Yorkshire and Somershet shared plenty of wickets while Surrey's Stoneman put in a memorable display to put on a big score in Essex's expense.
Bad day for batsmen in Taunton as Yorkshire suffer
Somerset's batting will come under close scrutiny once again on day two in Taunton, after their bowlers laid the foundations for yet another tilt at a first Specsavers' County Championship victory of the season.
It has been a difficult summer with the bat for Tom Abell's side. Positions of promise have finished with disappointing losses as the county's out of form batsman have failed to reach the mark.
And that was very much the case at the Cooper Associates County Ground on day one of the county's latest Championship game, against title hopefuls Yorkshire.
In response to Yorkshire's 202 all out, they lost Dean Elgar, Marcus Trescothick and captain Tom Abell in the final session, as Ryan Sidebottom reduced the host county to 41 for 3 at the close.
On a wicket being used for the third time this season, it proved to be a difficult day all round for the batsmen as the bowlers once again prospered.
Having chosen to bat first on a wicket that was used against Hampshire two weeks previous, Yorkshire found themselves in trouble from the moment Jamie Overton had former England opener Adam Lyth caught by Lewis Gregory in the gully, for 24.
Alex Lees (6) followed at 34 for 2, brilliantly caught by Abell at extra cover, before captain Gary Ballance and Australian Peter Handscomb settled in and took Yorkshire to 79 for 2 at lunch.
It was after the interval that Somerset took a firm grip on the game, courtesy of some fine bowling by Jamie Overton, brother Craig, fellow seamer Gregory and spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
Leach bowled Ballance around his legs at 82 for 3 and three overs later Handscomb, who batted well for 25, was trapped leg before by the impressive Jamie Overton.
On a wicket that will almost certainly take some real spin later in the game, it was the endeavour of Jamie Overton that was rewarded once again when Jack Leaning (3) top-edged a pull to Craig Overton at backward square.
Not to be outdone, left-armer Leach picked up Matthew Waite's wicket at 95 for 6 and from that juncture, it was left to Andrew Hodd to guide Yorkshire towards 200.
He lost partners Azeem Rafiq (6) and Steven Patterson (1) at 134 and 152 respectively, before posting his half century off 55 balls with nine fours and a six.
He finally departed for 59, brilliantly caught by Abell at mid off, off the bowling of Gregory, leaving Karl Carver and Sidebottom to add 31 for the 10th wicket.
Somerset's batting frailty was exposed once more in the final session when Elgar (6) was sent back at 7 for 1 in the fifth over and both Abell and Trescothick followed shortly after.
Although there were no further hiccups for Somerset, they face an almighty task on day two to maintain their push for that elusive first Championship win of the season.
At the close of play, Somerset's Jamie Overton said: "It was slightly frustrating to finish the day as we did, losing three wickets.
Murtagh has a late flurry but Lancashire edge first day
Fourteen wickets fell on a compelling opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash between Lancashire and Middlesex at Southport, as the hosts took a slight advantage heading into day two.
It was a bowlers day from start to finish, despite the fact that the near entirety of it was played under sunny skies.
Having won the toss, Middlesex skipper James Franklin wouldn’t have envisaged his side being bowled out before Tea, but six wickets in the afternoon session reduced the visitors from 143-4 to 180 all out.
When Lancashire lost their first two wickets in the first over without a run on the board, 180 began to look a good score, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul spearheaded a gritty response that has just edged Lancashire in front.
Lancashire’s 20-year-old seamer Saqib Mahmood caught the eye at the start of proceedings. Having been talked up as a talent for some time this is just his third first-class game, but he steamed in with good pace and rhythm to Middlesex’s opening pair of Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins.
Mahmood got his reward when Gubbins feathered one down the leg-side and was taken by Alex Davies for just one. Robson looked in good touch on his return from five weeks out with a hamstring injury but edged behind off Bailey for 15.
At 30-2, Middlesex were wobbling somewhat and their cause wasn’t helped when Dawid Malan took on a Bailey short ball from just his 11thdelivery faced and popped it straight down the throat of Chanderpaul at fine leg.
Steve Eskinazi was also on his way before lunch, becoming the third to edge behind to Davies. The keeper was becoming a key factor in the match and ended the innings with six catches – just one short of equalling the Lancashire record for most dismissals in an innings.
He picked up his fourth catch when Paul Stirling advanced down the track to Mahmood and suffered a leg-side death one run short of his half-century. Stirling had looked confident at the crease, hitting nine boundaries and one big six.
But his dismissal at 143-4 triggered something of a collapse. Franklin chopped on to give Mahmood a third, before Jordan Clark struck twice in the 47th over to remove James Harris and Toby Roland-Jones – both caught by Davies.
John Simpson provided stout resistance to the relentless tumbling of wickets, bringing up his 50 from 79 balls but he rapidly ran out of partners. Murtagh fell to Ryan McLaren for a duck and Ravi Patel picked out Stephen Parry in the deep off Clark to end the innings in double-quick time.
Wicket-keepers were flavour of the day as Simpson swiftly joined Davies in racking up the catches, holding the first three wickets of the Lancashire innings.
The first two fell in Tim Murtagh’s opening over when Davies fell to the second ball of the innings and Liam Livingstone edged behind while advancing down the track for a golden duck. Lancashire were 0-2 and captain Steven Croft had to survive a hat-trick ball.
But survive it he did and, alongside Haseeb Hameed, began to dig in for Lancashire. The pair shared a gritty 50-partnership for the third wicket.
However, the leg-side strangle had also dominated proceedings and remarkably Hameed became the fourth batsman to suffer the most frustrating of dismissals when he feathered one through to Simpson for 18.
Croft would also fall for a well-made 31, but Lancashire’s Kolpak pairing of Chanderpaul and Dane Vilas saw them through to the close on 123-4.
Stoneman sizzles with a huge innings
Mark Stoneman scored a chanceless unbeaten 181 to continue his impressive form for new county Surrey as they took the first-day honours against Essex at Guildford.
The 29-year-old left-hander’s third century since he moved to the club from Durham last winter helped them reach 353 for 5 after they had been put in by Essex in the battle between two sides looking to put pressure on Division One leaders Hampshire.
Stoneman still has ambitions to play for England and is certainly the in-form opener in the country at the moment. Former England captain Alastair Cook, who had the best view in the house at first slip, would have been impressed with the quality of Stoneman’s ball-striking, particularly square of the wicket and through the off side.
He did not offer a chance against an Essex attack depleted by the absence of seamer Matt Quinn for much of a rain-shortened day after he went off with back spasms.
Stoneman watched three partners depart at the other end before sharing a stand of 186 in 41 overs with Dominic Sibley, whose 69 was his third Championship half-century of the season, to alter the course of the day.
Jamie Porter had claimed two wickets with the new ball, including Kumar Sangakkara for just four, to help reduce Surrey to 89 for 3 after morning rain had delayed the start until 1.10pm.
Porter claimed his 150th first-class wicket when Rory Burns (14) swished outside off stump before picking up Sangakkara, who came into the game with 876 first-class runs already this season but aimed an expansive drive at Porter and fell for just four.
With Neil Wagner drawing Scott Borthwick (14) forward and finding the edge Essex would have been pleased with their early work.
But Stoneman was soon into his stride. He collected leg-side sixes off Porter and off-spinner Simon Harmer, who bowled 17 overs either side of tea, and 15 boundaries in a 118-ball hundred which he reached shortly after tea.
His next 50 came off 55 deliveries and he passed his previous best for Surrey, 165 against Warwickshire in the opening game of the season, when he drove a ball from Ravi Bopara back past the bowler to the boundary.
Mark Stoneman take a bow! 🙌— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) June 9, 2017
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣up and in fine fashion too. 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/HWwfDjIt4M
Sibley was starting to plck up the pace, having reached 50 off 99 balls, when Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate dragged Surrey back with two wickets in successive overs.
Sibley, who hit nine fours and two sixes, was caught behind off ten Doeschate’s sixth ball and in his next over he trapped former Essex team-mate Ben Foakes (4) leg before as Foakes played across the line.
But Sam Curran gave Stoneman excellent support and reached a 54-ball half-century with his tenth boundary in the last over of the day. The pair have added 73 for the sixth wicket so far, Stoneman having so far faced 221 balls with 21 fours and two sixes.