Warwickshire will go into the final two rounds of LV= County Championship matches with a 22-point lead over their nearest challengers Sussex following their draw against third-placed Nottinghamshire today. In Division Two, Yorkshire and Kent leapfrogged Hampshire after benefiting from declarations at Scarborough and Grace Road.
Lancashire and Durham’s match at Aigburth ended immediately after both sides had completed their first innings on the fourth day. Durham, resuming on 187 for four, were all out for 416 in reply to the home side’s 262. Paul Collingwood top-scored with 114, and put on 148 for the seventh-wicket with Scott Borthwick, who made 60. All ten Durham wickets fell to spin, with Simon Kerrigan taking four of them and Gary Keedy and Steven Croft ending with three apiece.
Surrey ended their controversial trip to Taunton by batting out all of the final day to earn a draw against Somerset. They declared on 360 for five in their second innings to mark the end of the match, with Arun Harinath ending on 105 and Rory Burns and Kevin Pietersen hitting half-centuries.
Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire played out the anticipated draw on the final day at Edgbaston, but not before Alex Hales and Chris Read had taken their overnight fifth-wicket partnership to 222 – a record for Nottinghamshire in first-class matches against Warwickshire. Hales added his name to the list of potential England Test openers by ending on 155 not out as the visitors declared on 356 for eight to deny the home side a third bowling bonus point. Warwickshire then reached 86 for three in their second innings before the match was declared a draw.
Toby Roland-Jones completed ten wickets for the first time in his career to help Middlesex beat Worcestershire on the final day at New Road. Resuming on 44 for three, the home side were dismissed for 186 with Roland-Jones ending with figures of five for 46. This left Middlesex needing 204 to win, which they achieved relatively comfortably, winning by five wickets, with Joe Denly top-scoring with 48.
In Division Two, Leicestershire and Kent contrived to force a positive outcome on the final day at Grace Road. A couple of declarations left the home side needing 283 to win in over two sessions, but they fell miserably short – collapsing to 135 all out as Darren Stevens took five wickets and Mark Davies three.
Glamorgan and Northamptonshire’s tedious match in Cardiff reached its inevitable conclusion late on the fourth day, as the home side declared immediately after notching up their third batting bonus point on 302 for five. Stewart Walters hit 98 and added 91 for the third-wicket with Marcus North (57) and 101 for the fifth-wicket with Jim Allenby (46 not out).
Anthony McGrath led Yorkshire to victory on an action-packed final day against Gloucestershire at Scarborough. With the last two days lost to the weather, a brace of declarations were needed to set up the home side’s victory target of 314. Phil Jaques made 79 as Yorkshire got off to a strong start, but Jack Taylor pegged them back with a couple of quick wickets, before McGrath, along with some support from the lower-order, saw them home by two wickets.
Derbyshire clung on for a draw against Essex, closing on 173 for seven after being set 274 to win. Wes Durston (60) and Dan Redfern (46) shared a fourth-wicket stand of 107, but Tom Craddock took four wickets and Essex sensed victory. However, Ross Whiteley and Tony Palladino hung on and the match was drawn. Earlier, Essex had declared their second innings on 294 for five, with Tom Westley (82), Mark Pettini (50), Ryan ten Doeschate (52) and James Foster (58 not out) all hitting aggressive half-centuries.
Tomorrow’s Fixtures: (matches start at 1145 GMT)
Semi-Final, CB40, Lancashire v Warwickshire at Old Trafford
The home side are likely to prepare a turning pitch and have kept their options open by picking all three slow left-arm spinners in a 13-man squad.
Lancashire squad: Stephen Moore, Ashwell Prince, Steven Croft, Karl Brown, Paul Horton, Tom Smith, Gareth Cross (wicket-keeper), Ajmal Shahzad, Glen Chapple (captain), Stephen Parry, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Jordan Clark.The ECB have released Chris Woakes for the semi-final, although the Bears have not yet announced their final squad.
The ECB have released all-rounder Chris Woakes from his drinks-carrying duties with England. The Bears haven't yet announced their final squad.
Possible Warwickshire XI: William Porterfield, Varun Chopra, Jim Troughton (captain), Tim Ambrose (wicket-keeper), Darren Maddy, Rikki Clarke, Ian Blackwell, Chris Woakes, Keith Barker, Steffan Piolet, Chris Wright.
Semi-Final, CB40, Sussex v Hampshire at Hove
The Sharks earnt a home semi-final after topping Group C with a win over Kent last Monday. They have named a 14-man squad, which includes all-rounder Luke Wright, spinner Monty Panesar, England’s Test wicket-keeper Matt Prior and former club captain Michael Yardy.
Sussex squad: Chris Nash, Luke Wright, Matt Prior (wicket-keeper), Murray Goodwin, Ed Joyce (captain), Joe Gatting, Michael Yardy, Will Beer, Amjad Khan, Chris Liddle, Monty Panesar, Steve Magoffin, Kirk Wernars, Ben Brown (wicket-keeper).
Hampshire will be without Dimitri Mascarenhas because of injury, as well as Neil McKenzie, who has returned to South Africa ahead of their domestic season. They have included Kabir Ali and Bilal Shafayat in a 13-man squad.
Hampshire squad: James Vince, Michael Carberry, Jimmy Adams (captain), Simon Katich, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Michael Bates (wicket-keeper), Chris Wood, Kabir Ali, Danny Briggs, David Griffiths, Hamza Riazuddin, Bilal Shafayat.
Weather Forecast: The sun should at last shine on the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition tomorrow, with only patchy cloud expected at Hove and not much more in Manchester. Temperatures will peak at around 22 degrees Celsius in mid-afternoon.
County News In Brief:
Warwickshire all-rounder Neil Carter is expected to announce his retirement at the end of the season.
Kent seam bowler Simon Cook has announced his retirement from professional cricket, and has spoken of his desire to move into coaching.
Hampshire batsman Neil McKenzie has received a reprimand for a level one breach of the ECB disciplinary code. The incident took place during Friends Life t20 Finals Day, where McKenzie twice showed dissent at an umpire’s decision upon being given out.
Leicestershire have awarded two-year contract extensions to opener Michael Thornely, all-rounder Rob Taylor, and slow left-arm spinner James Sykes. They have also signed youngsters Angus Robson – brother of Middlesex opener Sam – and Ollie Freckingham on maiden one-year deals after they impressed while playing for Leicestershire’s second XI.
Worcestershire’s left-arm swing-bowler Jack Shantry has been handed three penalty points for a level two breach of the ECB’s disciplinary code during the CB40 match against Lancashire on 27th August.
Essex have announced that they will not be offering new contracts to opener Billy Godleman and all-rounder Michael Comber.