The eleventh round of the LV= County Championship continued today and managed to avoid most of the showers. Lancashire completed victory inside two days on a controversial pitch at Old Trafford, while Kevin Pietersen’s comeback was held up by Andrew Gale and new England team-mate Gary Ballance at Headingley. Elsewhere, Worcestershire took control over Glamorgan and Leicestershire spurned chances to do likewise against Essex.
Somerset closed the opening day at Derby on 16 without loss after bowling the hosts out for 266. They inserted Derbyshire upon winning the toss and were held up early on by a 50 from skipper Wayne Madsen. However, the home side’s middle-order failed to fire and they slipped to 141 for six before rallying thanks knocks of 56 from Richard Johnson and 49 from Tony Palladino. Jamie Overton and Alfonso Thomas emerged as the picks of the Somerset attack with three wickets each.
Kevin Pietersen spent the first day of his cricketing comeback in the field as Andrew Gale and Gary Ballance held up Surrey at Headingley. After slipping to 77 for three, Gale and Ballance added 204 for the fourth-wicket before the latter became the first in a late Jon Lewis double-strike when on 90. Gale remained until the close and has 114 with Yorkshire on 292 for five.
Lancashire wrapped up victory inside two days over Division Two leaders Northamptonshire at Old Trafford. After 18 wickets fell yesterday, there were a further 14 today as Lancashire won by eight wickets after comfortably chasing down their target of 73 in the fourth innings. They had earlier extended their first innings lead to 97 by being bowled out for 159 and then promptly had the visitors 80 for seven in their second innings as Luke Procter struck twice on his way to figures of four for 39. Andrew Hall and David Murphy, though, both passed 50 - becoming the batsmen in the match to do so - and shared 89 for the eighth-wicket. Hall was eventually out to Procter for 55, with Simon Kerrigan wrapping up the innings by dismissing Murphy for 50.
Moeen Ali completed his maiden first-class double-hundred on day two at New Road as Worcestershire declared on 505 for seven. Ali was finally out for 250, with Ben Cox unbeaten on 40 when Daryl Mitchell called his men in shortly afterwards. Glamorgan then slipped to 164 for five by stumps as Alan Richardson and Jack Shantry each struck twice. Jim Allenby at least provides the visitors with some hope and is not out on 56, having added an unbroken 66 with skipper Mark Wallace (18 not out).
Leicestershire ended an evenly-matched first day against Essex on 268 for seven at Grace Road. Openers Greg Smith (27) and Niall O’Brien added 58 to set the tone for the day; one of partnerships of note but not of match-defining significance. The biggest was the one worth 64 between Shiv Thakor (54) and Michael Thornely (37 not out) for the seventh-wicket. O’Brien was the day’s top-scorer with 67, while Graham Napier continued his good season by taking four for 78 for Essex.
The Yorkshire Bank 40 Group A Match between the Netherlands and Warwickshire was abandoned without a ball bowled due to rain in Amstelveen.
Harry Gurney took five wickets but Nottinghamshrire lost their unbeaten record as they collapsed to defeat against Sussex at Trent Bridge. The visitors were held to a modest 223 for nine by Gurney in spite of a fourth-wicket stand of 90 between skipper Ed Joyce (58) and Matt Machan (68). The Outlaws then appeared to be crusing towards their target at 100 for two in the 21st over, but Samit Patel's wild slog when on 45 preceded a collapse of seven for 47. Chris Liddle ended with three for 21 as they were all out for 173, with James Taylor's 48 the top score.
Gloucestershire had a torrid time on the opening day of their tour match against Australia A. Chadd Sayers took three wickets as they closed on 104 for five after watching the tourists rack up 331 for four prior to declaring. Nic Maddinson was the bowlers’ chief tormentor, following up his lightning-fast century against Ireland last week with another today. He struck 181 off only 143 balls and did the bulk of the scoring in stands of 103 with Jordan Silk (41) and 133 with Phil Hughes (47).
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