Rain played another starring role in today’s county action with late starts and early finishes again the norm in many of the games. The England Lions also got underway against their Australian counterparts, although they were without Ravi Bopara, who decided that he hadn’t recovered sufficiently from his personal problems shortly before the start.
Surrey captain Gareth Batty surprised everyone, including his opposite number Paul Collingwood, by electing to bat after winning the toss on the opening day at Chester-le-Street. They began relatively well, overcoming the early loss of Zafar Ansari, to reach 41 for one, before the rot set in. They soon slumped to 80 for seven, however, as Chris Rushworth took three wickets, before Jon Lewis took the total into three figures with a sprightly 23. Ben Stokes then returned to mop up the tail and ended with figures of four for 40 as the visitors were all out for 129.
Durham lost Mark Stoneman early in their reply, but recovered to close on 119 for four thanks to an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 61 between the experienced pair of Dale Benkenstein (40 not out) and Paul Collingwood (17 not out).
Nottinghamshire only had time to face 49 balls from Somerset’s opening bowlers on day one at Taunton. Riki Wessels fell to the last of those for six as Peter Trego and Steve Kirby were finally rewarded for a testing opening spell. Play had finally got underway at 1640 local time, but more rain meant that the players were forced off again less than an hour later.
More than half the day was lost to rain on day two of the second division clash at Bristol where the home side closed on 104 for two in reply to Hampshire’s 271. Gloucestershire’s last two wickets had added just six to their overnight score as James Tomlinson and Kabir Ali accounted for Richard Coughtrie and David Payne. Hampshire then lost their captain Jimmy Adams early on, but Neil McKenzie and Bilal Shafayat added 79 for the second wicket. Shafayat (20) fell to former Hampshire player Benny Howell, shortly before stumps, but McKenzie remained, unbeaten on 52.
The eighth-wicket pair of Steffan Piolet and Paul Best were the heroes for Warwickshire as they went top of Group C of the Clydesdale Bank 40 after beating Yorkshire by three wickets via the Duckworth Lewis method at Edgbaston. The pair added 40 from just 17 balls, with Piolet leading the way, hitting two sixes during his nine-ball 23, and Best adding 16 off his nine balls. The Bears had looked to be cruising towards their revised target of 238 off 34 overs earlier in the piece, reaching 154 for two thanks to half-centuries from Jim Troughton and Tim Ambrose, but they lost three wickets in the space of four deliveries and were pegged back to 199 for seven.
Earlier, Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth had both made half-centuries for Yorkshire, who, despite two rain interuptions during ther innings, ended on a respectable 213 for eight from their 34 overs.
England Lions and Australia A were evenly matched on a truncated opening day to their unofficial Test match at Old Trafford. The home side lost Joe Root early to Mitchell Johnson, but Nick Compton and Eoin Morgan wrested back the initiative with a cautious second-wicket partnership of 79. Compton was then dispatched by Nathan Lyon for 46, with Morgan (50) and new man Jonny Bairstow following soon afterwards in quick succession to make it 114 for four. Samit Patel and Craig Kieswetter then took the Lions to stumps without further loss on 140 for four.
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Durham v Surrey at Chester-le-Street
Day One, LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Worcestershire at Edgbaston (1100 GMT start)
The Pears have axed batsman James Cameron and seamers Richard Jones and Jack Shantry following last week’s heavy defeat at Hove. Instead, they have included Chris Russell and Joe Leach – who both impressed against the South Africans last month – as well as Brett D’Oliveira and Nick Harrison in their squad.
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Nottinghamshire at Taunton
Day Three, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Hampshire at Bristol
Day One, LV=CCD2, Kent v Essex at Canterbury
Essex have added leg-spinner Tom Craddock to the eleven that drew against Leicestershire. This means that seamer Maurice Chambers retains his place in the squad, while Ravi Bopara continues to sit out for personal reasons.
Group C, CB40, Derbyshire v Sussex at Derby (1540 GMT start)
The home side are already out of the reckoning for qualification, but have named a strong 13-man squad, which sees a return from injury for Ross Whiteley.
Day Two, 1st ‘Test’, England Lions v Australia A at Old Trafford
Weather Forecast: The last of today’s rain should clear the south coast by lunchtime, leaving mostly dry, and further north and east sunny, weather behind it. Temperatures will peak at around 21 degrees Celsius.
County News In Brief:
Lancashire CCC have appointed former Manchester United director Maurice Watkins to their new-look board. The club’s members approved changes to the club’s governing structure at this year’s AGM.
Northamptonshire vice-captain Alex Wakely has admitted that his future may lie elsewhere next season. The 23 year-old is out of contract at the end of 2012 and said, “I want to sort something out and I’ve been talking to the club but everything needs to get settled before I make a decision. The sooner a coach is permanently appointed (David Ripley was given the job on an interim basis following David Capel’s departure mid-season) the better as far as I’m concerned.”
Darren Maddy has signed a one-year contract extension with Warwickshire. In other news for the Bears, overseas player Jeetan Patel has been called up by New Zealand for the two Test matches against India, meaning that he will miss a large part of the Championship run-in. He will leave Edgbaston on 15th August and return in time for the final Championship match against Nottinghamshire on 11th September.
© Cricket World 2012
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