Wickets tumbled on the opening day of matches in round two of the LV= County Championship as the overcast conditions and myriad of stoppages due to persistent showers made life a misery for batsmen.
Varun Chopra’s unbeaten 40 in WARWICKSHIRE’s effort of 111 for three was the highest score of the day at Edgbaston. Chris Wright (four for 47), Keith Barker (two for 34) and Rikki Clarke (two for 13) combined to bowl out SOMERSET for just 147 – a total which was boosted by Vernon Philander’s cameo of 38 – after they had won the toss and elected to bat. Chopra anchored the home side’s reply and eventually found a reliable partner in the form of Darren Maddy (24 not out) after the Bears had been reduced to 58 for three thanks to an excellent spell from Adam Dibble (two for 24).
Only 216 runs were scored for the loss of 13 wickets at the Riverside as DURHAM closed on 55 for three in reply to NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’s 161 all out. James Taylor (32) and Chris Read (28) had helped the visitors to recover from a poor start with a fourth-wicket stand of 66, but Graham Onions (four for 42) and Mitchell Claydon (three for 33) polished off the Outlaws’ middle and lower-order. Ben Stokes followed his earlier brace of wickets with an unbeaten 18 as Durham closed 106 runs adrift.
MIDDLESEX closed on a relatively respectable 225 for nine in the first Championship game of the summer at Lord’s. Sam Robson continued to show why he is so highly rated by the Middlesex hierarchy with a combative 40 at the top of the order, before he succumbed to Jon Lewis (two for 56). Dawid Malan then provided the ballast in the middle of the innings to close undefeated on 62, and shared a crucial eighth-wicket stand of 53 with Tim Murtagh (31). For SURREY, Jade Dernbach emerged as the pick of the attack with three for 33 – a haul which included the prize wickets of Neil Dexter and Chris Rogers.
Michael Yardy ended unbeaten on 70 to put SUSSEX into a commanding position at the close of day one against defending champions LANCASHIRE at Liverpool.
The home side were bowled out for just 124 in their first innings, with only three batsmen reaching double figures as James Anyon ended with five for 36. Steven Croft top-scored with 50 from 96 balls for Lancashire and shared a stand of 41 with Glen Chapple (23) for the seventh wicket, before he was one of Amjad Khan’s two victims. Ed Joyce (48 not out) and Yardy then helped Sussex recover from a shaky start of 15 for three to take them to stumps on 137 without further loss.
In Division Two, KENT once again showed why they are dark horses for promotion with a dominant display against NORTHAMPTONSHIRE at Wantage Road. They dismissed the home side for 132 thanks to three wickets apiece from seamers Charlie Shreck, Matt Coles and Darren Stevens before replying with 127 for three. Ben Harmison (46) and Brendan Nash (40 not out) contributed the bulk of that total with a third-wicket partnership of 83.
Only 60 overs were possible at The Rose Bowl as heavy showers reduced the day’s play by at least a third. I the play that was possible GLOUCESTERSHIRE managed to recover from the perilous position of 87 for four to close on 195 for four courtesy of determined half-centuries from Ian Cockbain (52 not out from 118 balls) and Chris Dent (59 not out from 171). David Balcombe had taken three of the first four wickets to fall for HAMPSHIRE as the visitors’ top-order endured its customary wobble before Dent and Cockbain’s rally.
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