Draws now look inevitable at Old Trafford and Canterbury, but the match at Edgbaston is nicely set up going into the final day. Elsewhere, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire all enjoyed outstanding days in the LV= County Championship.
A mammoth second-wicket partnership between Alex Lees and Phil Jaques helped Yorkshire dominate day one at Chesterfield. Adam Lyth fell caught behind in Mark Footitt’s opening over, but Jaques and Lees added 311. Lees celebrated his new Yorkshire contract (see News In Brief) by reaching three figures off 163 balls, with Jaques following suit a little later off 174 balls. The Australian finally gave Derbyshire a second wicket when on 139, but Lees remained and is unbeaten on 171.
Nottinghamshire closed on 38 for none after being set a daunting 427 to beat defending champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston. The day began with the visitors hopeful of getting close to the Bears’ 463, but they lost Michael Lumb early and never recovered and were all out for 217. Jeetan Patel ended with four for 60, while Keith Barker returned figures of three for 44. The Nottinghamshire bowlers did their best to keep their side in the contest and reduced the hosts to 75 for five in their second innings. Fifties from Chris Woakes and Rikki Clarke, however, helped their side rally to declare their second innings on 180 for six.
Ed Joyce hit a century but Sussex were still bowled out for just 229 on the opening day against Middlesex. Joyce was a virtual lone hand for the home side and made 101 as Gareth Berg took three for 49 and there were two wickets apiece for Tim Murtagh, Gurjit Sandhu and Neil Dexter.
Division Two leaders Lancashire enjoyed a good day at Old Trafford. They reached stumps on 423 for five in their first innings in reply to Glamorgan’s 474, with the draw now looking the only result possible. Internationals Ashwell Prince and Simon Katich both hit centuries and put on 157 to follow the opening stand of 99 between Luis Reece (53) and Karl Brown (48). Luke Procter then ended on 53 not out, while Graham Wagg was the pick of the visitors’ attack with two for 95.
A draw also looks inevitable at Canterbury. Kent amassed 513 in reply to Hampshire’s 405 for nine declared and head into the final day with a lead of 93 runs. Daniel Bell-Drummond fell early to James Tomlinson (three for 72), but Rob Key and Brendan Nash added 113 for third-wicket. Key finally fell for 180, but Nash remained to shepherd the middle-order past Hampshire’s total before being seventh man out for 126.
Ned Eckersley hit a fourth career century as Leicestershire reached stumps on 328 for four on the opening day against Essex. Openers Greg Smith (46) and Niall O’Brien (51) added 91 before falling in quick succession, with Eckersley then taking over. He put on 97 with Shiv Thakor (36) for the fourth-wicket and an unbroken 116 with captain Matthew Boyce (37 not out) for the fifth. Tymal Mills and Tom Craddock each took a brace of wickets for Essex.
Gloucestershire dominated day one of their match at Cheltenham. When Worcestershire slipped to 22 for six after electing to bat, attentions might have again turned to the pitch. However, the Pears recovered to post 182, while Gloucestershire responded with 83 for none. Four wickets fell with the score on 18 at the start of the day as six wickets fell for four runs in all. All-rounders Joe Leach and Gareth Andrew, though, helped avert embarrassment and hit half-centuries during a stand of 120. James Fuller was the best of good bunch of Gloucestershire bowlers and returned figures of five for 43 from 19 overs.
Northamptonshire moved to the top of the Midlands/Wales/West Group in the Friends Life t20 after beating Somerset by 10 runs at Wantage Road. David Willey delivered a superb penultimate over that went for just six and picked up the wicket of Jos Buttler to leave the visitors needing 20 from the final over bowled by Mohammad Azharullah. The Somerset run chase had got off to a good start as Marcus Trescothick (22 off 12 balls) and Craig Kieswetter (38 off 40) added 38 in 4.3 overs. However, only Buttler performed thereafter as Azharullah ended with three for 16 from four overs.
The Steelbacks had earlier suffered a nightmare start after opting to bat as they lost both overseas player, Richard Levi and Cameron White, in the first over to Yasir Arafat (three for 21). Kyle Coetzer begant the rebuild with 34, but it was Steven Crook who took the game by the scruff of the neck. He hit four sixes during a knock of 63 off 36 balls that propelled Northants to 150 for eight from their 20 overs.
day two, LV=CCD1, Derbyshire v Yorkshire at Chesterfield
day two, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Middlesex at Hove
day four, LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston
day two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Leicestershire at Chelmsford
day two, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Worcestershire at Cheltenham
day four, LV=CCD2, Kent v Hampshire at Canterbury
day four, LV=CCD2, Lancashire v Glamorgan at Old Trafford
Weather Forecast: Another baking hot day will greet the nation’s cricketers tomorrow as temperatures peak at around 28 degrees Celsius under largely clear blue skies.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Somerset could lose the services of England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler when his contract with them expires at the end of the season according to the Bristol Post. Buttler is keen to keep wicket in one-day cricket for the county in order to enhance his England prospects and thought he had received guarantees to that effect earlier in the season. However, Crag Kieswetter has donned the gloves in the last two Friends Life t20 matches, leaving Buttler frustrated.
Yorkshire have signed three of their young players on new contracts which will see them remain at Headingley until the end of 2015. Batsmen Alex Lees and Jack Leaning and wicket-keeper batsman Dan Hodgson are the players who have agreed to the extensions. There was no such luck for left-arm spinner Gurman Randhawa, who has not been offered a new deal.
© Cricket World 2013