Nottinghamshire 276 for 2 (Hameed 115, Montgomery 101*) vs Durham
Hundreds for Haseeb Hameed and Matthew Montgomery helped Nottinghamshire put together exactly the opening day they had hoped for as they seek to clinch promotion to Division One in their final LV= Insurance County Championship match of the season.
Hameed's 115 and Montgomery's 101 not out - his maiden first-class century - helped Nottinghamshire close on 276 for 2 against Durham, knowing that a draw will guarantee they go up and that a victory wins the Division Two title.
Montgomery, a 22-year-old right-hand batter who is covering for England's Ben Duckett in the No. 3 slot, is in only his fourth first-class match for the county, but already looks an outstanding prospect.
Hameed's reputation is long established. This was his fourth century of the season and his 12th all told, his 1186 runs this summer almost matching the 1198 he made for Lancashire in his sensational first full season in 2016.
The difference between the Hameed of today and his 19-year-old self of textbook correctness six years ago is that his runs this year have come from almost 40% fewer deliveries. Given the torrid time he suffered on the Ashes tour last winter, it has been a hugely impressive comeback.
Nottinghamshire's plans had the perfect start when the toss allowed them the choice to bat first and a largely comfortable morning session on a pitch tailored to their ends saw them progress to 94 for 1 at lunch.
Ben Slater punched the opening delivery of the match through the off side for four and the contest between bat and ball thereafter was dominated by the former. The Durham seam attack, led by Ben Raine and England's Matt Potts, induced a few streaky moments with the new ball but only one wicket. Slater, who had been dropped on 18 at second slip off Ollie Gibson, was caught behind for 23 off Raine, via what looked like an inside edge.
Otherwise, there was very little doing for any of the bowlers, including spinners Liam Trevaskis and George Drissell. As Hameed drove Trevaskis handsomely through the extra cover area for his ninth boundary, taking a single next ball for an 89-ball fifty, a substantial total already looked on the cards.
The next 30 overs did nothing to change that assessment. Indeed, it strengthened it, Hameed completing his hundred off 145 balls.
There had been 14 fours, no chances offered and few deliveries troubling him much, although as it happened the one from which he reached the milestone took him by surprise as Jonathan Bushnell, the 21-year-old Durham had picked as their fourth seamer, dropped one in short. It required Hameed, with his weight shifting on to his front foot, to readjust and play the ball from in front of his face, yet he did so adroitly, playing it into the ground and clenching a celebratory first even as he set off for a comfortable single.
There had been no reason to believe he would not still be there at tea, yet he failed two overs ahead of the break as Potts, six overs into his third spell of the day, found a bit of life in a 63-overs-old and moved it enough to square Hameed up a touch and find the outside edge, Scott Borthwick diving to his left at second slip to take a very good catch.
The second-wicket partnership added 180, a record for that wicket for Nottinghamshire against Durham. Montgomery, batting with maturity and assuredness, had been no junior partner.
He had 12 fours to his name in his 84 at tea - already his highest first-class score - and moved into the 90s a couple of overs later, after which, showing no signs of nerves or impatience in the 10 overs that followed, he completed the hundred by cutting Trevaskis for an easy single. He had hit 14 fours and faced 198 balls.
Against the second new ball, Joe Clarke survived a chance to the wicketkeeper off Potts on 27 before bad light forced an early finish, with 11.3 overs remaining.