There were differing fortunes for the three LV= County Championship promotion hopefuls on the second day of the final round of matches. Rain played a role at Derby, while Robert Croft was Kent's destroyer at Cardiff. At Taunton, Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton ensured that Somerset more than capitalised on Abdur Rehman's first day heroics with a century apiece against Worcestershire.
Nottinghamshire closed day two exactly level with Warwickshire at Trent Bridge. They reached stumps on 49 for none in their second innings after bowling the visitors out for 204 in their first. Andy Carter picked up one of four remaining Warwickshire wickets to fall to end with figures of four for 55, while Paul Franks dispensed with two Bears batsmen. Sam Kelsall and Neil Edwards then successfully negotiated the 12.5 overs until the early close.
There was again no play at Aigburth, where Surrey and Lancashire are still waiting to get their match underway.
Nick Compton marked his cricketing comeback with a century to give the England selectors a timely nudge on the second day against Worcestershire at Taunton. That had followed an earlier century from captain Marcus Trescothick as the two put on 154 for the second-wicket following the loss of Arul Suppiah for 75. Alan Richardson and Moeen Ali fought back to end with three wickets apiece but Somerset closed on 451 for seven - a lead of 239 runs.
Sussex closed 96 runs ahead of Durham on day two at Chester-le-Street. Having bowled the home side out for 227 in their first innings, Sussex reached stumps on 112 for five in their second with Luke Wells steadfast and unbeaten on 51. Kirk Wernars had earlier taken two of the last four Durham wickets to fall, while Monty Panesar picked up one to end with figures of three for 45.
Derbyshire were forced to surrender the lead in Division Two after only 30 overs were possible on the second day of their match against Hampshire at the County Ground. Resuming on 50 for three, they progressed to 137 before losing their fourth-wicket as night-watchman Tony Palladino (58) and Usman Khawaja both made half-centuries. Sean Ervine removed Palladino and Dan Redfern not long before the close as the home side ended on 167 for five - Khawaja unbeaten on 71.
Shiv Thakor continued his impressive form and ended with 68 not out for Leicestershire on a truncated second day against Gloucestershire at Grace Road. Greg Smith's 77 was the other notable contribution as the home side closed on 220 for five - still 14 runs adrift of Gloucestershire.
Yorkshire had Moin Ashraf and Azeem Rafiq to thank for their excellent day two form at Chelmsford. They bowled the Essex out for 177 to leapfrog Derbyshire at the top of table as Ashraf and Rafiq shared seven wickets. Yorkshire, who had earlier been dismissed for 312 in their first innings, then closed on 44 for three in their second as Graham Napier struck thrice with the new ball.
Kent's promotion hopes lay in tatters after they were asked to follow-on against Division Two stragglers Glamorgan at Cardiff. Robert Croft took five for 31 in his final match for the home side as they collapsed from 96 for one to be all out for 170. Glamorgan had earlier extended their first innings total to 390 as John Glover (55) and Jim Allenby (125 not out) took their overnight ninth-wicket partnership to 128. Graham Wagg took two early wickets in Kent second innings as they closed on 33 for two.
Day Three, CCD1, Durham v Sussex at Chester-le-Street
Day Three, CCD1, Lancashire v Surrey at Aigburth
Day Three, CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire at Trent Bridge
Day Three, CCD1, Somerset v Worcestershire at Taunton
Day Three, CCD2, Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby
Day Three, CCD2, Essex v Yorkshire at Chelmsford
Day Three, CCD2, Glamorgan v Kent at Cardiff
Day Three, CCD2, Leicestershire v Gloucestershire at Grace Road
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow should be dry for all, with sunshine for the south and east and cloud further north. Temperatures will peak at between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Former Surrey cricketer Ron Tindall has died at the age of 76 in Australia. He played 172 first-class games for Surrey as well as playing professional football for Chelsea.
Warwickshire have confirmed that Saturday's Clydesdale Bank 40 final against Hampshire will be the last of Neil Carter's career. Carter is expected to formally announce his retirement from professional cricket in the coming days.
Leicestershire batsman Matt Boyce is to walk from John O'Groats to Land's End this winter in aid of mental health charity MIND, and more specifically depression in sport. To find out more, visit his website.
Nottinghamshire have announced that they will not be offering batsmen Scott Elstone and Karl Turner new deals at the end of the season.