Monday madness ensued in Division Two as batsmen struggled to cope with bowling prowess in our five day-night fixtures.
Durham v Worcestershire
Ben Stokes had a day to forget as Worcestershire adapted to the pink ball better than Durham in the Specsavers County Championship match at Chester-le-Street.
He was out for a seven-ball duck as Durham crashed from 12 without loss to 18 for five before recovering to reach 197. Worcestershire replied with 213 for four, three of the wickets going to England colleague Mark Wood as Stokes conceded 69 in 12 wicketless overs.
The visitors took the bold gamble of sending in John Hastings and skipper Joe Leach to slog following the early loss of Daryl Mitchell. Both hit a six before departing in fairly manic fashion.
A more measured approach then saw Brett D'Oliveira and Joe Clarke put on 77. D'Oliveira played some handsome strokes and looked comfortable until twilight, when he edged Rushworth through the slips for his ninth four to reach 50 off 72 balls.
On 59 he sliced Barry McCarthy to point, where Stokes leapt and was unable to hang on with his right hand, then another edge evaded the slips. But as darkness closed in prior to the 9.47 finish D'Oliveira reasserted himself to remain unbeaten on 91.
Wood returned for a second spell and his third ball sent Clarke's off stump flying for 45, but Moeen Ali saw out the remaining 14 overs and will resume on 36.
The day began badly for Durham when New Zealander Tom Latham was unable to make his debut because of a suspected stress fracture in a foot.
On an overcast day the floodlights were on from the 2pm start and Worcestershire dispensed with the toss before Leach and Hastings wreaked havoc.When they pitched it up it swung; when they hit the deck it bounced and seamed.
Hastings enjoyed an opening spell of 8-4-10-3 against his former team-mates, capped by having Stokes caught behind when trying to withdraw his bat from a steeply-bouncing ball.
Leach also produced a snorter to account for Keaton Jennings, who got an inside edge into his leg stump.
After three wickets fell on 18, Paul Collingwood stopped the rot by making 25 before he sliced a drive low to gully to become the first of four victims for Josh Tongue.
Batting looked easier after lunch as the last three wickets added 133. Stuart Poynter and Wood had put on 54 when Wood cut a long hop from Tongue straight to deep backward point.
On 43 Poynter played across an in-swinging yorker and was bowled by Tongue, then Rushworth contributed 30 to a last-wicket stand of 50 with McCarthy before lifting a catch to deep square leg.
Hastings was in as early as the third over of the reply, when Mitchell propped forward and edged Wood behind.
The burly Australian launched Rushworth over long-on in making 12 before edging an attempted hook off Wood to Poynter. Leach holed out at deep mid-off after making 15.
They were shortlived knocks, but at 59 for three after ten overs Worcestershire were much better off than Durham had been with plenty of batting to come.
Glamorgan v Derbyshire
A battling half-century from Tom Milnes, after 70 from Wayne Madsen, helped rescue Derbyshire under the floodlights on Day One versus Glamorgan at Cardiff.
Madsen led the way in the opening session with his fourth half-century of the season, but the visitors lost six wickets after the interval to slip to 157-7.
But 53 from Milnes, batting at number nine, 41 from Daryn Smit and 23 from Tony Palladino helped Derbyshire recover, adding 131 for the last three wickets to post 288.
Glamorgan safely navigated the final two overs of the day under the floodlights to close the opening day of the day/night fixture on 5/0, trailing by 283.
Off-break bowler Hamidullah Qadri was named in Derbyshire’s XI to become the youngest player ever to represent the county in the county championship – aged 16 years and 203 days.
Electing to bat first, the visitors lost an early wicket when Luis Reece was lbw for one, but fellow opener Billy Godleman and Madsen, batting at three, responded well by putting on 98 for the second wicket.
The pair, watchful at times, took their side to 86/1 at lunch, with Madsen playing fluently having reached his half-century off 77 balls. He, however, fell shortly after the restart when he was caught behind off Timm van der Gugten. His season-best 70 included 10 fours.
Godleman and Hughes went through a period of consolidation in the face of some good pace bowling from South Africa paceman Marchant de Lange. But the stubborn stand was broken when Godleman was caught behind off de Lange for a patient 34 off 118 balls.
The wicket, however, signalled the start of a difficult period for the visitors before the evening interval as Derbyshire slipped from 127/3 to 157/7.
Alex Hughes was fifth man out for 32 off 77 balls, but wickets fell around him to single figure scores, with Tom Taylor (4) last to go just before the interval to end a session in which six wickets fell.
But Smit and Milnes responded in the final session sharing a 66-run stand in 18.3 overs to move their side beyond 200. Smit was finally out for a well-made 41 off 83 balls, including four fours, with Derbyshire 223/8.
Milnes continued to bat nicely and reached his third first-class half-century as the visitors reached 250. He was finally out for 53 off 90 balls, which ended a 38-run stand with Palladino.
The paceman was last man out for 23, as Derbyshire added 131 runs for last three wickets to be dismissed for 288. Glamorgan closed on 5/0 in reply off two overs.
Northamptonshire v Leicestershire
Ben Duckett made a sparkling century for Northamptonshire and Dieter Klein took six wickets for Leicestershire on the opening day of the pink-ball Specsavers County Championship match at Wantage Road. Northants took the spoils, who, having made 261, reduced their visitors to 61 for 4 by the close.
Duckett’s 89-ball century put Northants in a strong position, only for them to collapse from 211 for 3 - including four wickets for one run - as Klein took 6 for 80. But late wickets under the floodlights saw Northants regain the upper hand.
Ben Sanderson and Rory Kleinveldt induced edges behind the wicket from both Leicestershire openers before Richard Gleeson, playing his first Championship match of the season, pinned Mark Cosgrove lbw and Azharullah bowled nightwatchman Rob Sayer second ball.
It was still a very good one. It began with an extraordinary innings from Duckett, with the advantage of being one of only two players in the game to have previously played against the pink ball.
And after he fell for 112, Northants were still in excellent shape through Max Holden’s third Championship half-century and a fifty stand with Rob Keogh. But a superb yorker from Klein took out Keogh’s off stump and it sparked a remarkable collapse.
First Chesney Hughes was given out caught at slip having hooked at a bumper he clearly thought had not come off his glove. Then Josh Cobb pushed a ball towards mid-off, set off for a sharp single and was run out by Clint McKay’s direct hit. And when Kleinveldt pushed outside off stump and edged Klein to wicketkeeper Lewis Hill, Northants’ strong position had been sacrificed.
Sanderson also edged a hook to be caught at the wicket but Azharullah helped Holden bring up a second batting point. Holden was eventually last man out for a measured 92.
Northants were well set for far more after Duckett made a century in the opening session of the match. He has struggled for form so far this season having made just two half-centuries in the Championship but here was back to his best with an breezy ton that featured 20 boundaries.
He initially feasted on some loose Leicestershire bowling on a wicket that appeared easy-paced and prompted the introduction of spin in just the 14th over of the day. An early Duckett drive spooned past extra-cover but he soon found his timing and drove Klein delightfully down the ground, cut McKay past point and lifted Sayer over long-on in reaching fifty in just 41 balls. He then twice paddle swept Neil Dexter to the fine leg boundary in going to a first century of the season.
But he added only 12 more to his tea time score before sweeping Sayer off a top edge that was splendidly caught by McKay at short fine leg tumbling back. It ended a stand of 136 for the third wicket with Holden and a stand that recovered the innings from a difficult start after Klein had removed both Rob Newton and Alex Wakely lbw.
Nottinghamshire v Kent
A fiery burst from James Pattinson set the tone for another day of dominance from Nottinghamshire as they bundled Kent out inside two sessions of their Specsavers County Championship match at Trent Bridge.
The unbeaten Division Two leaders maintained their proud record of securing maximum bowling points in every match this season by dismissing the visitors for just 180 in 54 overs.
Pattinson did the early damage, before finishing with three for 30, whilst Steven Mullaney, who enjoyed a fine all-round performance, worked his way through the lower order in claiming three for two from just three overs.
The only real defiance from Kent came from opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, who carried his bat for an undefeated 84, having hit 10 fours from the 169 deliveries he faced.
In the final session of the day, played under floodlights, Kent’s bowlers were held at bay by an unbroken partnership of 83 between Mullaney and Alex Hales as Notts closed on 135 for three, only 45 behind.
For the first time this season an opposing captain opted to toss the coin in Nottingham and Kent’s Sam Northeast chose to bat once he’d won it.
Just 5.2 overs later, the wisdom of that decision might have been questioned as Pattinson picked up his third wicket within the space of eight deliveries to leave the visitors on six for three.
The Australian speedster blasted a gaping hole through the Kent top order by removing Sean Dickson and Joe Denly to lbw decisions and then had Sam Northeast taken at second slip. All three batsmen departed without getting off the mark.
Sam Billings, fresh from England duty on Sunday, played a phrenetic knock of 30 from 32 balls before losing his middle stump after playing a loose drive at Luke Fletcher.
Darren Stevens was equally culpable, throwing his hands at the same bowler and nicking behind to Chris Read for 10.
Bell-Drummond reached his fifty in the first over of the second session, getting there from 99 balls with eight fours.
Will Gidman, who left Trent Bridge for Canterbury at the end of last season, twice survived streaky nicks into the slip cordon before being castled by Harry Gurney, who uprooted his former team-mates’ middle stump for 25.
Mullaney needed just three deliveries to add his name to the list of wicket-takers, having Adam Rose caught at slip for 22.
The same bowler then nipped out Matt Coles and New Zealand’s Adam Milne – for a golden duck on debut – leaving Jake Ball to bring the innings to a close with the scalp of Mitch Claydon.
Nottinghamshire’s openers survived for almost 14 overs, in the twilight period, before Stevens struck for the 39th time this season, having Jake Libby caught at slip for 16.
Samit Patel’s fabulous streak of high scores came to an end when he was bowled for just four by Coles. The batsman had arrived at the crease off the back of consecutive double-hundreds and should have gone for nought after being dropped by Denly in the gully.
The bowler, Milne, couldn’t disguise his disappointment, two balls after he’d picked up his maiden wicket in county cricket by having Brendan Taylor caught behind.
Mullaney appeared to be struggling with some ailment and had several visits from the Notts physio on his way to making 50 from 91 balls and reached stumps on 63 not out, with Hales unbeaten on 28.
At the close of play James Fletcher, who took 2-46 for Notts, summed up his thoughts: “Personally it is nice to get some big players out but as a bowing unit we all stuck together today and everyone chipped in with a few wickets.
“I didn’t mind the pink ball, it was very different to the red ball as it didn’t shine up as much as the red Dukes. It swung throughout the innings, so no real complaints from me at all."
Sussex v Gloucestershire
Luke Wright made his first century since 2015 to give Sussex the advantage on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Hove.
Wright, in only his third game since giving up the captaincy, made 118, his best score since he hit a career-best 226 against Worcestershire in September 2015. It was also his first hundred at Hove for two days shy of two years.
Relieved Wright said" "Walking down the steps going out to bat I was determined to play my own game and if that meant hitting the off-spinner for six first-ball if that opportunity came I’d do it – and I did!
"I spent most of last season injured so I didn’t get many opportunities to bat like that. Since giving up the captaincy, which was a very difficult decision for me to make, I’ve tried to enjoy myself and play with freedom," he added.
With his successor as captain Ben Brown making 52 and Chris Jordan 50, Sussex recovered from 69 for 3 to post 358 for 9 declared.
They then had seven overs in the twilight with the pink ball but Gloucestershire openers Cameron Bancroft and
Chris Dent got through unscathed, reaching 31 for 0 at stumps.
A crowd of 2,000 was boosted by around 650 local schoolchildren and they enjoyed an entertaining day with Wright leading an aggressive counter-attack by Sussex during the afternoon session when they plundered 173 runs.
Wright was in the mood from the very start, lofting his first ball from off-spinner Jack Taylor for one of three sixes. There were also 14 fours including a straight drive to the boundary which brought up the 17th century of his first-class career.
The way Wright, and later Brown and Jordan, stroked the pink ball over a fast outfield was in contrast to what happened at the start of the day and again when Gloucestershire took the new ball and immediately claimed three wickets.
Fit-again Liam Norwell and David Payne were rewarded with a wicket apiece as Harry Finch and Delray Rawlins, opening after Chris Nash was struck in practice and suffered a concussion, departed cheaply.
Luke Wells hit seven fours in his 36 before Taylor had him caught at slip, after the ball had deflected off wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick.
Wright then transformed the day, first with Stiaan van Zyl with whom he added 99 in 19 overs before the South African was held at short leg off Taylor, and then alongside his successor as captain.
If anything, Wright and Brown increased the tempo. Both attacked anything off line and the ball had to be changed after 54 overs after Wright had clattered it into the protective covers beyond the boundary.
His hundred came up off exactly 100 balls while new skipper Brown, returning after six weeks out with a broken finger, matched him shot for shot as they put on 92 in 18 overs.
Brown fell two balls after reaching 50 from 60 deliveries with seven fours and a six and Wright departed after tea to a brilliant one-handed catch at mid-wicket by Phil Mustard, his 118 coming off 129 balls.
David Wiese and Chris Jordan took the attack back to Gloucestershire, adding 57 in 13 overs for the seventh wicket but the new ball swung markedly as the floodlights took effect and Gloucestershire picked up three quick wickets, Craig Miles taking two of them in the same over including Jordan for a 78-ball 50 with eight fours.
Sussex declared shortly after claiming a fourth bowling point but couldn’t make a breakthrough before the close.