Hats off to Hughes
Middlesex’s Australia Test opener Phil Hughes struck his third century in as many LV= County Championship games as his adaptation to English conditions continued at full speed.
Middlesex have come in for some criticism for signing the young New South Wales batsman on a six-week deal to start the season, with fears it would serve as preparatory period for Hughes ahead of this summer’s Test series.
Hughes plundered an unbeaten 134 from just 166 balls to almost single-handedly lead to his county to 200 for two in the Division Two match against Surrey at the Brit Oval.
Earlier, Mark Ramprakash could add just seven to his overnight 126, but Chris Schofield chipped in with 47 as Surrey were all out for 388.
Anthony McGrath and Joe Sayers claimed a Yorkshire record on a run-filled second day in the Division One match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
A partnership of 346 in 98 overs surpassed the previous best of 323 for the third wicket set by Herbert Sutcliffe and Maurice Leyland against Glamorgan in 1928.
The systematic mauling of Warwickshire’s attack allowed McGrath – who made the first double century of his career – to declare at 600 for eight.
In the 18 overs before stumps Warwickshire lost Tony Frost (eight) as they reached the close on 81 for one.
Lancashire captain Glen Chapple was the hero for the second day running as he hit 89 to help his side to a first-innings lead of 180 runs against Worcestershire.
The 35-year-old, who took 6-34 on the opening day at New Road, combined with Kyle Hogg (60) in a 123-run stand for the eighth wicket which opened up the visitors’ advantage.
Worcestershire, back in the top division this season, were facing the prospect of a second defeat in three games after being reduced to 129 for three at stumps - still 51 runs behind.
Durham pacemen Liam Plunkett followed a career-best 94 not out by wrecking Sussex’s top-order as the county champions took control of their match at Hove.
After Durham posted 380 in their first innings, Sussex slumped from 81 without loss to 109 for five as Plunkett uprooted Chris Nash's off-stump for 40 and had Murray Goodwin and Rory Hamilton-Brown caught behind for ducks.
Andrew Hodd provided the resistance with an unbeaten 84 as Sussex finished the day on 269 for six.
Somerset’s hopes of building a second-innings lead against Nottinghamshire is in the hands of veteran duo Marcus Trescothick (66no) and Justin Langer (26no) as they remained unbeaten at the close against Nottinghamshire.
The pair guided Somerset to 137 for three, and a lead of just 10 runs, after the home side had earlier been bowled out for 261. Adam Voges and Ali Brown both top-scored for Nottinghamshire with 63 each.
In Division Two, Riki Wessels top-scored with 84 as Northamptonshire moved closer to their first championship win of the season, against Essex at Wantage Road.
Wessels, with the help of Rob White (70) and Andrew Hall (58), helped the hosts amass 354. When Essex lost openers Varun Chopra and Jaik Mickleburgh before stumps, Essex were reeling on 41 for two and trailing by 92.
Openers Rob Key (10) and Sam Northeast (15) survived a tough spell in fading light before stumps to help Kent claim a slender five-run lead against Glamorgan.
Glamorgan had been dismissed for 307 to take a 30-run first innings lead in the day’s final session, Jamie Dalrymple top scoring with 79.
Alex Gidman led from the front with a career-best 159 as Gloucestershire built a healthy first-innings advantage over Leicestershire at Bristol.
The captain progressed from an overnight 34, sharing stands of 82 with nightwatchman Steve Kirby (27) and 128 with Steve Snell (69 not out), as his side reached 361 for seven by the time bad light ended play 13 overs early. That gave Gloucestershire a lead of 228.