Rain affected the opening day of most of the matches in the fourth round of the LV= County Championship to some extent, with those in the south of the country particularly badly affected. Indeed no play was possible at The Oval, where Surrey were taking on Durham, or in the Division Two clashes between Gloucestershire and Glamorgan and Essex and Northamptonshire.
However, the rain did largely stay away from Taunton where Lancashire were able to make the most of some friendly Somerset bowling to close day one on 363 for four. Vernon Philander had dismissed Paul Horton early on after the visitors had elected to bat, but it was one-way traffic from then on as, first Stephen Moore (47) and Karl Brown (50) added 95 for the second wicket, before Ashwell Prince and Steven Croft took the game away from the home side. They added 208 for the fourth wicket, before debutant Craig Overton, aged just 18, claimed Prince four short of his century as his maiden first-class victim. Croft reached his century from 153 balls and was joined by Gareth Cross (20 not out) before bad light brought a premature end to proceedings.
Varun Chopra and Jonathan Trott overcame the twin loss of William Porterfield and Ian Bell early on against Sussex to take Warwickshire to stumps on 281 for five. They put on 219 for the third wicket before Chopra’s departure for 105, before Monty Panesar (one for 42) and Steve Magoffin (two for 56) pulled things back for the home side with a couple of late wickets. Trott, though, remains unbeaten on 132.
Nottinghamshire recorded their first batting point of the season as they were bowled out for 243 on the first day at New Road. Alex Hales top-scored with a fluent 49 for the visitors, while there were useful contributions from James Taylor (38) and Chris Read (34). For the hosts, Richard Jones (four for 76) and Aneesh Kapil (three for 17) enjoyed the most success and polished off the Notts middle and lower-order after Alan Richardson had enjoyed his customary success with the new ball to end with figures of 22-11-23-2. Worcestershire then faced five overs prior to stumps and closed on five for none.
In Division Two, Kent recovered from the late withdrawal due to injury of their captain Rob Key to bowl Yorkshire out for 247 at Canterbury. The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals as no batsman could surpass Gary Ballance’s 38 despite all of the top eight reaching double figures. Matt Coles again impressed for Kent, returning figures of four for 70, while Charlie Shreck and Darren Stevens collected a brace of wickets each. The home side faced one over prior to stumps and reached four without loss.
Hampshire, too, overcame the late withdrawal of their captain Jimmy Adams, this time for personal reasons, to reduce Leicestershire to 159 for six by the close of day one at The Rose Bowl. Both sides had elected not to go in with a front-line spinner, with David Griffiths preferred to Danny Briggs and Claude Henderson ostensibly rested in favour of Kadeer Ali.
Greg Smith top-scored for the home side – who had looked to be progressing well, reaching 146 for two at one stage – with 68 before he became the first of three wickets from left-arm spinner Liam Dawson. Chris Wood, David Griffiths and Hamza Riazuddin also picked up a wicket each.
Stat of the day: Somerset’s change bowlers George Dockrell, Craig Overton, Lewis Gregory and Craig Meschede have an average age of 19 years and 198 days.
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Lancashire at Taunton
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Durham at The Oval
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Warwickshire at Hove
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire at New Road
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Northamptonshire at Chelmsford
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Glamorgan at Bristol
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Leicestershire at The Rose Bowl
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Kent v Yorkshire at Canterbury
Day One, MCCU Match, Derbyshire v Cardiff MCCU at Derby
The home side have named a virtual second-string 12-man squad for their non-first-class match against the students. Matt Lineker, Ally Evans, Garry Park, Jake Needham, Chris Durham, Tom Knight and Peter Burgoyne are among the players set to feature. Tim Groenewald is also included as he continues his comeback from injury. For Cardiff, they are expected to include Hamza Siddique, who has a summer contract with Derbyshire, at the top of their batting order.
Weather Forecast: The forecast for tomorrow looks markedly better than for today with the showers less widespread and the possibility of sunshine for the far north and far south of England. This should push the temperatures to as high as 14 degrees Celsius in London, although just nine is predicted further north. Saturday looks to be a similar story, but Sunday could see the return of yet more rain coming in from the south-west.
County News In Brief:
Peter Siddle will not be able to fulfil his Friends Life t20 overseas stint with Essex after he picked up an injury on Australia’s tour of the West Indies.
Lee Fortis has been appointed head groundsman at Surrey CCC. He was previously assistant groundsman at The Oval until 2006 before leaving to tend the Honourable Artillery Company ground in the City of London.
© Cricket World 2012