When people look back at this year’s Championship battle in a couple of week’s time they might pinpoint today as the day when Warwickshire secured the title. At Edgbaston, the Bears piled up 504 for six against their main rivals Nottinghamshire before declaring and reducing the visitors to 188 for four at stumps. It could have been worse for the Outlaws, who had slipped to 69 for four in their first innings, but Chris Read and Alex Hales both finished with half-centuries and added an unbroken 119 for the fifth-wicket. Earlier, Tim Ambrose had ended on 151 not out, while night-watchman Chris Wright and on-loan all-rounder Ian Blackwell both hit entertaining half-centuries.
Middlesex conceded a 17-run first innings lead to Worcestershire on the third day at New Road as they were bowled out for 306. Alan Richardson and Chris Russell shared seven wickets for the home side, while Neil Dexter top-scored for Middlesex with 90. Toby Roland-Jones struck twice in the hosts’ second innings prior to stumps as they closed on 44 for three to set up an intriguing final day.
There was a slightly delayed start at Aigburth, where Durham closed on 187 for four in reply to Lancashire’s 262. Graham Onions took three of the last four Lancashire wickets to fall to end with six for 41, while Kyle Hogg ended on 60 not out. South African batsman Keaton Jennings then hit 70 in the visitors’ reply.
A controversial third day at Taunton ended with Surrey in a good position, on 58 without loss in their second innings, after they had earnt a 23-run first innings lead. They bowled Somerset out for 294 in their first as the home side threw away a good start – they had been 151 for two at one stage thanks to half-centuries from Chris Jones and James Hildreth – and lost their last eight wickets for 143 runs, in spite of an aggressive 92 from Peter Trego. The flashpoint of the day had come in the afternoon when Murali Kartik had run-out out 20 year-old Alex Barrow for backing up too far; and Surrey captain Gareth Batty declined to withdraw the appeal despite the umpire enquiring as to whether he would like to do so. This caused a chorus of boos from the Somerset members, directed particularly at Kartik, who had left the club in not entirely uncontroversial circumstances at the end of last season.
In Division Two, Derbyshire had half-centuries from Ross Whiteley and Tom Poynton to thank for earning them a slender first innings lead against Essex at Derby. David Masters ended with figures of five for 51 for the visitors, who then closed on 85 for one in their second innings – Tom Westley unbeaten on 51.
Niall O’Brien translated his overnight century into a mammoth 182 on the third day at Cardiff, as Northamptonshire amassed 432 before declaring eight wickets down in their first innings. Wicket-keeper David Murphy chipped in 54, while Con de Lange (34 not out) and Lee Daggett (21 not out) also made handy contributions. Glamorgan then faced seven overs in their first innings and reached 10 without loss.
Leicestershire reached stumps on 171 for three in reply to Kent’s 350 for eight declared on day three at Grace Road. They had lost two early wickets to Charlie Shreck, but Wayne Jones (48) and Matthew Boyce added 93 for the third-wicket, with Josh Cobb (31 not out) then joining Boyce (78 not out) to add an unbroken 64 for the fourth-wicket.
The third day at Scarborough between Yorkshire and Gloucestershire was abandoned without a ball bowled due to further rain and a wet outfield.
Day Four, CCD1, Lancashire v Durham at Aigburth
Day Four, CCD1, Somerset v Surrey at Taunton
Day Four, CCD1, Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire at Edgbaston
Day Four, CCD1, Worcestershire v Middlesex at New Road
Day Four, CCD2, Derbyshire v Essex at Derby
Day Four, CCD2, Glamorgan v Northamptonshire at Cardiff
Day Four, CCD2, Leicestershire v Kent at Grace Road
Day Four, CCD2, Yorkshire v Gloucestershire at Scarborough
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow looks like being mostly dry for England and Wales, with a sunny start giving way to a more overcast afternoon for the west. Temperatures will peak at between 16 and 19 degrees Celsius.
© Cricket World 2012
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