|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Trent Bridge, Nottingham (day one):|
|Nottinghamshire 213: Mullaney 74, Patel 39; Siddle 3-38, Porter 3-49, Beard 3-62|
|Essex 72-1: Browne 39*, Westley 25*; Broad 1-20|
|Nottinghamshire (1 pt) lead Essex (3 pts) by 141 runs|
Essex maintained their title chase at Trent Bridge as bottom side Nottinghamshire collapsed again.
Skipper Steven Mullaney (74) gave the hosts a solid platform, but once he fell to Aaron Beard (3-62), Notts lost five wickets for just 27 runs.
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made just five on debut before Peter Siddle (3-38) wrapped up the innings for 213.
England bowler Stuart Broad removed his former skipper Alistair Cook early for two, but Essex eased to 72-1 at stumps.
Winless Notts have earned just 10 batting points from eight matches this season, and only late-order runs from Samit Patel and Broad took them past 200 this time, the pair adding 43 for the ninth wicket.
Mullaney shared stands of 58 with Ben Slater, and 55 with Chris Nash as the hosts moved to a promising 126-2, looking to build a competitive total on a decent batting track.
But Notts again showed their brittle side, with three batsmen guilty of being caught down the legside by Essex wicketkeeper Adam Wheater, as they lost six wickets in the afternoon session.
The Essex batsmen struggled early in reply as Broad found Cook’s edge for wicketkeeper Tom Moores to take the catch, while Luke Fletcher and Ashwin causing further problems.
But Nick Browne (39*) and Tom Westley (25*) battled through and began to look more assured, building the day’s highest partnership – an unbroken stand of 68.
Essex, who beat leaders Somerset last time out to close the gap at the top of Division One to 13 points, are chasing a fifth win in six matches.
Notts head coach Peter Moores:
“It’s disappointing for us. It’s a good pitch and it was a good toss to win. We couldn’t go on and capitalise, so we have to take that on the chin.
“There’s nothing we can do about that now, but we are going to have to bowl well to keep a foothold in the game.
“With three days left, we are going to have to play very well with the ball, and then second innings when we bat again.”
Essex wicketkeeper Adam Wheater:
“All credit to our bowlers – Sids (Peter Siddle), Ports (Jamie Porter) and Harmy (Simon Harmer) have been world class for a while now, and it’s good to see Beardy come in and take his opportunity.
“It was great for him to come in last week and get a few wickets, and he’s done the same here. It’s great for his confidence and great for the squad.
“Notts have got a quality attack, so it will be tough, but we are up for the challenge.”