Rayner reigns supreme for Middlesex
Middlesex nightwatchman Ollie Rayner prevented Nottinghamshire from enforcing the follow-on with a sparkling unbeaten 143 and then did further damage with the ball on an absorbing third day at Trent Bridge.
After coming in yesterday with his side 50 for three, Rayner, who had scored one previous first-class hundred on debut for Sussex in 2006, was chiefly responsible for carrying Middlesex to 300 for nine declared.
He struck 19 fours and a six in his 255-ball stay and shared 119 for the fifth wicket with Dawid Malan, Middlesex’s next highest scorer with 46.
Rayner then followed up his batting heroics by claiming the wickets of Alex Hales and Graeme Swann as Notts closed 145 ahead on 22 for three.
Surrey retained hopes of victory against Worcestershire despite losing 14 wickets on the third day at New Road.
Having initially been reduced to 43 for eight in their first innings, Chris Adams’ men were skittled for 113, Jacques Rudolph’s 68 the only score of note as Richard Jones and David Lucas shared eight scalps.
Jones also picked up four wickets when Surrey batted for a second time, but Kevin Pietersen’s breezy 69, which featured 10 fours and a six, provided Surrey with momentum.
Captain Rory Hamilton-Brown and Tom Maynard followed Pietersen’s lead by batting positively en route to unbeaten scores of 50 and 63. At stumps, their side led by 44 on 216 for four.
There was a second successive washout at the Emirates Durham ICG, ensuring Somerset remained on 220 for eight in their first innings replying to Durham’s paltry 125.
Although there was no further rain at the PROBIZ County Ground, Sussex and reigning champions Lancashire were unable to take the field for a third day in succession, with sections of the outfield still unfit for play.
A positive result appeared more likely at Bristol after Division Two rivals Gloucestershire and Yorkshire contrived to set up a run-chase for the latter.
Kane Williamson took his score on to 111 before becoming the third of five victims for England all-rounder Tim Bresnan and Gloucestershire then slumped from 290 for four to 299 for nine.
The hosts were then fed quick runs in order to gain a fourth batting point. After they had declared on 351 for nine, Yorkshire forfeited their first innings and Gloucestershire crawled to 47 without loss before declaring for a second time.
Set 400 to win in 110 overs, the White Rose reached stumps on 30 for one, opener Joe Sayers having fallen cheaply.
Kent were indebted to a spirited partnership of 194 between the experienced duo of Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones as they battled back against Essex at Chelmsford.
Stevens and Jones struck 119 and 88 respectively to rescue the visitors, who had been reduced to nine for five on the opening day. A second collapse followed once the former had departed, but a score of 225 all out still represented a notable recovery.
Essex, who saw Ravi Bopara leave the field with a quad strain, responded with 94 for two, Mark Pettini contributing an unbeaten 61 after Alastair Cook and Tom Westley had been dismissed for one and nought by Mark Davies.
Returning captain Jimmy Adams and debutant Bilal Shafayat impressed with the bat for Hampshire when their match with Division Two leaders Derbyshire finally got under way at the Ageas Bowl.
Opener Adams top-scored with 122 and put on 164 with the fluent Shafayat, who fell seven short of a century, as the hosts made up for lost time by reaching 352 for eight.
Kyle Coetzer was another batsman to reach three figures. He struck 120 to help Northamptonshire to 352 for seven declared against Leicestershire in another match severely blighted by the incelement weather prior to today.
Chaminda Vaas claimed 2-4 from seven overs as the Grace Road hosts struggled to 38 for two in reply.