Somerset stunned by Red Rose revival
Lancashire boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from Division One of the LV= County Championship by claiming a surprise first-innings lead over Somerset on day two at Aigburth.
The Red Rose, who have one just one four-day game this summer, were bowled out for just 185 this morning after resuming on 129 for five, with veteran seamer Alfonso Thomas picking up three wickets to finish with 4-63.
However, Lancashire captain Glen Chapple removed openers Arul Suppiah and Marcus Trescothick inside his first two overs and Somerset duly subsided to 149 all out on another rain-interrupted day.
The evergreen Chapple finished with 3-38; left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan returned 3-47 and there were two wickets apiece for Ajmal Shahzad and Kyle Hogg.
Title-chasing Warwickshire were indebted to an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 152 between Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton as they responded to an imposing Middlesex total at Uxbridge.
Despite two early wickets for Chris Woakes, Middlesex added 78 to their overnight total of 324 for seven as Steven Crook and Tim Murtagh struck 30 and 36 not out respectively.
Murtagh then reduced Warwickshire to 26 for two, but Westwood dug in to reach 89 and received able support from Troughton, a centurion in each of his last two championship outings.
At stumps, the visitors trailed by 224 on 178 for two, their skipper having moved patiently to 60 after being dropped on two; Westwood was also put down after passing 50.
Things continued to go swimmingly for Ed Joyce at the PROBIZ County Ground in his first game since he inherited the Sussex captaincy from Michael Yardy.
After watching his bowlers limit Worcestershire to a modest first-innings total of 162 yesterday, Joyce compiled 107 to lead the hosts to 325 for seven in reply.
Luke Wright chipped in with 78 and shared 123 with his skipper on a day when Worcestershire’s bowlers - with the exception of Alan Richardson, who claimed 4-67 from 30 overs - toiled.
Division Two leaders Derbyshire enjoyed the better of the opening day against fourth-placed Kent after claiming eight wickets at Derby.
The match started well for the visitors with Sam Northeast hitting nine fours on his way to 52 before he was bowled by Jonathan Clare.
Wickets tumbled at regular intervals thereafter; Tim Groenewald led the way with 3-41 and Kent were grateful for Matt Coles’ unbeaten 51 as they reached stumps on 238 for eight.
Stephen Peters’ unbeaten 74 ensured Northamptonshire ended day two on top against Yorkshire at Wantage Road.
The White Rose picked up two wickets in the morning session, but only managed one further breakthrough before rain brought an early close with Northants on 175 for three, trailing by 74.
Glamorgan launched a spirited fightback to take control of their fixture with Gloucestershire at St Helen’s, Swansea.
A superb 10th-wicket stand of 83 between Dean Cosker, who finished unbeaten on 49, and Huw Waters, the last man out for 39, helped the Welsh county reach 208 - a stunning effort given they had begun day two on 64 for six.
Their day was about to get even better as Gloucestershire closed on 91 for seven following three wickets for Jim Allenby and two for home favourite Robert Croft.
Essex put on a dominant batting display on day two before declaring on 434 for three against Leicestershire.
Tom Westley and Jaik Mickelburgh each passed three figures and shared an opening stand of 248 before Mark Pettini and Ryan ten Doeschate added unbeaten scores of 72 and 63.
Essex declared with 14 overs of the day remaining, and there was enough time for David Masters to claim two wickets to leave the visitors in deep trouble on 32 for two.