Strauss finds his feet

Lv County Championship

England captain Andrew Strauss warmed up for the opening Test against West Indies with a fine century on the first day of Middlesex’s LV= County Championship encounter against Leicestershire.

The opener made 150, sharing a second-wicket partnership of 244 with Australian Phillip Hughes to help the hosts take control of this Division Two match.

Strauss hit 22 fours and a six in his 167-ball innings, while Hughes was within one run of a century of his own when Middlesex closed on 281 for two, with no play possible after tea due to rain.

In Division One, champions Durham made excellent progress against Somerset at Taunton thanks to Dale Benkenstein’s unbeaten 110.

Michael Di Venuto and Mark Stoneman put on 98 for the opening wicket after Durham were asked to bat first in seamer-friendly conditions.

Dale Benkenstein

Dale Benkenstein stands firm for the majority of the opening day en route to a determined unbeaten 110 at Taunton

Di Venuto made 53, Stoneman 38, Gordon Muchall 68 and former Somerset all-rounder Ian Blackwell a rapid 50 before two late wickets left Durham 372 for six at the close.

In the only other top-flight match to start today, Yorkshire made steady progress against Worcestershire at Headingley Carnegie before rain forced play to be abandoned.

Jacques Rudolph and Joe Sayers, who made 49, shared an opening stand of 123, broken shortly before the weather intervened. Rudolph will resume tomorrow on 73 not out.

Elsewhere in Division Two, Gloucestershire hit trouble at Wantage Road after captain Alex Gidman won the toss and chose to bat against Northamptonshire.

David Wigley took four wickets as the visitors reached 287 for eight, with Steve Snell (47) and Ian Saxelby (54 not out) impressing most with the bat.

At Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens, only 38 overs were possible between Glamorgan and Derbyshire.

The home side reached 79 for two by the close, Gareth Rees and Ben Wright the men out before Mark Cosgrove (37no) and Michael Powell (16no) steadied the ship.