Warwickshire close in on top spot

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Tim Ambrose and Will Porterfield shared a partnership of 111 to help unbeaten Warwickshire move within sight of a fourth victory of the season at the Kia Oval and a return to the top of the LV= County Championship table.

After posting 245 all out to set a target of 222, despite Jeetan Patel returning 6-95, hosts Surrey initially moved into a dominant position as they reduced last year’s Division One runners-up to 37 for four, Gareth Batty adding three wickets to his six in the first innings.

Batty went on to claim a 10th scalp in the match when he trapped Porterfield lbw, but only after the left-hander had contributed a valuable 66.

Ambrose made it through to stumps on 74 as Warwickshire closed on 181 for five, requiring a further 41 to win.

Lancashire continued to hold the upper hand at Aigburth, where they opted not to enforce the follow-on against Middlesex.

The visitors, who resumed on 155 for five, conceded a first-innings lead of 162 by being dismissed for 230, with Ajmal Shahzad returning 4-40.

Paul Horton’s 89 and 76 from Karl Brown then helped Lancashire race to 266 for eight declared before Middlesex, for whom Dawid Malan claimed five expensive wickets, reached 29 without loss to trail by 400 heading into the final day.

Chris Nash and Luke Wright were the only batsmen to impress at the PROBIZ County Ground as Sussex reached 305 for nine on day one of their match against Nottinghamshire.

Nash compiled 128 and received fine support from Wright, who followed up last night’s Clydesdale Bank 40 century against Yorkshire by contributing 81 on his first championship appearance of the summer.

Will Porterfield & Tim Ambrose

Tim Ambrose acknowledges a valuable half-century for Warwickshire at the Kia Oval. He shared 111 for the fifth wicket with Will Porterfield

No other player passed 25 as Notts plugged away with the ball either side of Nash and Wright’s fifth-wicket stand of 145. Samit Patel led the way with 3-66.

In Division Two, Derbyshire cruised to a 10-wicket victory over Essex to extend their lead at the summit.

Despite Owais Shah scoring 75 on his return to domestic action, Essex were all out for 234 as David Wainwright collected another three victims to add to a first-innings five-wicket haul.

That left the leaders needing just 94 to win and they eased past their target with Martin Guptill crashing three sixes and seven fours in an unbeaten 66.

Kent kept up the pressure at the top with a resounding innings-and-279-run success over Leicestershire.

James Tredwell started the day by adding to the foundations laid by Kent’s openers with 87 as they clocked up 533.

The visitors needed nearly 400 just to make Kent bat again and their task became even more difficult when Tredwell snatched three wickets in two overs. Darren Stevens then got in on the act, wrapping up the tail to bowl Leicestershire out for 113.

Hampshire made two early breakthroughs in Glamorgan’s second innings, but their contest is still set for an intriguing finale after the penultimate day.

Jimmy Adams top scored with 72 in Hampshire’s second innings of 273 as John Glover and Jim Allenby claimed a trio of wickets apiece.

Glamorgan, needing 263 for victory, lost Nick James and Will Bragg inside the opening six overs, but Gareth Rees and Marcus North guided them to 53 for two at stumps.

Hamish Marshall scored his first championship hundred of the season but Gloucestershire remain in a perilous position against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

The New Zealander scored an unbeaten 117 in his side’s 268 as they narrowly avoided giving Northants the option of enforcing the follow-on.

The hosts came out again for their second innings and reached 246 for five at stumps with Kyle Coetzer’s rapid 86 the pick of the scores.

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