Warwickshire on the brink
Warwickshire are poised to go top of the LV= County Championship after Boyd Rankin and Chris Wright took three wickets apiece to leave Nottinghamshire in a perilous position at Edgbaston.
Jim Troughton’s men will leapfrog Durham if they can emerge victorious this week and they go into the final day clear favourites after Notts were bowled out for 238 in their first innings before reaching 136 for six following on.
They looked comfortable at 171 for three this morning, thanks in the main to knocks of 72 and 70 from Alex Hales and Darren Bravo respectively, but then lost their last seven wickets for 67 runs.
Chris Woakes finished as the pick of the bowlers with 4-91, while Rikki Clarke, who scored an explosive century in Warwickshire’s whopping first-innings total of 574 for seven declared, contributed three wickets.
Despite Hales once again putting up some resistance with an unbeaten 69, Rankin and Wright shared six wickets to leave Notts - who still trail by 200 - facing an uphill battle to avoid defeat.
Sean Ervine’s century for Hampshire was negated by third-placed Lancashire openers Paul Horton and Stephen Moore putting on a partnership of 168 at Aigburth.
Ervine’s 128 boosted Hampshire to 381 all out - just seven runs behind Lancashire, who were grateful to left-arm spinner Gary Keedy’s 5-93.
However, momentum shifted when the title-chasing Red Rose reached 195 for two for as Horton struck 96 and Moore reached 77 not out to help their side build towards a competitive total.
Yorkshire’s hopes of preserving their Division One status were slightly enhanced after Ryan Sidebottom ripped through Somerset’s top order at Headingley Carnegie.
The White Rose must win to keep alive the faintest hopes of avoiding relegation, but acting captain Alfonso Thomas’ 5-66 restricted Yorkshire to 195 all out to hand Somerset a first-innings lead of 70.
The hosts could not take full advantage, though, as Sidebottom’s four-wicket haul reduced Somerset to 78 for six, although Craig Meschede and Thomas put on an unbroken stand of 46 to help Somerset to 124 for six - a lead of 194.
Joe Gatting’s unbeaten century ensured Sussex are firmly in the initiative against fellow strugglers Worcestershire at New Road.
Both sides are not certain of their Division One places next year but Gatting’s 116 not out saw Sussex reach an intimidating, and perhaps an even insurmountable lead of 420, as they closed on 267 for four.
Sussex had earlier chosen not to enforce the follow-on after Worcestershire were all out for 222 - just four runs adrift of what they required - and Monty Panesar was their chief tormentor with 5-58.
Division Two leaders Middlesex did their utmost to make up for lost time after the first two days against Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium were washed out.
Gareth Berg rewarded Chris Rogers’ decision to bowl first by taking 6-58 as the Welsh county were dismissed for 157, Will Bragg top-scoring with 52.
Middlesex initially struggled with the bat, slipping to 79 for four, but Rogers’ unbeaten 81 guided them to 169 for four at stumps. He combined with John Simpson for an unbroken alliance of 90.
Surrey closed in on victory over Essex at Chelmsford that would put them right in contention for promotion.
Zander de Bruyn turned an overnight 40 into 100, sharing a 119-run stand with Chris Jordan. De Bruyn was one of six wickets for the country’s leading wicket-taker David Masters, who finished with 6-93, but number eight Jordan followed his first-innings 71 with 79 not out in a total of 286 all out.
That left Essex chasing 349, the highest score of the match, for victory and they were 142 for five at stumps with three wickets for Tim Linley.
Gloucestershire kept alive their slim promotion hopes by making Leicestershire follow on at Bristol.
David Payne doubled his overnight tally - dismissing Robert Taylor, Jigar Naik and Matthew Hoggard for ducks - to claim 6-26 as the visitors were all out for 135, a first-innings deficit of 159.
They fared better second time with James Taylor’s 70 and Ned Eckersley’s 52 not out underpinning a score of 255 for four, four behind, when bad light brought an early close.
Kent gave themselves an outside chance of beating previously dominant Derbyshire at Derby.
Responding to the hosts’ 535 all out, opener Joe Denly extended his overnight 142 to a career-best 199 and Azhar Mahmood 60 to 97.
Tony Palladino’s 5-84 limited them to 419, but Derbyshire could only make 181 in their second knock. Wayne Madsen top-scored with 73 while David Balcombe, Adam Riley and Darren Stevens shared nine wickets equally.
That set Kent 297 for victory and they lost nightwatchman Riley second ball to close on nought for one.