Batting coach Ben Smith hopeful Northants can rally against Notts

Tom Taylor celebrates claiming the wicket of Ben Duckett (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Tom Taylor celebrates claiming the wicket of Ben Duckett (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Tom Taylor celebrates claiming the wicket of Ben Duckett (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Batting coach Ben Smith struggled to explain the damaging Northants batting collapse that has seen them very much on the back foot in their County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire.

The visitors will go into day three on Saturday trailing by just one run and with six wickets in hand, after Northants were bowled out for just 155 in their first innings.

The County had been looking well set at 113 for two with Ricardo Vasconcelos (62) and Saif Zaib (35) at the crease, but the latter's dismissal sparked an alarming collapse as seven wickets were lost for just seven runs.

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In gloomy conditions and with the floodlights on, there were ducks for Rob Keogh, James Sales, Harry Gouldstone and Jordan Buckingham as Northants slumped to 130 for nine, before a late rally from Gareth Berg (23) lifted the total beyond 150.

Former Northants man Brett Hutton led the way for Notts, claiming five for 37, before the visitors made 154 for four in reply, Joe Clarke unbeaten on 41 and Ben Duckett making 39. Tom Taylor claimed two wickets for Northants.

"Losing seven wickets for 17 runs, nobody sees that as a positive," admitted Smith.

“I think it's a mixture of two or three things really.

"Notts bowled very well, the bowlers seemed to get a lot more out of the surface in that period of time.

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"The other thing really was, I think we sort of went into a little bit of a survival mode and tried to ride the storm and that sort of didn't really work in our favour at that given time.

"And again, I think that the one thing for me is if the players are going out there with their plans, and they're sticking to their plans and they're looking to execute their plans and trusting their processes, then we can't ask any more than that.

"I think it's more disappointing to set the innings up the way we did, and then to have that collapse took it away from us."

Northants will be hoping to restrict the visitors' lead when play resumes, and Smith feels the game has not yet got away.

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"We have to take early wickets, and we want to restrict them as much as we can so there is not too big a lead," he said.

"We will then re-evaluate the way we go out to bat before our second innings and we will go from there.

"It's first division cricket. We're going to come up against this, and we know this, we've played it last season and we did well.

"We know we're capable of performing against teams like this and bowling attacks like this. And it's up to us as a group but also individuals to dig deep and make sure we can provide that."

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The one positive on the batting front was a second successive half-century for Vasconcelos, and asked if he thinks the opener is getting back to his best, Smith said: “Yeah he is.

"That was brilliant to see. That innings of his today was worth a lot more runs on quicker outfield, pitches that were aren’t quite as spicy."