Worcestershire dent Red Rose hopes
LV= County Championship leaders Lancashire bounced back strongly from an abysmal opening session at New Road, but remain on the back foot in their match against struggling Worcestershire.
The Red Rose, who held a three-point advantage at the top of the table heading into this week’s matches, slumped to 67 for seven this morning after choosing to bat first as Gareth Andrew picked up three wickets in the space of four balls.
West Indies paceman Kemar Roach also chipped in with 3-69, but lower order resistance from Kyle Hogg and Sajid Mahmood, who contributed 46 and 28 respectively, at least lifted the visitors to 161 all out.
Tom Smith followed Andrew and Roach’s lead by claiming three scalps as Worcestershire, currently two points clear of second-bottom Yorkshire, slipped to 77 for five in reply.
However, an unbeaten 87 from opener James Cameron, allied with 45 not out from wicketkeeper Ben Scott, helped them to stumps on 209 for six, a lead of 48.
Second-placed Warwickshire made a poor start of their own against Yorkshire at Edgbaston, but ended the day with the upper hand following a flurry of wickets in the evening session.
After England Lions opener Joe Root had fallen to Rikki Clarke, stand-in skipper Joe Sayers, who compiled 84, and Adam Lyth, with 74, put on 134 for the second wicket to put their side in control.
However, both then fell to young spinner Chris Metters as Yorkshire collapsed from 182 for one to 254 for eight by the close.
Bottom club Hampshire kept alive their survival hopes by dominating the opening day at Taunton.
A Somerset side missing Marcus Trescothick through injury, as well as England duo Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler, were dismissed for just 204, despite an unbeaten 59 from number nine Murali Kartik. Five of their top seven failed to pass four.
Hampshire lost Liam Dawson for a third-ball duck in the first over of their innings, but Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry each compiled unbeaten half-centuries to keep their side firmly on top.
Adams ended the day unbeaten on 57, while Carberry had 65 to his name in a score of 124 for one.
Mark Stoneman compiled a career-best 128 as Durham ended day one of their match against Sussex on 360 for nine.
The left-hander struck 19 fours and a six in his 254-ball stay at the crease and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 99 with the experienced Dale Benkenstein, who contributed 64 before being run out.
Wayne Parnell and James Anyon finished with three wickets apiece for Sussex, although the two pacemen each conceded more than 100 runs.
Andrew Strauss made the first double hundred of his first-class career as promotion hopefuls Middlesex assumed total control against rock-bottom Leicestershire on day two at Lord’s.
The left-handed opener progressed to 241 not out, with a whopping 28 fours and two sixes, and Leicestershire could only take the wicket of Dawid Malan for 47 before Middlesex declared on an imposing 496 for two.
Matthew Hoggard’s side could not even overhaul Strauss’ score as they were all out for 193, with Steven Crook picking up four wickets.
Tim Murtagh also claimed three scalps and Middlesex captain Chris Rogers must decide whether to enforce the follow-on tomorrow morning.
The three other Division Two clashes began today and despite Steven Davies making 81 at the top of the order for Surrey, they were restricted to 269 all out at Wantage Road against leaders Northamptonshire.
The visitors need a win if they are to keep their slim promotion hopes alive but after reaching 168 for three - thanks in the main to left-hander Davies’ efforts - they lost their last seven wickets for 101 runs.
Zander de Bruyn’s half-century ensured they were not bowled out for a lower score after winning the toss, while Northants, who were 41 points ahead of third-placed Surrey this morning, closed on four without loss.
David Balcombe took career-best bowling figures as Kent made a brilliant start against Essex on a day where 15 wickets at Canterbury.
The 26-year-old seamer ripped through Essex’s line-up after they had decided to bat to claim figures of 6-51 as the hosts were all out for a platry 144.
Kent may have been in danger of posting a similarly low score but opener Joe Denly’s 55 helped the side to 160 for five.
Half-centuries from Will Brag and Jim Allenby pushed Glamorgan to 300 for eight against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Gloucestershire captain Alex Gidman won the toss and opted to field, but Bragg’s 63 and Allenby’s 78 helped Glamorgan to a respectable total.