs.

Luke Fletcher

The two Bens – Duckett and Slater – cleared the first-innings deficit before the introduction of the off-spin of Harmer (4-32) tilted the game back, perhaps decisively, towards Essex.

He separated the Notts opening pair when Duckett (37) needlessly lofted to mid-off and found turn and bounce to pick up three more wickets, including Steven Mullaney and Samit Patel caught at short leg by Ryan ten Doeschate from successive balls – the second catch a superb diving effort to his left.

Siddle and Jamie Porter also claimed a wicket each to leave Notts facing the prospect of a three-day defeat, barring a major innings by Chris Nash, who reached 13 not out as partners came and went at the other end.