Durham deep in trouble
Defending champions Durham are staring down the barrel of an innings defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in Division One of the LV= County Championship after slumping to 87 for four in their second innings.
Notts declared on 559 for eight after veteran Ali Brown smashed a typically belligerent 134 from 121 balls and captain Chris Read added 124 not out. They put on 237 in 42 overs.
That left Durham trailing by 341 and only openers Kyle Coetzer (45) and Michael Di Venuto (29) reached double figures as the hosts quickly made inroads.
An intriguing final day is in prospect at Chelmsford, where Kent lead Essex by 283 runs with five wickets remaining in their second innings after closing day three on 150 for five.
Tom Westley made 132 and Ryan ten Doeschate 66 as Essex reached 341, while Azhar Mahmood snared 5-63 to earn Kent a first-innings lead of 133.
But the visitors were grateful for Sam Northeast’s unbeaten 49 as they lost early wickets second time around, slumping to 60 for three due to Chris Wright’s two wickets before youngster Northeast put on 50 with Geraint Jones (36).
James Hildreth and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler made centuries as Somerset reached 441 for six in response to Hampshire’s 512 in a match which seems destined to end in a draw at the Rose Bowl.
The pair put on 105 before Hildreth departed for 106, and 19-year-old Buttler will resume on 105 not out.
In Division Two, Steven Finn again caught the eye of England national selector Geoff Miller with a stunning haul of 4-19 to help ease Middlesex to an emphatic innings-and-35-run win over Derbyshire at Lord's.
The 21-year-old ripped through Derbyshire's top order to dismiss them for 143 and clinch victory with four sessions to spare.
In two fiery stints from the Pavilion End, Finn put the result beyond doubt as Derbyshire, batting for a second time by 11.30am having been skittled for 196 to concede a first-innings deficit of 178, capitulated within three hours.
Leicestershire took their clash with Gloucestershire into a fourth day at Bristol, but a home win still appears beyond doubt.
Leicestershire openers Paul Nixon (63) and Matthew Boyce (62) added only three to an unbeaten overnight stand of 122 and the visitors cancelled out a first-innings deficit of 274 only after losing nine wickets.
Last man Matthew Hoggard joined Jacques du Toit (32 not out) to bat out the day in a 13.1-over unbroken last-wicket stand, but, with Leicestershire's lead a meagre eight, little cricket can be expected tomorrow.
Northamptonshire have a slightly better chance of securing a draw at the SWALEC Stadium after being reduced to 126 for four, still 73 in arrears after Glamorgan took a first-innings lead of 197.
Jim Allenby moved on from his overnight 39 not out to 72 and Mark Wallace and David Harrison added 27 apiece, the latter from 19 balls, as Glamorgan reached 450.
James Harris then took three wickets as Northants failed to build on opener Stephen Peters’ 48.