There was last-ball drama at Aigburth as Gloucestershire only narrowly escaped with a draw against Lancashire. Elsewhere, there was a tense nine-run win in the Yorkshire Bank 40 for Worcestershire and a debut Surrey century for Ricky Ponting.
Centuries from Arun Harinath and Ricky Ponting saw Surrey close day three at Derby on 362 for four in reply to the home side’s 452. Ponting, playing his first game for Surrey, and Harinath added 180 for the third-wicket, with Ponting ending the day not out on 120. David Wainwright was the pick of the Derbyshire attack with two for 91, but the game is now almost certain to be a draw with Surrey trailing by 90 runs but with six wickets in hand.
Sussex responded strongly to Nottinghamshire’s 356, closing day two at Hove on 290 for six. Luke Wells and Ed Joyce each made 59 as all of the top-order chipped in. Ben Brown and Chris Jordan then added an unbroken 41 at the end of the day when Nottinghamshire might have sensed a way back into the match at 249 for six. Ajmal Shahzad had earlier boosted the Notts first innings total with a fourth career half-century before being last man out for 56.
In Division Two, Andrew Hall hit an unbeaten century as Northamptonshire recovered from their overnight 159 for five to finish on 425 for nine against Hampshire. They picked up three batting bonus points as Hall and Trent Copeland (61) added 112 before David Murphy joined Hall and they added a further 132. Murphy was out late for 81 on to give Jimmy Adams a rare first-class wicket, with the draw agreed soon after with Hall on 130.
Kent were given early hope in their push for victory at Grace Road, but it proved to be false as the game petered out into a draw. Leicestershire, facing a deficit of 167 on first innings, lost Niall O’Brien early, but Greg Smith and Ned Eckersley would remain together until hands were shook some 46.4 overs later, with both unbeaten on 65 and the home side on 139 for one. Kent had earlier resisted the lure of a fifth batting bonus point in order to try and force a win. They declared their first innings at 353 for three in the 79th over, with Rob Key and Brendan Nash both having reached three figures and Darren Stevens having fallen three short in his effort to follow suit.
Last man Liam Norwell had to survive one ball as Gloucestershire escaped with a draw by the slimmest of margins against Lancashire. They were set an unlikely 359 to win after Lancashire’s second innings had been wrapped up for 270 and lost wickets fairly regularly throughout. Alex Gidman top-scored with 46 as four Lancashire bowlers - Glen Chapple, Kyle Hogg, Simon Kerrigan and Andrea Agathangelou - each took a brace of wickets. Number nine Graeme McCarter faced 37 balls for his one as Gloucestershire fought hard late on, but he was dismissed to the penultimate ball of the match, meaning that last man Norwell had to walk out and face a solitary delivery.
Worcestershire were victorious in the Yorkshire Bank 40 despite a late charge from Steffan Piolet and Ateeq Javid at New Road. Warwickshire had slipped to 141 for eight in pursuit of their target of 211 as they struggled against the home side’s slower bowlers. Daryl Mitchell and Brett D’Oliveira each took three wickets. Piolet and Javid (40 not out off 40 balls) then added 47 in less than eight overs, but Piolet was out for 30 off 24 balls to Alan Richardson (two for 21), with last man Chris Wright run out without facing a ball. That left the Bears nine short of Worcestershire’s total of 210 for nine.
Moeen Ali and Mitchell had shared 95 for the first-wicket for the Pears as both passed 50, but they too struggled later on against the slower bowlers on a sluggish pitch. Jeetan Patel took three wickets, with Ateeq Javid (one for 37) and Darren Maddy (two for 27) both proving difficult to get away. Only Aneesh Kapil of the subsequent batsmen reached double figures with 42 as any late charge never materialised.
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