On the penultimate day of action in the LV= County Championship, Surrey cemented their promotion to Division One at the expense of Hampshire; Northamptonshire completed victory over Gloucestershire; and Middlesex went a step closer to being crowned Division Two champions following an excellent day against Leicestershire.
Of the title challengers, Durham were eliminated from the race by events at The Rose Bowl; while Warwickshire emerged as slight favourites in what is now a two-way battle with Lancashire. We round up the day’s events below.
Durham’s title hopes may have ended on the penultimate day of the Championship season but they look on course for a consolation victory over Worcestershire tomorrow. They were bowled out for 388 in their second innings to set the visitors 365 to win thanks to half-centuries from Michael Di Venuto (55), Mark Stoneman (75), Dale Benkenstein (63) and Ian Blackwell (59); Gareth Andrew taking four wickets for the Pears. Worcestershire then closed on 65 for two with Graham Onions taking both wickets.
Warwickshire took 13 Hampshire wickets on the third day at The Rose Bowl to take them to within touching distance of the title. They bowled the hosts out for 324 in their first innings, in spite of Liam Dawson carrying his bat for 152, as Chris Metters and Chris Wright each took three wickets. Metters then struck twice after the Royals had been asked to follow-on as they closed on 43 for three – still trailing by 126 runs.
Nottinghamshire’s middle-order crumbled on the third day against Sussex at Trent Bridge as they were asked to follow-on by the visitors. Resuming on 132 for one, they collapsed to 311 all out as Naved Arif and Monty Panesar shared six wickets. Karl Turner, Darren Bravo and Chris Read were the only Notts batsmen to pass fifty. In their second innings, they lost Alex Hales early on to Amjad Khan, but Turner impressed again, this time with 42, before he fell before the close to leave the home side on 103 for four.
Lancashire appear on course for victory over Somerset at Taunton after they managed to haul themselves up to 480 in their first innings. All eleven batsmen reached double figures, with Steven Croft (50) and Kyle Hogg (46) in particular impressing. Murali Kartik ended with five wickets for the home side after a marathon 45 over spell. Somerset then closed on 105 for five in their second innings, with Kyle Hogg taking two wickets to bring up 50 for the season.
Middlesex’s last two wickets added 101 more runs this morning as they were finally bowled out for 502 in their first innings. Gareth Berg took his overnight 70 to 130, and his ninth wicket stand with Tim Murtagh (55) to 172 to frustrate the Leicestershire bowlers; Jigar Naik ending with figures of three for 156. James Taylor (80) and Greg Smith (58) then shared a third wicket stand of 121 in the Foxes second innings after Murtagh had removed both openers in quick succession, but Ollie Rayner struck thrice in the evening session to reduce them to 222 for seven by stumps – a lead of just 39 runs.
Northamptonshire completed the expected victory over Gloucestershire on day three at Wantage Road. The visitors resumed their second innings on 84 for five and were soon all out for 185 as David Willey ended with 10 wickets in the match for the first time in his career. This left the home side needing just 26 to win, which they knocked off inside four overs for the loss of Rob Newton.
Surrey sealed promotion with a commanding third day performance against Derbyshire at The Oval. They took 13 Derbyshire wickets for just 165 runs in all during the course of the day, as Pragyan Ojha ended with match figures of 10 for 90 to help bowl the visitors out for 190 and 152. Derbyshire’s last three first innings wickets could muster only 13 more runs between them at the start of the day as Paul Borrington’s stubborn resistance ended on 87; and they were even worse second time around as, after being asked to follow-on, they collapsed to the spin of Pragyan Ojha who took six for 42 to condemn them to an innings-and-126-run defeat.
Glamorgan declared their first innings on 423 for nine on the third day of their floodlit match against Kent at Canterbury. Stewart Walters reached his century and took his fifth wicket stand with Mark Wallace (57) to 106 before he eventually fell for 147. This gave the visitors a 186-run lead on first innings which they made good use of by reducing Kent to 148 for five at stumps, with Dean Cosker and Nick James each picking up a brace of wickets.
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Durham v Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Hampshire v Warwickshire at The Rose Bowl
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Sussex at Trent Bridge
Day Four, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Lancashire at Taunton
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Kent v Glamorgan at Canterbury
Day Four, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Middlesex at Grace Road
County News in Brief
Gloucestershire have announced that they have released Vikram Banerjee prior to his contract ending at the end of the year. He is expected to pursue opportunities outside cricket.
Darren Stevens has become the latest player to criticise the pink ball, saying that it is difficult to pick up.
Somerset have confirmed that Nick Compton will be fit for the Clydesdale Bank 40 Final on Saturday.
© Cricket World 2011