There were centuries from Gary Ballance, Luke Wells and Hamish Marshall as the 14th round of matches in this season’s LV= County Championship got underway around the country today.
Fifteen wickets fell on the opening day at Lord’s as Middlesex closed on 126 for five after dismissing Durham for 143. Steven Finn sent a message to the England selectors and took four for 46, despite not being given the new ball. He built on the early inroads made by Tim Murtagh (2-38) and Corey Collymore (2-30) to ensure that Durham’s top score was skipper Paul Collingwood’s 30. Middlesex then were given the hurry-up by another England cast-off, Graham Onions. He took two wickets in his opening spell and helped reduce them to 15 for three. Neil Dexter then led the hosts’ fightback and ended not out on 40 with Gareth Berg on 28.
A century from Gary Ballance helped Yorkshire fend off Warwickshire’s exceptional seam-attack and emerge on 294 for nine at stumps at Headingely. After the loss of two early wickets, Ballance and Alex Lees (56) added a crucial 74 for the third-wicket. Ballance then went onto share useful stands with Azeem Rafiq (28) and Andrew Hodd (21) prior to falling for 112. Keith Barker and Chris Woakes ended as the picks of the Bears attack with three wickets apiece.
Nottinghamshire ended on 327 for eight on a hard-fought day one at Taunton. Makeshift opener Steven Mullaney top-scored with 75, while there was knock of 68 from overseas pro David Hussey. The lower-order also chipped in, with Chris Read (25), Andre Adams (20), Ajmal Shahzad (35 not out) and Luke Fletcher (30 not out) all making at least 25. George Dockrell was the pick of the Somerset attack with three for 99, while there were two wickets apiece for Peter Trego and Jamie Overton.
Title hopefuls Sussex could make just 314 on the opening day against last-placed Derbyshire. Tim Groenewald and debutant Alex Hughes each took three wickets as the home side were unable to build on a fine century from Luke Wells. Wells brought up three figures from 238 balls but found no real support from the Sussex top-order as they slipped to 189 for six. It was only thanks to Chris Jordan (48) and Steve Magoffin (32) that the hosts went onto pass 300.
Division Two leaders Lancashire enjoyed a good day with the bat against stragglers Leicestershire at Grace Road. All of their top order made useful contributions as they reached stumps on 303 for five. Openers Paul Horton (59) and Luis Reece added 104, with Reece then adding a further 77 with Ashwell Prince (33) before departing to debutant Tom Wells for 85. Simon Katich then continued to pile the pressure onto the home attack and hit a fluent 62, while Luke Procter ended on 37 not out.
Hampshire recovered from the loss of two early wickets to close on 261 for six against Glamorgan. Michael Hogan and John Glover each struck with the new ball, but Neil McKenzie (46) and Michael Carberry added 130 for the third-wicket. Carberry fell six short of his century to give Hogan (4-66) a second wicket, but James Vince and Sean Ervine took over the run-scoring mantle for Hampshire. Vince ended unbeaten on 51 and added 90 with Ervine (44).
Northamptonshire closed on 13 without loss shortly after dismissing Gloucestershire for 358 at Wantage Road. Hamish Marshall hit 145 for the visitors as they bounced back well from the loss of two early wickets to David Willey. Alex Gidman (59) and Michael Klinger (47) began the fightback with a stand of 92 before Marshall and Benny Howell (60) kicked on by putting on 183 for the fifth-wicket. Marshall was eventually out for 145 to make Andrew Hall one of three Northants bowlers to finish with three wickets; the others being David Willey and Mohammad Azharullah.
Gareth Andrew (3-81), Alan Richardson (2-61) and Jack Shantry (3-69) shared eight Kent wickets as they were bowled out for 324 by Worcestershire. It could have been far worse for Kent as they slumped to 25 for four thanks to Andrew’s triple-strike with the new ball. However, Darren Stevens and Ben Harmison led a fightback with a fifth-wicket partnership of 174. Both fell narrowly short of deserved centuries but they had done more than enough to rescue their side from embarrassment. Calum Haggett (34 not out) and Mitchell Claydon (33) then added a useful 52 for the ninth-wicket to take the Kent total beyond 300.
day two, LV=CCD1, Middlesex v Durham at Lord’s
day two, LV=CCD1, Somerset v Nottinghamshire at Taunton
day two, LV=CCD1, Sussex v Derbyshire at Hove
day two, LV=CCD1, Yorkshire v Warwickshire at Headingley
day two, LV=CCD2, Hampshire v Glamorgan at Southampton
day two, LV=CCD2, Leicestershire v Lancashire at Grace Road
day two, LV=CCD2, Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire at Wantage Road
day two, LV=CCD2, Worcestershire v Kent at New Road
Weather Forecast: It will be another mostly sunny day tomorrow, although it will become overcast at times. There will be scattered, occasionally heavy, showers and it should be cooler with maximum temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius.
County Cricket News In Brief:
Out-of-contract Glamorgan fast-bowler Simon Jones has said that he is open to the offer of a new deal when his current one expires at the end of the season. Jones, though, did appear to admit that he does need to start playing cricket again soon after enduring another injury-plagued season if he is to prove his worth to the county.
Somerset director of cricket Dave Nosworthy has said that the club are by no means resigned to losing Nick Compton when his contract expires at the end of the season. Nosworthy told The Bristol Post, “We are very much in contact with Nick in terms of discussing his future and contract terms.”
Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett were both awarded their Yorkshire county caps before play got underway today against Warwickshire. Plunkett and Brooks moved to the club over the winter and have made a positive impression since signing.
Worcester News is reporting that the future of young Worcestershire all-rounder Aneesh Kapil at the club is uncertain. Kapil turned down a new deal at the end of last season and has struggled with injury this season. Talks over a new contract appear to have stalled with chief executive David Leatherdale quoted as saying that, “the ball’s in his court.” Meanwhile, seamers David Lucas and Richard Jones are both available for loan or a transfer should another county be interested.
© Cricket World 2013