Bat continued to dominate ball in round nine of the LV= County Championship, with most of the matches looking destined to be draws heading into tomorrow’s final day. Only at Wantage Road was there a result as Northamptonshire completed the anticipated win over Worcestershire to move further clear at the top of Division Two.
Yorkshire dominated the third day in Scarborough, losing just one wicket for the addition of 329 runs to close on 358 for four against Nottinghamshire. Phil Jaques hit 51, but it was the epic unbroken fifth-wicket stand between Andrew Gale and Gary Ballance that tore the visitors’ attack to shreds. They added 237 in 68 overs and both reached three figures. Captain Gale ended on 159, with Ballance on 103.
Sussex made a better first of their second innings than they did their first, reaching stumps in it on 228 for four against Middlesex. They lost Luke Wells in the opening over but Chris Nash (36) and Michael Yardy (41) added 67 before Ed Joyce and Luke Wright put on an unbroken 105 for the fifth-wicket; Joyce ending undefeated on 75 and Wright on 48. Ollie Rayner had earlier completed his five-wicket haul as Sussex’s first innings was ended at 222 with Wright ninth man out for 77.
Warwickshire have an outside chance of forcing a win on the final day against Surrey. The home side closed a shortened third day in Guildford on 269 for seven in reply to the defending champions’ 631 for nine declared. Half-centuries from Arun Harinath, stand-in skipper Vikram Solanki and Ricky Ponting looked to have put Surrey in a good position at 232 for one, but Boyd Rankin, released by England, struck three times late on to give the Bears hope.
Day two at Taunton saw Durham close on 163 for three after dismissing Somerset for 458. Mark Stoneman is unbeaten on 78 and shared a second-wicket stand of 102 with Scott Borthwick, who was caught for a fluent 56 late on. Jamie Overton again impressed and had Will Smith caught for seven from the final ball of the day. Earlier, Nick Compton had taken his score to 166 before becoming one of three wickets for Ryan Buckley.
Worcestershire didn’t hold up Division Two leaders Northamptonshire for too long on the third day at Wantage Road. The visitors, resuming on 97 for six in their second innings, were all out for 125 as Trent Copeland finished his Northamptonshire stint with figures of six for 41. That left the hosts needing just eight to win in the fourth innings. They now have a 44 point lead at the top of the table.
Centuries from Michael Klinger and Alex Gidman helped Gloucestershire rack up 456 for four in reply to Glamorgan’s 448. Klinger began on 80 and took his stand with Dan Housego to 180 prior to the latter’s departure for 82. Gidman then joined him to add a further 132 before Klinger fell for 142. Gidman was then caught and bowled by Dean Cosker in the final hour but Gloucestershire still took the lead thanks to Hamish Marshall (27 not out) and Benny Howell (13 not out).
Kent took the bold step of declaring whilst behind against Hampshire on day three in Southampton. Ben Harmison and Darren Stevens both hit fluent half-centuries and put on 102 for sixth-wicket. Skipper Geraint Jones then reached 24 before deciding to walk off with his side still 134 runs behind on 321 for seven. The aggressive move paid dividends initially as Hampshire lost both openers with just 12 on the board. However, they recovered to close on 98 for three with a lead of 232 runs.
Lancashire wrapped up victory against Leeds/Bradford MCCU by eight wickets. After being set 73 in the fourth innings, openers Tom Smith (27) and Karl Brown (32) added 46 and the win was sealed soon afterwards. Luis Reece and Nick Gubbins had earlier taken their overnight fourth-wicket stand to 135 for the students, but a collapse of seven for 46 was triggered by the departure of Gubbins for 82 and they were all out for 265. Stephen Parry ended with five for 70, with Jordan Clark taking three for 40 and Gavin Griffiths two for 81.
Durham MCCU put up a good fight against Derbyshire but ultimately came up short by 65 runs. Chasing 432 to win, few gave them a chance, but all of their middle-order contributed as they made 366. Rishabh Shah (57) and Ivo Hobson (41) took their overnight second-wicket partnership to 110, with Chaitanya Bishnoi (68) and Luke Patel (23) then adding 96 for the fourth-wicket. There were then further contributions of 53 from Chris Purshouse, 36 from Ollie Steele and 31 from Nat Watkins before they were all out. Wes Durston ended as the pick of the Derbyshire attack with three for 47, while there were a brace of wickets for Alex Hughes.
day four, LV=CCD1, Middlesex v Sussex at Lord’s
day three, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Durham at Taunton
day four, LV=CCD1, Surrey v Warwickshire at Guildford
day four, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire at Scarborough
day four, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Glamorgan at Bristol
day four, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Kent at Southampton
Weather Forecast: Tomorrow will be another mostly sunny day, with cloud in the east during the morning and along the coastal strip for much of the day. Temperatures will peak at around 20 degrees Celsius.
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