Only up at Chester-le-Street was anything like a full day’s play possible as the opening day of matches in the sixth round of the LV= County Championship attempted to get underway amidst the rain today. Those in the far south and west were worst affected, with Hampshire’s match against Derbyshire; Lancashire’s at Sussex; and Gloucestershire’s against Yorkshire all abandoned with no play possible.
It was a youthful Somerset side who emerged with the honours on the first day at Durham as they bowled the home side out for just 125 in their first innings. Mark Stoneman top-scored with 33 for the home side, but Craig Overton, in only his second Championship match, returned figures of four for 38, while there were three wickets also for Craig Meschede.
When Somerset's turn came to bat, they soon found themselves in trouble at 45 for four thanks to two wickets from Graham Onions. However, Peter Trego was at his bombastic best during a 35-ball 40 and kickstarted the recovery. When he fell to Ruel Brathwaite, Meschede and Craig Kieswetter carried on the good work, adding 107 for the sixth wicket prior to Meschede's dismissal for 62 from just 60 balls. Callum Thorp took a couple of late wickets for Durham as the visitors closed on 220 for eight.
Nottinghamshire overcame the early dismissal of Neil Edwards, bowled by Steven Finn first ball, to close on 132 for one from 42 overs against Middlesex at Trent Bridge. Chris Read won the toss and alarmed the home fans by opting to bat, but Alex Hales took on the role of the aggressor to end on 71 from 119 balls in an unbroken second-wicket partnership with Michael Lumb (51 from 133) to hand the Outlaws the advantage.
Just over 26 overs were possible at a soggy New Road, with the home side ending the day on 58 without loss against Surrey after winning the toss. Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell ended unbeaten on 30 from 92 balls, while Michael Klinger closed on 16 from 68 as the hosts found the going tricky against some disciplined Surrey seam bowling, including that from George Edwards, who returned figures of none for 16 from six overs on his Championship debut.
In Division Two, Kent’s batsmen were subjected to half an hour of torment at the hands of Charl Willoughby as they closed in the calamitous position of 17 for five after facing less than 10 overs against Essex. David Masters had removed opener Scott Newman in the second over for a duck, but it was then over to Willoughby, who ended with figures of four for eight, as the visitors lost four wickets for six runs.
Northamptonshire and Leicestershire managed about a session of play on the opening day of their match at Grace Road, with the visitor ending on 99 for three after being asked to bat. Returning captain Matthew Hoggard dispensed with Rob Newton for a duck in his second over, before Stephen Peters (32) and Kyle Coetzer added 73 for the second wicket. Robbie Joseph then struck twice before the close to leave Coetzer, who is unbeaten on 43, partnered by Alex Wakely on five.
Stat of the day: The average age of the Somerset team at Chester-le-Street is 23 years and nine months, while their opponents, who are bottom of Division One, have an average age of over 31 years and four months.
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Durham v Somerset at Chester-le-Street
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Nottinghamshire v Middlesex at Trent Bridge
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Lancashire at Hove
Day Two, LV=CCD1, Worcestershire v Surrey at New Road
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Essex v Kent at Chelmsford
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Yorkshire at Bristol
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Derbyshire at The Ageas Bowl
Day Two, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Northamptonshire at Grace Road
Day One, Tour Match, England Lions v West Indians at Wantage Road
James Taylor will captain the Lions once again after doing so over the winter. The in-form pair of Matt Coles and Nick Compton have been named in the 12-man squad. Ian Bell was a late replacement for the injured Ben Stokes. Meanwhile, the tourists have 14 of their 15-man squad available for selection after resolving visa issues that were affecting some of their players. Only Narsingh Deonarine, who is due to arrive tomorrow, will not be available, although there are slight injury concerns over Fidel Edwards (back) and Shiv Chanderpaul (hand).
Weather Forecast: The forecast for tomorrow is considerably better than was initially predicted, with the heavy overnight rain expected to clear much of England by mid-morning to leave sunshine in the east and only scattered showers in the south and west. Where the sun is out, the temperatures are likely to reach up to 18 degrees Celsius. Friday and Saturday are also expected to be dry with increasing amounts of sunshine.
© Cricket World 2012