The eighth round of the LV= County Championship got underway in earnest today and was played out under hazy blue skies as summer finally put in appearance in 2012.
Somerset’s batsmen hit back strongly against Durham’s seamers on the second day at Taunton. After losing Arul Suppiah early on to debutant Jamie Harrison (three for 88), Nick Compton, James Hildreth, Peter Trego and Craig Overton all made half-centuries to take the hosts to 357 for eight by the close. Liam Plunkett and Steve Harmison endured miserable returns to Championship cricket, ending with the combined figures of 23-2-129-1. Durham had earlier been dismissed for 384 in their first innings.
An Ashwell Prince-inspired Lancashire closed day one at Liverpool on 276 for four after winning the toss and choosing to bat against Middlesex. They lost three relatively early wickets, with hero-from-Edgbaston Paul Horton needlessly run-out by Joe Denly, but Prince and Steven Croft added 176 for the fourth-wicket to give the home side the upper hand. Croft was finally out to Tim Murtagh for 78, but Luke Procter joined Prince and the duo ended on 15 not out and 121 not out respectively.
Warwickshire showed just why they are adjudged champions-in-waiting with a sublime all-round display at The Oval. Surrey crumpled to 223 all out after winning the toss, with the much-improved Chris Wright ending with three for 42 and Keith Barker and Chris Woakes adding a brace apiece. The home side’s innings was a tale of wasted opportunities as all six of the top-order reached double figures without surpassing Tom Maynard’s score of 39. When it came to Warwickshire’s turn to bat, Varun Chopra (59 not out) and William Porterfield (32 not out) immediately showed how to go about things; overcoming the early loss of Ian Westwood to Jade Dernbach for five; to take the Bears to stumps on 106 for one.
In Division Two, an unbeaten century from Sean Ervine helped Hampshire compile an impressive total of 316 after being put into bat against Glamorgan. Seamer John Glover took three of the first five wickets to fall, with Will Owen taking the other two, to reduce the hosts to 96 for five at one point. However, Ervine added a crucial 63 for the sixth-wicket with Michael Bates (41) and an infuriating 85 for the tenth-wicket with David Balcombe (39) as the home side’s last five wickets more than trebled their score. Glamorgan then faced seven overs before the close and progressed to 13 without loss.
Eleven wickets fell on the opening day at Chelmsford as Essex were dismissed for 182 after electing to bat. They had reached 101 for three at one stage, but David Wainwright took five for 51 and they lost their last seven wickets for just 81 runs. Mark Pettini, with an obdurate 56 from 139 balls, was the highest score for the hosts, who then reduced Derbyshire to 37 for one at stumps.
Leicestershire’s fragile batting line-up folded against Kent’s seamers on the opening day at Canterbury as they were bowled out for just 141. Charlie Shreck took the first three wickets to fall before handing the baton over to Matt Coles, who cleaned up the middle-order on the way to figures of five for 41. The only bright point with the bat for Leicestershire was a determined seventh-wicket stand of 56 between Wayne White (38) and Ned Eckersley (31 not out). Matthew Hoggard brightened spirits further when he dismissed Sam Northeast to the first ball of Kent’s reply, but it was to prove a false dawn as Brendan Nash ended unbeaten on 50 to take his side to 104 for two at the close.
Northamptonshire’s batsmen made hay while the sun shone at Wantage Road, reaching 302 for four on the opening day against Gloucestershire. Stephen Peters (44) and James Middlebrook put on 79 for the first wicket, before the latter, along with Kyle Coetzer, added a further 134 for the second. Middlebrook – promoted to open due to Rob Newton’s broken wrist – was eventually out to captain Alex Gidman for 121, while his younger brother Will added the wickets of David Sales (17) and Alex Wakely (24) prior to the close.
Stat of the day: Lancashire captain Glen Chapple’s successful call at the toss represented only the second time in 13 home matches that Lancashire have won the toss.
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Lancashire v Middlesex at Liverpool
Day Three, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Durham at Taunton
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Warwickshire at The Oval
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Derbyshire at Chelmsford
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Glamorgan at Southampton
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Kent v Leicestershire at Canterbury
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire at Wantage Road
Group C, CB40, Sussex v Yorkshire at Hove (match starts at 1540 GMT)
Luke Wright has been named in the home side’s 12-man squad, with leg-spinner Will Beer and South African all-rounder Kirk Wernars also included. Yorkshire will be without Iain Wardlaw, who has been left out due to a stiff back, but Andrew Gale has passed a fitness test on his shoulder and will skipper the side.
Weather Forecast: Another fine and sunny day is expected tomorrow. There will be cloud in the east initially, but that should have cleared by lunchtime. Isolated thunderstorms are a possibility where the temperatures are highest and they could reach up to 28 degrees Celsius in London. Friday and Saturday are expected to be similar, although it may be slightly cooler.
County News In Brief:
Kent coach Jimmy Adams has hinted that he may sign former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful as the county’s second overseas player for the Friends Life t20. Ashraful is currently playing for Kent Premier League side Blackheath.
Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose has said that Marcus Trescothick’s injury may take longer to heal than initially hoped, and that the 36 year-old may not play again this season.
© Cricket World 2012