Durham eye a maiden win of the season and Glamorgan stun Worcestershire on a topsy-turvy Saturday in Division Two.
KENT v DURHAM
Title-chasing Kent will require a backs-to-the-wall batting effort on Sunday if they are to protect their unbeaten Division 2 status after tomorrow’s final day of their clash with Durham in Canterbury.
Having been set an unlikely victory pursuit of 484 in a minimum of 90 overs, the hosts started their second innings just after 5.30pm and went in unscathed at stumps on 35 for nought – still needing 449 for an unlikely win. Openers Daniel Bell-Drummond (17*) and Sean Dickson (16*) escaped the 30-minute examination without alarm despite a pitch that is waring and beginning to show signs of variable bounce.
Kent had started the day hanging on grimly in their first innings with skipper Sam Northeast leading their fight to avoid the follow-on. However, Paul Collingwood’s side needed only 12 overs and 50 minutes’ play to mop up Kent’s two remaining first-inning’s wickets and secure a 212-run lead.
Barry McCarthy polished the job off by having Yasir Shah caught behind by a tumbling Stuart Poynter for 48 and then, with his next delivery, snaring Mitchell Claydon lbw with the home score on 236.
Debutant Shah featured in a ninth-wicket stand worth 113 in 34.2 overs with his new captain Northeast, who was left unbeaten on 109 after posting his 18th first-class hundred from 162 balls and with 13 fours. McCarthy finished with a career-best 6-63, while Chris Rushworth bagged three for 69 in a much-improved Durham bowling performance.
Batting again before noon and after deciding not to enforce the follow-on, Durham suffered a near immediate blow with the loss of left-handed opener Keaton Jennings. Prodding half-forward and inside the line of Darren Stevens’ first delivery, an off-cutter, the ball thudded into the right pad forcing umpire Jeff Evans to raise his finger.
Stephen Cook needed a stroke of luck to survive with his score on 25. Driving loosely at one from Will Gidman he watched as Matt Coles, at second slip, dropped a tough chance diving in front of first slip.
After lunch, Durham continued at a surprisingly sedate pace, adding 100 in the mid-session for the loss of Stephen Cook who, with his score on 44, fenced at one from Claydon to edge to the keeper.
Kent’s short-leg fielder Dickson went off for treatment just before tea when Graham Clark’s full-blooded sweep against Yasir Shah struck him a fearful blow at the back of his neck and immediately drew blood. Thankfully, the South Africa-born player emerged after the interval to take up a fielding spot on the ropes as Durham started to increase their run rate.
Cameron Steel miscued a hook against Coles to hole out to mid-wicket, then Clark, after reaching an 81-ball 50, was bowled around his legs by Shah.
In the quest for quicker runs Ryan Pringle was stumped off the bowling of Joe Denly and Stuart Poynter holed out to deep square leg to gift Yasir Shah his second scalp of the innings. Paul Collingwood upped the tempo further with a 49-ball, unbeaten 50 that took his side to 271 for six before his declaration with 10 overs remaining in the day.
NORTHANTS v DERBYSHIRE
Rob Newton made his first century of the season in the Specsavers County Championship as Northamptonshire took control against Derbyshire at Wantage Road, reaching 247 for 4 and a lead of 289 by the close of day two.
Newton, who was awarded his county cap before the game, followed up a first-innings 67 with a century in 189 balls, his 12th in first-class cricket, reaching three figures by flicking Jeevan Mendis past midwicket for his tenth boundary.
The second fifty was quite hard work on a fairly slow wicket against the older ball, taking 123 balls and scoring just two further fours, as the boundaries that flowed before and just after lunch dried up and Northants ground Derbyshire down with steady accumulation.
Northants are not accustomed to playing in such a manner - Newton’s century was just the second they have made in the Championship this season and the century stand he shared with Alex Wakely was just the fifth of the year.
Wakely was also forced to play carefully and struck just a six - heaving a Mendis full toss over midwicket - and one four in his half-century from 100 balls. He fell for 79 in the final over of the old ball, driving at Tony Palladino and getting an edge to wicketkeeper Daryn Smit who took a good low catch. And when Conor McKerr sent a full ball into the stumps of Rob Keogh Derbyshire opened a route back into the game.
But until those late wickets, their hopes of a first four-day victory for two years were fading with just one wicket in the first 65 overs of the Northants second innings - that of Max Holden - pinned lbw by a McKerr yorker for 31.
Their attack was very ill-disciplined in the morning session where Northants raced past 50 in just the 11th over. The regained a little control of the run-rate after lunch with Alex Hughes bowling wicket-to-wicket and a good second spell from Tom Taylor.
Coming in from the Wantage Road end, Taylor provided some hope in his seven overs where he found a little movement to beat the bat several times. But it was the only period of concerted pressure Newton and Wakely faced as they grew the lead.
Their second effort with the bat ensured a great day for Northamptonshire after Ben Sanderson completed his first five-wicket haul of the season in the morning session to bowl Derbyshire out for 176 and handing Northants a handy first-innings lead of 42.
Sanderson struck in the eighth over of the morning to end a seventh-wicket stand of 59 that had frustrated Northants on the first evening. But Taylor, who survived 48 balls to the close of day one, added only three runs before shouldering arms and losing his off stump. And Sanderson’s five-for came when Tony Palladino tried to pull and got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Ben Duckett.
Hughes, who was dropped in the gully to the second ball of the morning, was left to try and farm the bowling from No. 11 Conor McKerr but calling him back for a second run that was most certainly available, McKerr simply didn’t respond and was run-out without facing a ball. It left Hughes stranded on 62.
At the close of play, centurion Newton said: “It’s to convert a start, during my career I’ve been pretty good at it. I’ve missed out a couple of times this season so it’s nice to get over the line. The seamers did a great job this morning and then we punished them to start with. It was difficult against the old ball with a ring field but we ran well to keep things ticking."
WORCESTERSHIRE v GLAMORGAN
Jacques Rudolph scored his first County Championship century for more than two years as Glamorgan turned the Specsavers County Championship clash with Worcestershire on its head at New Road.
Rudolph and Chris Cooke created a new seventh wicket record of 168 in 50 overs for Glamorgan in matches against Worcestershire.
Then Andrew Salter and Lukas Carey piled on the misery for the promotion-chasing home side with a 124 partnership for the ninth wicket in 27.1 overs.
Their efforts enabled Glamorgan to recover from 58-6 at one stage yesterday evening and total 381 all out in 101.5 overs - a lead of 114.
It was in sharp contrast to the problems caused yesterday by Worcestershire paceman Josh Tongue with his five wickets in four overs although he still was able to return career best figures of 6-97 from 25 overs.
Worcestershire suffered an early setback in reply when Daryl Mitchell on 18 nicked skipper Michael Hogan to Colin Ingram at first slip as they closed on 34-1 after bad lighted halted play with seven overs remaining.
Rudolph reached three figures in the competition for the first time since his hundred against Leicestershire at Grace Road in April 2015.
It was a welcome tonic for the 36-year-old after a poor run of form and having recently relinquished the captaincy of the Championship side to Hogan.
Rudolph and Cooke batted in confident fashion in surpassing the previous seventh wicket record of 106 by Jonathan Hughes and current head coach Robert Croft at the same venue in 2002.
Tongue was the only bowler to cause them any worries in his initial two spells and Rudolph completed his 51st first class hundred - off 158 balls with 13 fours - with a cut for four off Nathan Lyon.
Cooke had a let off on 48 when Daryl Mitchell at first slip failed to hold onto a chance off Lyon.
The stand was finally broken with Leach dismissing the pair in the same over.
Cook, having made 93 off 113 balls with one six and 11 fours, was caught at short mid on and then Rudolph, whose 111 spanned 209 deliveries with 14 boundaries, was bowled after attempting a cut.
Glamorgan were still 40 in arrears at that juncture but Salter and Carey earned them a sizeable advantage as they both posted career best scores.
Salter deliberately upper cut Tongue over third man for six to bring up the fourth batting point as the runs flowed against the second new ball.
Tongue finally ended the stand when Carey (54) popped a simple catch up to Brett D'Oliveira at point and then Leach removed Hogan (13) to leave Salter unbeaten on 80.
At the close of play, Salter said after his positive day: "It just so happened the momentum went our way and we could get a lead. But it was a great effort early on from Rudolph and Cooke in quite tricky conditions. We are in a great position in this game after today and hopefully we can take a couple of early wickets tomorrowand put some pressure on them and get a result."
LEICESTERSHIRE v SUSSEX
An unbroken last wicket partnership of 75 between Vernon Philander and Danny Briggs frustrated Leicestershire after the Foxes had looked set to take a big first innings lead on the second day of their championship match against Sussex.
Australian seamer Clint McKay took four wickets as Leicestershire reduced the visitors to 201-9, replying to the home team's first innings 340.
But Philander, playing his last match for Sussex before returning to South Africa, hit a fine half-century, and Briggs gave him impressively determined support before bad light saw play end with 7.2 overs remaining in the day.
Sussex had been under pressure from the start of their innings, after Zak Chappell bowled acting captain Chris Nash with a delivery which seamed back in to the right-hander, as well as keeping a touch low.
McKay then won two leg before decisions in as many balls, Luke Wells with a delivery which would have gone on to hit off-stump, and Stiaan van Zyl on the back foot to a ball that would have hit middle.
Luke Wright and Harry Finch had added 65 for the fourth wicket before Wright, who had hit eight fours in going to 36, tried to pull a delivery from Ben Raine which also kept low, and lost his off-stump.
REPLAY | Raine deserves that, Wright bowled for an entertaining 36 pic.twitter.com/lNjfbtNNAv— Leicestershire CCC🏏 (@leicsccc) 10 June 2017
The bounce was becoming increasingly unpredictable, and Michael Burgess, formerly of Leicestershire, never looked comfortable before going leg before to McKay.
Finch, who had battled his way through to a half-century, was bowled by a Raine delivery that straightened to hit the top of off-stump, and David Wiese, having been bowled by a Chappell no-ball, could not make the most of his reprieve, edging another Chappell delivery to wicket-keeper Ned Eckersley.
REPLAY | Finch played well for 61 but he was bowled by another good Raine delivery pic.twitter.com/2qo61dG2iM— Leicestershire CCC🏏 (@leicsccc) 10 June 2017
Chris Jordan was fortunate to edge McKay just short of Paul Horton at first slip, but the all-rounder began to settle and with Philander, took the visitors to within reach of the follow-on target of 191 at tea. Shortly after the break, however, Jordan drove at McKay without getting to the pitch of the ball and was brilliantly caught by Tom Wells diving to his left at cover.
Jofra Archer hooked a Dieter Klein bouncer straight to Mark Pettini at deep square leg, but Philander and Briggs played with rather more restraint in seeing their side through a further 25 overs before play ended.
Earlier the Foxes had lost their last three wickets in adding just 18 to their overnight score of 322-7. Chris Jordan, wicket-less on the first day, had Chappell caught off at mid-off by Nash off a leading edge before McKay wafted outside off-stump to give Michael Burgess a simple catch behind the stumps.
Having pulled Jordan dismissively to the midwicket boundary, Mark Cosgrove, on 128, then failed to clear mid-off with an attempted lofted drive.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE v NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
Nottinghamshire's Samit Patel and Cheteshwar Pujara batted the Division Two leaders into a positive position on the second day against Gloucestershire at as they reached 221/3 at close of play.
The pair added 146 for the third wicket in 54.1 overs to leave the promotion favourites 82 runs behind their hosts with seven first innings wickets in hand.
On a wicket that appears pretty lifeless, it will still take a special effort from one of the two sides to win the game. However, it is very much advantage Nottinghamshire at the half way stage.
Just as the sides were evenly matched on day one, so the first session on day two finished with honours just about even.
Resuming their first innings on 256 for 7, Gloucestershire were hoping that Gareth Roderick would help himself to a century after batting so well on Friday.
However, the 25-year-old wicket keeper/batsman was still four runs short of three figures when Luke Wood found a way through his defence at 280 for 8. Roderick's innings lasted just under five hours and not only included 10 boundaries off 215 balls, but helped Gloucestershire move towards 300.
Although David Payne departed first ball, in exactly the same fashion, Wood missed out on a possible hat-trick as Chris Liddle survived his first ball and went on to feature in a 30-run partnership with Craig Miles. Miles (47) was eventually trapped lbw by Patel as Notts wrapped up the Gloucestershire innings at 303.
Having reached 32 for 0 at lunch, Nottinghamshire's reply gathered momentum throughout the day on a relatively lifeless Bristol wicket.
They did lose Steven Mullaney (38) and fellow opener Jake Libby (30) in successive overs at 72 for 1 and 74 for 2, but Patel and Pujara not only stabilised the early afternoon wobble, but successfully built a third-wicket partnership of real substance.
The pair took the score to 125 for 2 off 48 overs, at tea, and progressed nicely thereafter, with Patel passing 50 off 120 balls with five fours. There were no risks taken. It was a case of patting back the decent deliveries, of which there were many from Graeme van Buuren in particular, and punishing the poor balls, of which there were very few.
Pujara looks a fine player. The 29-year-old Indian, who helped himself to a century when the sides met at Trent Bridge late last month, averages over 50 in Test cricket and has a first class average of just under 60. He eased his way to 50 off 132 balls, with seven fours, and never once looked in trouble until he carelessly drove a wide half volley from Jack Taylor to a very grateful Kieran Noema-Barnett at extra cover.