On the day that Andrew Strauss was due to return to action for Middlesex only to decide that he needed more time to recover from his Pietersen-induced stress, the man himself showed what England were missing by his omission by striking an exhilarating century at Taunton. Elsewhere, title favourites Warwickshire enjoyed a good day at home to Nottinghamshire, while promotion hopefuls Derbyshire and Yorkshire enjoyed mixed first days to their matches.
Warwickshire just about had the better of the first day against title rivals Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston. Ian Westwood continued his good recent form and made 81 before departing to Paul Franks, while Tim Ambrose ended on 64 not out. Warwickshire closed on 298 for five.
Kevin Pietersen hit a violent 163 off only 168 balls for Surrey on the first day at Taunton. He hit 23 boundaries and scored over half of his side’s runs as Sajid Mahmood (four for 62), Steve Kirby (three for 34) and George Dockrell (three for 99) bowled well for the home side. Somerset then closed on 42 for two in their first innings, recovering well after an early wicket apiece for Stuart Meaker and Jon Lewis.
Worcestershire’s openers got off to a solid start on day one against Middlesex at New Road. Phil Hughes had reached 34 before falling to Toby Roland-Jones, who again impressed, ending with four for 67, but Daryl Mitchell and Alexei Kervezee (55) added 114 for the fourth-wicket, with Mitchell ending the day on 129 as the home side closed on 295 for eight.
There was a delayed start at Aigburth where Lancashire closed day one against Durham on 221 for six. The home side lost four early wickets before recovering thanks to half centuries from the in-form Tom Smith (86 not out) and Gareth Cross (57). Graham Onions ended with remarkable figures of three for 26 from 20 overs, while Ben Stokes picked up two wickets.
Division Two leaders Derbyshire closed on 28 for three in reply to Essex’s 245 on the first day at Derby. The visitors were put into bat and lost regular wickets throughout, with Graham Napier top-scoring with 42 and David Wainwright taking four for 64. Derbyshire lost two wickets to David Masters, as well as night-watchman Tony Palladino prior to stumps.
Niall O’Brien ended on 114 not out as Northamptonshire ground their way to stumps on 241 for four on day one against Glamorgan in Cardiff. He shared a third-wicket partnership of 152 with vice-captain Alex Wakely, who hit 75 before being bowled by Jim Allenby.
Gloucestershire were bowled out for 215 against promotion hopefuls Yorkshire on the opening day in Scarborough. Steven Patterson took three early wickets to help reduce the visitors to nine for four at one stage, prior to a fightback, which was begun by Ian Cockbain (30) and Will Gidman (47), who added 65 for the fifth-wicket. Jack Taylor added 49 from just 43 balls at number nine, while Anthony Ireland (25 not out) and Liam Norwell (18) also chipped in. Will Gidman then removed two of Yorkshire’s top three early on, but Joe Root and Andrew Gale took them to stumps on 61 for two.
Kent’s openers Sam Northeast and Rob Key both passed 50 and put on 110 for the first-wicket on the opening day against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Brendan Nash then compounded the home side’s woes by ending the day with on 108 and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 134 with Geraint Jones (52), as they closed on 322 for six. Robert Taylor, playing his first Championship game of the summer, took four wickets for Leicestershire.
Day Two, CCD1, Lancashire v Durham at Aigburth
Day Two, CCD1, Somerset v Surrey at Taunton
Day Two, CCD1, Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston
Day Two, CCD1, Worcestershire v Middlesex at New Road
Day Two, CCD2, Derbyshire v Essex at Derby
Day Two, CCD2, Glamorgan v Northamptonshire at Cardiff
Day Two, CCD2, Leicestershire v Kent at Grace Road
Day Two, CCD2, Yorkshire v Gloucestershire at Scarborough
Weather Forecast: Beginning on the west coast of Wales at dawn, a band of rain will progress across England and Wales throughout the day, lessening in intensity as it does so. The worst of the rain is likely to be across east Wales and the west midlands around lunchtime, with the east of England the least affected. The afternoon will be brighter, particularly in the west, with occasional showers, and temperatures peaking at between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Essex’s overseas player Harbhajan Singh has returned to India at the request of the BCCI. Harbhajan was due to be available for the remainder of the season, but received an unexpected call-up to India’s World T20 squad.
Gloucestershire batsman Chris Dent has been ruled out for the rest of the season after dislocating a shoulder while playing for their second XI. It brings to an end an injury-hit summer for the 21 year-old, who missed much of June and July with a shoulder injury.
Hampshire are hoping to bring in Glenn Maxwell and Shahid Afridi as their overseas players for the Champions League T20 in October. Simon Katich and Neil McKenzie will be unavailable, however, due to existing playing commitments in their home countries.
Yorkshire have handed Joe Root and Gary Ballance their county caps.
Friends Life have announced that they will not be renewing their sponsorship of the Twenty20 Cup when it expires at the end of 2013. If the ECB find another sponsor before the 2013 event, then it is understood that Friends Life will relinquish their sponsorship with immediate effect.
© Cricket World 2012
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