Middlesex declared on 300 for nine – 123 behind Nottinghamshire’s first innings total – on the third day at Trent Bridge. Night-watchman Ollie Rayner was the star of the show and ended unbeaten on 143 from 255 balls. He shared a stand of 119 with Dawid Malan (46) for the fifth wicket after the visitors had lost Joe Denly in the third over of the day. They then made the slightly puzzling decision to declare, but were soon rewarded for their daring, and had reduced the home side to 22 for three at stumps thanks to a double strike from man-of-the-moment Rayner.
Surrey were forced to follow-on against Worcestershire as only three of their batsman made double figures in their first innings total of 113. Faced with some disciplined, but not unplayable, Worcestershire bowling, they slipped to 43 for eight and were in danger of being dismissed for their lowest ever first-class total against the Pears (57 in 1958); but George Edwards hit a determined 17 from number 10 and shared a ninth-wicket partnership of 60 with Jacques Rudolph, who hit a skittish 68. Richard Jones and David Lucas each ended with four wickets, while the evergreen Alan Richardson picked up the other two.
The visitors fared markedly better second time around – after recovering from a shaky start which had seen Mark Ramprakash bag a pair – and closed on 216 for four with Kevin Pietersen, Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Maynard all making fluent half-centuries.
In Division Two, Kent were finally dismissed for 225 in their rollercoaster of a first innings as, having come together at nine for five, Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones added 194 for the sixth wicket before Tom Westley took three quick wickets to wrap up the tail. All in all, the pair scored over 86 per cent of Kent’s runs in that one partnership, as they eventually fell for 119 and 88 respectively.
Essex lost Alastair Cook and Tom Westley to Mark Davies inside the first five overs, but reached stumps without further loss to close on 94 for two thanks to an excellent unbeaten 61 from Mark Pettini.
An eventful day at Bristol saw Yorkshire close on 30 for one in pursuit of 400 to win against Gloucestershire. They had earlier forfeited their first innings, with the hosts declaring their second on 48 without loss, in order to try and force a result. This followed Gloucestershire’s earlier declaration at 351 for nine in their first innings, which had included a bizarre unbroken tenth-wicket stand of 52 from 21 balls between Ian Saxelby and Graeme McCarter as the duo tucked into the part-time bowling of Adam Lyth and Andrew Gale. For Yorkshire, Tim Bresnan (five for 81) and Steven Patterson (four for 77) took nine of the wickets between them.
Hampshire finally got their match against Derbyshire underway at the third attempt and closed on 352 for eight, mainly thanks to an impressive second-wicket partnership of 164 between captain Jimmy Adams and new signing Bilal Shafayat. Shafayat was eventually out for 93 from 119 balls, with Adams reaching his century soon afterwards. Tony Palladino, Jonathan Clare and David Wainwright each took a brace of wickets for the visitors.
Northamptonshire took control of their match against Leicestershire at Grace Road, reducing the home side to 38 for two after declaring on 352 for seven. Resuming on 99 for three, Kyle Coetzer and Alex Wakely took the score to 208 before the latter fell for 63. Coetzer went on to notch up his sixth first-class century, while James Middlebrook (31 not out) and David Willey (45 not out) contributed useful cameos.
Stat of the day: There has now been a whole month – or 31 full days to be precise – of cricket washed out in this year’s County Championship, with the third day of the matches involving Sussex, Lancashire, Durham and Somerset the latest casualties.
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Durham v Somerset at Chester-le-Street
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Middlesex at Trent Bridge
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Lancashire at Hove
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Worcestershire v Surrey at New Road
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Essex v Kent at Chelmsford
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Yorkshire at Bristol
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Derbyshire at The Ageas Bowl
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Northamptonshire at Grace Road
Day Three, Tour Match, England Lions v West Indians at Wantage Road
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow promises to be a day of almost wall-to-wall sunshine – a welcome antidote after the recent wet weather – with only the occasional isolated shower forecast. In the sunshine temperatures should reach up to 15 degrees Celsius.
© Cricket World 2012