• Specsavers County Championship 5m

    Essex fight back in battle for top spot

    Your essential round-up of all the day two action from Division One

    Essex fought back at Surrey after Mark Stoneman's superb 197, while it's perfectly poised between Yorkshire and Somerset. 

    Lancashire 123/4 v Middlesex 180 - No play due to rain
    Somerset 224 v Yorkshire 202 & 127/2
    Surrey 339 v Essex 363/7


    Ryan Sidebottom claimed five for 56, including his 750th first class wicket, as Yorkshire edged the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Somerset at Taunton.

    By the time bad light ended play six overs early, the visitors were 127 for two in their second innings, leading by 105.

    Sidebottom had ensured Somerset’s first innings lead would not be significant. After beginning the day on 41 for three, the hosts were bowled out for 224 in reply to Yorkshire’s 202.

    Then Peter Handscomb, with an unbeaten half-century, ensured a fascinating day ended with his side in a decent position.

    James Hildreth was first to go in the morning session when he left a ball from Steve Patterson that moved into him and was lbw.

    Lewis Gregory, fresh from his maiden first class century against Middlesex, was quickly into his stride and took three boundaries off Azeem Raffia’s first over.

    At the other end Steve Davies survived an early chance when he was put down at second slip off Sidebottom after which he started to grow in confidence. Two overs he struck Patterson crisply to the cover boundary.

    The fifth-wicket partnership had added 65 when Davies, on 35, edged a delivery from off-spinner Rafiq to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd.

    Adam Hose, making his frist Championship appearance, faced only six balls before he was lbw to Yorkshire debutant Matthew Waite, which brought Craig Overton to join Gregory.

    With the total on 114 for six, a lot depended on the Devonian pair of Gregory and Overton and they didn't disappoint. Overton hit successive fours off Rafiq and they looked on course to remain together until lunch.

    However, Yorkshire had other ideas and brought Sidebottom back into the attack. Off the last ball of the penultimate over before the break, Gregory was lbw to the left arm seamer for 43.

    New batsman Jamie Overton hit some lusty blows, while his brother was more circumspect in the way he played. After moving onto 19, Jamie was leg before to Sidebottom, his 750th first class wicket.

    Jack Leach and Craig Overton edged Somerset closer to their first batting point, but on 199 Leach fell lbw to Waite for 17.

    Dom Bess strode to the wicket and nudged his third ball from Waite through point to see up the 200. The last wicket pair took the total onto 224 when Bess was out for 20, caught at first slip off Karl Carver.

    Batting for a second time, Yorkshire openers Adam Lyth and Alex Lees added 35 when Lyth was leg before to off-spinner Bess for ten.

    Handscomb joined Lees and started to push the score along, but after they had added 58 for the second wicket in 17.3 overs, Craig Overton returning at the Somerset Pavilion End sent Lees middle stump cartwheeling.

    Hanscomb continued to plunder his runs and went to a deserved half century with a classy off drive from Leach, his runs coming off 79 balls with 10 fours. Gary Balance was unbeaten on 15 when the light closed in.

    Somerset's Overton said at the close of play: “This wasn’t quite the day we wanted as we had hoped to bat for most of it.

    “It didn’t quite work out that way. They bowled well and kept it tight and we kept on getting out, which was frustrating. At the end of the day we were happy to get the lead."


    Ryan ten Doeschate’s first hundred of the season put Essex in a good position after another day of heavy run scoring against Surrey at Guildford.

    The Essex captain has struggled to recapture the form he showed last season when he scored 1,226 runs with four centuries, but he finished unbeaten on 120 with Essex 367 for 7 in reply to Surrey’s 399.

    He came in when his side were in a spot of bother. Surrey skipper Gareth Batty had taken two quick wickets to reduce Essex to 134 for 4, but Ravi Bopara helped ten Doeschate rebuild the innings with a stand of 120 in 27 overs, of which Bopara contributed 64, his first half-century of the season.

    He had a life on 37 when wicketkeeper Ben Foakes put down a difficult chance down the leg side but grew in confidence as he built his innings, playing authoritative shots on both sides of the wicket.

    A leg glance off Stuart Meaker took him to his hundred, off 120 balls, and by stumps he had faced 144 balls and hit a six and 18 fours.

    Surrey’s attack stuck to their task throughout and there were moments in the day when they looked to be in control. Sam Curran had Alastair Cook (31) lbw with a touch of late inswing on the stroke of lunch and after Tom Westley (22) was squared up by Mark Footitt, Batty struck twice with Nick Browne (43) lbw working to leg and Dan Lawrence cutting straight to point.

    But Bopara and ten Doeschate took advantage of quick-scoring conditions to build a useful partnership which ended when Stuart Meaker returned to the attack and found a touch of reverse swing to pin Bopara for 64 offering no shot, having hit nine fours and two sixes.

    Footitt returned to pick up James Foster (12) and Simon Harmer (20) but Neil Wagner helped ten Doeschate add 41 for the eighth wicket on a day when 413 runs were scored.

    Earlier, Mark Stoneman completed a career-best 197 but just missed out on a maiden double hundred. The left-hander resumed on 181 and scored the seven he needed to take him past his previous best, made for former county Durham against Middlesex in 2014.

    Essex wicketkeeper Foster dived in front of slip to take the edge after Stoneman made his first mistake, driving outside off stump at a delivery from Wagner he could have ignored. He faced 248 balls and hit two sixes and 26 fours.

    Batty on 13 drove to point off Bopara before Jamie Porter switched ends to finish the innings when he picked up Ravi Rampaul (3) and Footitt (0) in five balls as Surrey lost their last four wickets in four overs for seven runs.

    At the end of the day, ten Doeschate commented: "To get my first hundred of the season is a monkey off my back. It's a good wicket to bat on with no margin for error and it was important for me to help us get in a decent position with a lot of time left in the game still.

    "It took us a bit of time to find our feet in Division One but we have been competitive in our last few games and we're trying to be positive and win games and here will be no different."

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