Kevin Pietersen was the headline act on another rain-swept day on the county circuit. He hit an unbeaten aggressive century against Yorkshire on his return from a knee injury. Elsewhere, Worcestershire kept their promotion hopes alive by wrapping up the win over Glamorgan and Middlesex thrashed the Unicorns in the Yorkshire Bank 40 at Southend-on-Sea.
Kevin Pietersen hit 177 not out off 188 balls on his return from injury as Surrey responded strongly to Yorkshire’s 433 for nine. They declared on 353 for seven with the draw now looking inevitable at Headingley. Surrey were in trouble at 76 for four before Pietersen came to the fore and did the bulk of the scoring in stands of 97 with Zander de Bruyn (38) and 118 with Steven Davies (44). Yorkshire then reached stumps in their second innings on 52 for one to lead by 132 runs going into day four.
Sussex captain Ed Joyce ended undefeated on 129 as his side closed day two against Nottinghamshire on 363 for four at Trent Bridge. He added 65 with Matt Prior (30) for the fourth-wicket and an unbroken 158 with Rory Hamilton-Brown for the fifth; the former Surrey captain ending on 77 not out to mark a welcome return to form.
Tony Palladino and Tim Groenewald each ended with five wickets as Derbyshire earnt a slender first innings lead over Somerset on day three. The visitors could extend their first innings to just 216 to trail by 50 runs. However, Steve Kirby struck twice early in the Derbyshire second innings to give Somerset hope as the home side closed on 36 for two.
Worcestershire completed victory over Glamorgan to move up to third in Division Two. The last three Glamorgan wickets did add 78 runs today as Will Owen and Michael Hogan fell narrowly short of half-centuries and Jim Allenby ended not out on 74. However, this still left the Pears needing just 51 in the fourth innings - a target they knocked off for the loss of two wickets inside 10 overs.
Leicestershire threatened to implode in their second innings and lead by just 37 runs going into the final day against Essex. Ryan ten Doeschate took two wickets as the home side closed on 91 for four in their second innings at Grace Road. Essex had earlier earnt a 54-run first innings lead as James Foster and Graham Napier took their overnight seventh-wicket partnership to 114. Napier made 52 off 80 balls, while Foster was ninth man out for 143. Matthew Hoggard was the pick of the Leicestershire attack with six for 66 on his first-team comeback.
Middlesex subjected the Unicorns to a seventh defeat in Group C of the Yorkshire Bank 40; the Panthers keeping their slender semi-final hopes alive in the process. The Unicorns began well at their nominal home ground at Garon Park and reached 91 for one thanks to a run-a-ball 53 from former Derbyshire opener Matt Lineker. However, a collapse followed as Tim Murtagh and young quick-bowler Tom Helm each ended with three wickets and they were dismissed for 170. Middlesex then lost Paul Stirling in the first over to Devon Endersby, but Dawid Malan and Joe Denly added an unbroken 168 as the win was sealed without further loss. Malan ended on 58 off 80 balls, with Denly on 99 off just 86.
Gloucestershire ended agonisingly short of completing a comeback win over Australia A in their tour match at Bristol. Despite conceding a 209-run first innings lead, they lost by just 24 runs. Resuming today on 162 for three in pursuit of 321, they lost regular wickets and slipped to 211 for seven. However, a late rally from the tail gave them hope. James Fuller hit 38 off 39 balls, while there was a last-wicket stand of 36 between Tom Smith (17 not out) and Liam Norwell (16). Chadd Sayers, though, had Norwell caught by Matthew Wade with the score on 296 to be one of three bowlers to end with three wickets for the innings - the others were Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird.
day four, LV=CCD1, Derbyshire v Somerset at Derby
day three, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Sussex at Trent Bridge
day four, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Surrey at Headingley
day four, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Essex at Grace Road
Group A, YB40, Northamptonshire v Worcestershire at Wantage Road (1540 BST start)
Weather Forecast: It will be much drier tomorrow. After an overcast start for most of the country, the sun will shine through with only patchy cloud. Temperatures peak at between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius.
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