Lancashire's struggles continue

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Reigning LV= County Champions Lancashire suffered further frustration as Warwickshire’s batsmen made hay on the first day of their match at Edgbaston.

While Warwickshire, last year’s runners-up, are unbeaten in 2012, Lancashire have yet to win a championship game and once again struggled today after losing the toss.

Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood did much of the damage with 113 and 70 respectively as the hosts made steady progress to 289 for four. Their opening stand of 168 spanned almost 60 overs.

Chopra was dropped on 51 off Ajmal Shahzad and went on to record the ninth first-class century of his career before becoming the second victim for Simon Kerrigan, who was selected as one of two frontline spinners by Lancashire, having returned second-innings figures of 5-7 in the corresponding fixture last summer.

Runs flowed freely at the Kia Oval, where Arul Suppiah and James Hildreth both made centuries for Somerset against Surrey.

Gareth Cross, Varun Chopra & Steven Croft

Varun Chopra progresses to a fine hundred at Edgbaston. His opening stand of 168 with Ian Westwood enabled Warwickshire to take control of proceedings against a Lancashire side still seeking their first victory

Suppiah struck 106, Hildreth added 120 from 138 deliveries and the in-form Nick Compton fell 17 runs short of yet another hundred as the visitors - who elected to make first use of a true surface - galloped to 441 for five.

Surrey’s attack were unable to exert any control, with off-spinner Gareth Batty and medium-pacer Zander de Bruyn, who dismissed Compton and Hildreth to end the day with 2-34, the only bowlers to go at less than four an over.

Worcestershire fought back well to leave things evenly poised at New Road after Chris Nash had helped Sussex make a fine start with the bat.

Sussex won the toss and had progressed to 109 by the time Nash became the second man to fall, for 84.

Wickets tumbled thereafter, Jack Shantry claiming three in quick succession, but a seventh-wicket partnership of 84 between Ben Brown and Naveed Arif Gondal helped Michael Yardy’s side close on 283 for eight.

In the game between last year’s relegated sides, Simon Katich’s unbeaten 180 gave Hampshire the upper hand over Yorkshire at Headingley Carnegie.

After the visitors won the toss, Katich led a recovery from six for two by racing to a 99-ball hundred.

The left-hander added 124 for the fifth wicket with Sean Ervine, who hit 44, and an unbroken 145 with Michael Bates, who closed on 88.

Katich and Bates saw Hampshire to a commanding 352 for five at stumps.

Tim Groenewald and Jonathan Clare shared six wickets as Division Two leaders Derbyshire responded well to losing the toss by dismissing Glamorgan for 236 at Derby.

Arul Suppiah

Arul Suppiah was another batsman to prosper today. The 28-year-old celebrates reaching three figures for a dominant Somerset at the Kia Oval

Marcus North, making his Glamorgan championship debut, top-scored with 79 and captain Mark Wallace was next best with 45.

Derbyshire’s openers saw out the remainder of the day to reach 22 without loss.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Josh Cobb shared a 216-run stand as Leicestershire fought back strongly against Essex at Grace Road.

The hosts opted to bat first but lost Will Jefferson to the match’s first ball, one of two early wickets for David Masters.

Sarwan and Cobb joined forces at 29 for three and batted for 60.3 overs until Masters snared Cobb for 80 and Sarwan for 117.

He finished with 4-57 as Leicestershire closed on 323 for five.

David Sales ground out an unbeaten century on an attritional day between Kent and Northamptonshire at Canterbury.

Sales and James Middlebrook put on an unbroken 157 for the sixth wicket after Northants, who won the toss, were reduced to 87 for four.

That was effectively 87 for five because opening batsman Rob Newton retired hurt with a broken arm that will keep him out for four to five weeks.

Newton's exit preceded two wickets for Charlie Shreck, but Sales and Middlebrook dug in to close on 104 and 57 in a total of 244 for four.

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