There was a backs-to-the-wall win for a beleaguered Essex on the third day at Chelmsford as they chased down their target of 143 despite being reduced to 31 for six. Elsewhere, Jonny Bairstow ad Joe Root made huge scores against Derbyshire; Durham manoeuvred themselves into a good position against Nottinghamshire; and Gloucestershire’s lower-order mounted a stirring fightback at Grace Road.
Runs continued to flow on the third day at Headingley as England stars Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root made hay against the Derbyshire bowlers. The pair added 231 for the fourth-wicket as Root followed up his match-winning century against Durham with a career-best 236 off 336 balls. Bairstow was dismissed late on by Wes Durston for 186, but Gary Ballance is unbeaten on 50 with Yorkshire on 597 for five - a lead of 122 runs.
Durham took the upper hand against Nottinghamshire on the third day at Trent Bridge. Mark Wood struck three times and reduced the home side to 145 for five in their second innings, with only Michael Lumb showing any serious resistance with an unbeaten 77. Durham’s lower-order had earlier helped their side take a 151-run first innings lead as Gareth Breese made 44, Mark Wood 58 not out and Graham Onions 26. In all, the last three wickets added 158 runs as Durham were all out for 471.
Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott both passed 50 on their return to cricketing action for Warwickshire at Hove. The county champions reached stumps on day one against Sussex on 276 for four, with Trott unbeaten on 87. Varun Chopra and William Porterfield added 67 for the first-wicket after the Bears had won the toss, with Chopra and Trott then sharing 74 for the second-wicket prior to the former’s departure 13 short of his century. The England men then took the game away from the home side and added 131 for the third-wicket.
Kent were bowled out for 271 at stumps on the first day against Northamptonshire. Trent Copeland took five for 71 for the Division Two leaders after the home side had won the toss and elected to bat. From 55 for three, Mike Powell and Daniel Bell-Drummond both hit half-centuries for Kent during a fourth-wicket stand of 149. Copeland then wrapped up the innings, while Steven Crook ended with three for 78.
Gloucestershire overcame a top-order collapse to earn a slender first innings lead over Leicestershire at Grace Road. On day one, the Foxes had slipped to 52 for five only to rally to make 250, but Gloucestershire’s recovery today was even more spectacular. Ollie Freckingham (four for 69) and Robbie Williams (four for 69) were their tormentors early on and reduced them to 46 for five. However, Hamish Marshall and Benny Howell added 61 for the sixth-wicket, with Howell then sharing 67 with Will Gidman (52) for the seventh and 40 with Jack Taylor for the eight before he was dismissed by Claude Henderson for 52 off 160 balls. Taylor ended not out on 61 off 69 balls and added a further 51 with last man Craig Miles (23) as the visitors were finally bowled out for 280. Will Gidman then removed both Leicestershire openers early in their second dig as they reached stumps on 32 for two.
Michael Hogan and John Glover each took three wickets as Lancashire were bundled out for 123 on the first day at Colwyn Bay. They lost opener Paul Horton second ball for a duck and never really recovered. Luke Procter was one of only four men to reach double figures and top-scored with 26. Besides Glover and Hogan, there were two wickets for Mike Reed and one each for Jim Allenby and Marcus North. Glamorgan then lost an opener early in their reply but rallied to close on 110 for four despite James Anderson continuing his excellent form by taking three wickets.
Graham Napier hit his second important innings of the match as Essex defeated Hampshire late on the third day at Chelmsford. After beings set 143 to win in the fourth innings, Essex collapsed spectacularly to 31 for six as James Tomlinson and David Balcombe each struck twice and two batsmen were run out. Napier, though, ended on 78 off 88 balls and added an unbroken 122 with Mark Pettini (35 not out) for the seventh-wicket to guide his side to a vitally important win that could yet prove to be season-defining.
Earlier, Hampshire had lost their last five second innings wickets for the addition of only 11 runs as Ravi Bopara took three of them and they were all out for 199. Liam Dawson and James Vince had looked to have put the visitors in a promising position with fifties, but Vince was dismissed by David Masters (five for 41) for 67 and the rest soon followed.
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