Durham assume total control
Durham boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the top flight and piled further pressure on Surrey with a dominant performance on day two of the LV= County Championship match at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Skipper Paul Collingwood took his score to 78 and Dale Benkenstein added 69 as the hosts, six points adrift of Worcestershire and 15 behind Surrey at the foot of the table prior to this game, secured a first-innings lead of 181 by posting 310 all out.
Surrey’s top order then flopped for a second time and they were facing a potential innings defeat when they reached stumps on 69 for five, still trailing by 112.
Phil Hughes further endeared himself to the Worcestershire faithful by carrying his bat for 135 not out against Division One leaders Warwickshire on the opening day of four at Edgbaston.
Australian left-hander Hughes has proven a huge hit at New Road and is the leading scorer in the Clydesdale Bank 40 and Friends Life t20.
Today, he recorded his first championship hundred of the summer, although he was somewhat hampered by a lack of support as Worcestershire, who won the toss, lost their last five wickets for seven to be dismissed for 246.
Vikram Solanki, who compiled 57, was the only other batsman to make a significant score for a team boasting two first-class debutants in Brett D’Oliveira and Chris Russell.
However, Warwickshire then experienced problems of their own with the bat, losing both openers for ducks and Will Porterfield for five before closing on 19 for three.
Inclement weather limited the action at Taunton for a second day in succession and hampered two of Warwickshire’s main rivals for the title, Somerset and Nottinghamshire.
After resuming their first innings on 18 for one, Notts were reduced to 48 for three in the 15.4 overs possible today as Alfonso Thomas claimed the wickets of Michael Lumb and Alex Hales.
An intriguing final day is in prospect in the Division Two clash between Gloucestershire and promotion-chasing Hampshire at Bristol.
David Balcombe struck thrice before Gloucestershire reached stumps on 102 for four, leading by 97, with Dan Housego and Ian Cockbain at the crease on 24 and 15.
Hampshire had earlier posted 276 in their first innings, having collapsed following the departure of opener Neil McKenzie for 94.
Essex’s frontline seam trio prospered on the opening day against Kent at Canterbury.
David Masters, Graham Napier and Maurice Chambers picked up three wickets apiece to limit Rob Key’s men to 226 after they had won the toss.
Michael Powell’s 62 represented the biggest score for Kent, who failed to make a breakthrough with the ball thereafter as Essex reduced their arrears by 14.