The top of Division One of the LV= County Championship went a long way towards being settled today, with the likely finishing order now Durham, Yorkshire and Middlesex. The former are probably about 90 minutes away from securing the title, while Yorkshire have taken control over Middlesex. Elsewhere, Essex, Hampshire and Surrey enjoyed good days, while promotion hopefuls Northamptonshire struggled against Kent.
Durham require just 62 more runs to secure the LV= County Championship title after closing day two on seven for none in their fourth innings run chase of 69 at Chester-le-Street. They had earlier earnt a 178-run first innings lead by making 256, with Paul Collingwood unbeaten on 88. Nottinghamshire then made 246 in their second innings as Steven Mullaney and David Hussey hit half-centuries. Graham Onions (three for 50) and Chris Rushworth (two for 64) shared five wickets, while Ben Stokes helped mop up the tail and finished with three for 55.
All of which means that the best Yorkshire can now realistically hope for is second place. They went someway towards securing that by bowling out closest rivals Middlesex for 128 at Headingley. 17 wickets fell in all on day two as Yorkshire first collapsed from 117 for three to be all out for 210 in their first innings. Tim Murtagh and Corey Collymore each ended with three wickets, while there were a brace apiece for Gareth Berg and debutant Tom Helm. Steven Patterson, Ryan Sidebottom and Jack Brooks then decimated the Middlesex batting line-up. Sidebottom ended as the pick with four for 27, while Patterson and Brooks returned figures of three for 44 and three for 34 respectively. Sam Robson top-scored for the visitors with 45, but Dawid Malan’s 15 was the next highest contribution. Yorkshire then closed on four without loss in their second innings and lead by 86 runs.
Centuries from Vikram Solanki and Steven Davies helped Surrey dominate day two against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. They closed on 400 for five, with Solanki and Davies having added 182 for the fourth-wicket. Before that, Solanki had added 166 with Hashim Amla for the third-wicket. Amla was caught off Keith Barker for 77, but Solanki wouldn’t depart until he had 162 to his name.
Jaik Mickleburgh ended on 68 not out as Division Two promotion hopefuls Essex closed on 107 for one in reply to Glamorgan’s 322. Mickleburgh added 95 with opening partner Gautam Gambhir before the Indian was caught off Dean Cosker shortly before stumps. Murray Goodwin and Chris Cooke had earlier hit half-centuries for Glamorgan as most of their batsman made contributions to their total. Among them were innings from Mark Wallace (38), Ruaidhri Smith (23) and John Glover (39 not out). David Masters was the comfortable pick of the Essex attack with five for 68.
Hampshire piled on the runs as their match against Leicestershire finally got underway at Grace Road. Liam Dawson and James Vince both hit undefeated centuries as the visitors closed on 362 for two after being asked to bat. Opener Sean Terry hit 57 before trapped LBW by Shiv Thakor, but it was the unbroken third-wicket stand of 248 between Dawson and Vince that took the game away from the home side.
Hundreds from Rob Key and Brendan Nash made second-placed Northamptonshire sweat on day two at Wantage Road. Kent were finally bowled out for 418 as James Middlebrook ended with career-best figures of six for 78 with his off-spin. Key and Nash had earlier added 134 for the third-wicket, while Darren Stevens hit a typically aggressive 63 from number six.
There were joyous scenes at Bristol as Luke Procter hit his maiden first-class century to help second division leaders Lancashire fight back on day two against Gloucestershire. Three wickets from Will Gidman had reduced them to 38 for three, which then became 105 for four when Luis Reece was bowled by David Payne for 35. However, all-rounders Procter and Tom Smith added 159, with Procter bringing up three figures off 208 balls. Smith ended not out on 88 as Lancashire reached stumps on 292 for seven.
day three, LV=CCD1, Durham v Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street
day three, LV=CCD1, Warwickshire v Surrey at Edgbaston
day three, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Middlesex at Headingley
day three, LV=CCD2, Essex v Glamorgan at Chelmsford
day three, LV=CCD2, Gloucestershire v Lancashire at Bristol
day three, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Hampshire at Grace Road
day three, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Kent at Wantage Road
Weather Forecast: The rain will return tomorrow, with most of England affected to some degree. The best chance of any play will be in the afternoon in the west. Temperatures will peak at between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Glamorgan have signed Jacques Rudolph as their overseas player for the 2014 and 2015 seasons subject to clearance from Cricket South Africa. Rudolph has fallen out of favour with the South African selectors in recent times so should be available for most of the two-year period. He has previously played for Yorkshire and Surrey in county cricket and replaces Marcus North as the county’s overseas player.
In other news from Glamorgan, chief executive Alan Hamer has said that the club are close to agreeing new contracts with Murray Goodwin, Simon Jones and Dean Cosker for the 2014 season. He told BBC Sport: “We’d expect those players to be here next year subject to reaching an agreement. Announcements will probably follow in the next couple of weeks.”
Friends Life t20 champions Northamptonshire are to be honoured with a civic reception at the city’s Guildhall on Friday 27th September at 6.30pm. They will begin celebrations at Wantage Road at 6.15pm before taking an open-top bus through St Giles Street and arriving at the Guildhall.
Yorkshire all-rounder Richard Pyrah has signed a new deal with the club, committing himself to playing at Headingley until the end of 2015.
Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger has told the Bristol Evening Post that he thinks his opening partner Chris Dent should be selected for the England Lions tour of Australia this winter. Dent has scored over 1,000 first-class run so far in 2013. Klinger also tipped 19 year-old fast-bowler Craig Miles for higher honours at some point in the future.
© Cricket World 2013