Warwickshire close in on glory
Warwickshire kept on course for the LV= County Championship title but Lancashire continued to push them all the way.
Jim Troughton’s side crucially forced Hampshire to follow on at the Rose Bowl, relegating the hosts and giving themselves the best chance of a win that would would clinch the title.
Should Warwickshire slip up, though, Lancashire were poised to take advantage thanks to their dominant position over Somerset at Taunton.
Liam Dawson did all his could to give Hampshire the maximum batting points they needed to have a chance of staying up, carrying his bat with a stubborn 152.
However, he had inadequate support as the hosts, who began the day on 57 without loss, were dismissed for 324 in 96 overs with Chris Wright and Chris Metters sharing six wickets.
Dawson was immediately back in the middle but fell to Boyd Rankin before spinner Metters struck twice more to leave Hampshire 43 for three at stumps, 126 in arrears.
Lancashire assumed a 100-run first innings lead and reduced Somerset to 105 for five by the close.
The visitors’ 480 all out came courtesy of a strong all-round display in which everyone made double figures. Following fifties for the top three yesterday, which left Lancashire 247 for three overnight, Steven Croft hit 54, Kyle Hogg 46 and Simon Kerrigan 40. Murali Kartik finished with five expensive wickets.
Hogg struck twice early in Somerset’s second knock and first-innings centurion James Hildreth could make only 39 this time.
Warwickshire's sixth bonus point ended Durham's faint title hopes and meant Worcestershire were safe from relegation. Durham were on on course to beat Worcestershire, having set them a tricky 365 to win at the Emirates Durham ICG.
Having conceded a 24-run first-innings deficit, the hosts - who trailed Lancashire by 12 points at the start of these matches - resumed this morning on 51 without loss and were 388 all out.
Opener Michael Di Venuto made 55 and Mark Stoneman 75 before Dale Benkenstein and Ian Blackwell registered 63 and 59 respectively. Gareth Andrew claimed 4-72.
Graham Onions broke through twice with the visitors on 50 and they closed on 65 for two, requiring 300 to win.
In the match with no bearing on the title or relegation, Sussex were poised for victory over Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Having begun the day on 132 for one, the hosts slumped to 311 all out as Naved Arif and Monty Panesar shared six wickets. Notts captain Chris Read top-scored with 55.
Following on, opener Karl Turner struck 42 but Panesar broke through twice more to leave Notts in trouble 103 for four by stumps, needing 75 to make Sussex bat again.
Surrey were promoted thanks to a maximum-point demolition of Derbyshire by an innings and 126 runs at the Kia Oval this afternoon, with Pragyan Ojha taking 10 wickets in the match.
The visitors were forced to follow on this morning as they could add only 13 to their overnight 177 for seven. Ojha claimed the last two wickets, including opener Paul Borrington for 87, for figures of 4-48.
Ojha then picked up 6-42 as Derbyshire could make just 152 second time round, only Tim Groenewald emerging with credit on 33 not out.
Northamptonshire this morning did all they could to aid their promotion bid, beating Gloucestershire by nine wickets at Wantage Road.
David Willey matched Ojha’s achievement by taking 5-46 in a second-innings total of 185 all out for the visitors, who began the day on 84 for five, leaving Northants a mere 26 for victory.
Middlesex were ready to take the last promotion spot, needing three more Leicestershire wickets at Grace Road to go up as champions.
Gareth Berg and Tim Murtagh more than doubled their overnight stand to 172 as the former went from 70 to 130 not out and the latter hit 55, the visitors extending yesterday’s 401 for eight to 502 all out.
Murtagh cheaply trapped both openers in front but Greg Smith and James Taylor responded with a 121-run stand. Once Smith fell for 58 and Taylor went for 80, Ollie Rayner picked up three wickets to leave the hosts 222 for seven.
In the floodlit game at Canterbury, Glamorgan built a strong lead over Kent thanks to Stewart Walters’ century.
Walters began the day on 83 in a total of 258 for four and progressed to 147 after Mark Wallace perished for 57. The visitors declared at tea on 423 for nine, an advantage of 186.
Despite Sam Northeast’s 51, Kent closed in a difficult position at 148 for five.