Perhaps with the facts of a funny old day.
First, the Notts first innings was over in a flash.
Resuming on 292-9, the second day was just nine balls old when Joey Evison was trapped leg-before trying to work Jordan Thompson into the leg-side without addition to his overnight 58.
The hosts were all-out for 296, and their failure to reach 300 and a third batting bonus point effectively ended their title hopes, which are now reliant on victory in this game (the easiest bit on paper) and a draw between Lancashire and Hampshire at Liverpool, plus Warwickshire not beating Somerset at Edgbaston (the hardest bits on paper).
Realistically, Nottinghamshire, like Yorkshire, are playing for a place in the Bob Willis Trophy – a meaningless match between the first and second-placed sides in Division One next week which potentially only detracts from the achievement of the former should they lose and prolongs an over-long season. What’s not to hate?
Back to the mosquito pondering which bits of flesh to bite first...
There was certainly plenty to go at in the Yorkshire first innings. That, too, was over in a flash – a mere 29.2 overs, to be exact, as the visitors were shot out for 73 – their second-lowest first-class total this century, behind their 50 against Essex at Chelmsford in 2018, when, remarkably, they hit back to win.
Doing so here will be extremely difficult, for when stumps were drawn on a sunny evening, with the weather playing ball for the Championship’s final round, Yorkshire were 169-3, still 54 behind.
Adam Lyth remained unbeaten on 74, his first Championship fifty since April, the opener having shared 103 for the second wicket with Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who hit 49. Kohler-Cadmore’s departure in the penultimate over, leg-before playing back to left-arm spinner Liam Patterson-White, followed by that of nightwatchman Matthew Fisher in the final over, leg-before pushing forward to Dane Paterson, was a sting in the tail in no uncertain terms.
The difference between the two Yorkshire innings was nonetheless pronounced.
In their first essay, as the old writers used to term it, Yorkshire were the proverbial rabbits in headlights, seemingly unable to stop the rot.
Luke Fletcher, the 33-year-old who is the Championship’s leading wicket-taker this season, struck with the final two balls of the third over of the innings from the Radcliffe Road end, its white seats gleaming in the late-morning sunshine, as George Hill edged low to third slip and Kohler-Cadmore was bowled for a golden duck, the off stump disturbed.
Having lost their first two wickets with the score on five, Yorkshire lost their next two with the total on 21, Lyth leg-before shouldering arms to Brett Hutton and Will Fraine – once of this parish – caught behind off the redoubtable Fletcher.
The theme of wickets in pairs continued when another two fell on 45, Evison swinging back a toe-crusher to trap Thompson in front and then inducing Matthew Revis to edge to first slip.
At 45-6, Yorkshire were in the mire, with the home bowlers having found a better length than they themselves had found on the first day.
When Harry Brook aimed a booming off-drive at Evison and was caught behind, a poor shot possibly born out of frustration at the prevailing predicament, Yorkshire were 60-7 which became 63-8 right on lunch when Harry Duke, who had kept wicket so well and held six catches, just one shy of David Bairstow’s Yorkshire record, was bowled for a duck by Paterson.
It took the hosts 20 minutes to wrap things up after the break, another two wickets falling on the same score when Dom Bess cut Evison to first slip and Paterson had Fisher caught behind. Thompson’s 16 was the highest score, comprising a quartet of fours in the same over off Fletcher, the eighth and last of his opening spell, which proved to be the proverbial over too far.
With 60 overs left in the day’s play, the home team’s tails up and the weather set fair, plus the possibility of an extra half-hour if required, Yorkshire faced the prospect of what they themselves inflicted recently on Somerset at Scarborough – a two-day defeat.
It is one of cricket’s truisms, however, that lightning rarely strikes twice and Lyth and Hill set the tone for a much better display with an opening stand of 65 that contained a number of sweetly-struck boundaries, with Lyth unfurling some glorious offside shots and Hill impressing straight down the ground.
It took a fine piece of fielding to break the stand, Calvin Harrison, substituting for Haseeb Hameed (thumb), producing a direct hit to run out Hill after Lyth sought a single out into the covers.