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  • Specsavers County Championship 11m

    Div One reports: Surrey surge into control on first day

    Rory Burns led the way for Surrey in an intriguing day of action in Division One

    Surrey asserted their authority early with some top batting performances, as Essex also stood out on Monday.

    Essex 106/0 v Middlesex 246
    Hampshire 211/9d v Somerset 18/0
    Warwickshire 23/1 v Lancashire 273
    Yorkshire v Surrey 374/6

    Essex v Middlesex

    Simon Harmer became the leading wicket-taker in Division One this season when he added a third successive five-wicket haul as Essex skittled Middlesex for 246 in their day-night contest Specsavers County Championship at Chelmsford.

    The South African off-spinner had just 19 wickets to his name a week ago, but has doubled that in three innings and now has 38 at 24.53 each. He followed up his career-best match figures of 14 for 128 against Warwickshire with five Middlesex wickets for 77.

    It had looked unlikely that Harmer would have much impact on the match when Mohammad Amir and Jamie Porter were swinging the pink ball prodigiously in the first 20 minutes, and Middlesex were two for two. But the ball suddenly softened and for a time it looked as if the batsmen were going to get on top.

    But despite being thumped for sixes when Paul Stirling was in his pomp, Harmer reeled in the reigning champion’s middle-order. He took three wickets in 12 balls at a personal cost of one run to reduce Middlesex from 225 for six to 231 for nine.

    Harmer’s only blip was to put down Stirling at second slip before the Irishman was fully into his stride. It was a routine catch at chest height for the usually reliable fielder. Stirling was 23; nine balls later he had reached 49. A further three balls and he had his third fifty-plus score in five Championship innings.

    Dawid Malan and Steve Eskinazi had put on 126 for the third wicket at a steady pace, but it was during Stirling’s 50-ball 77, which included eight fours and five sixes, that it looked as though Middlesex might post something of note.

    By close of play, at 9.17pm, Essex had taken a sizeable chunk out of Middlesex’s score with Alastair Cook and Nick Brown putting on an unbroken stand of 106 for the first wicket from 36 overs. Cook was 64, Browne 40.

    The day-night experiment attracted a Chelmsford crowd that peaked around 2,200, slightly higher than usual, with the office staff replacing those who had trains to catch as the evening wore on.

    Middlesex had given Essex first go with the pink cherry and must have regretted the decision almost immediately. Amir had his first Essex wicket on the board with the sixth ball of his opening spell, beating Nick Gubbins with one that came in and trapped him lbw. Five balls later, Nick Compton got one that held up and he snicked Porter behind.

    Malan, captaining in the absence of James Franklin, who is suffering with a back complaint, led the Middlesex recovery with Eskinazi. Both batsmen reached their fifties in the first over after the first break, from successive balls. Malan scrambled a single to mid-on from the 78th ball he faced, Eskinazi from a paddle-sweep for his eighth four from 85 balls. They had been chanceless innings, bar the odd playing and missing, until Eskinazi, on 55, turned one through Dan Lawrence’s hands at short leg.

    The third-wicket pair were finally parted after 33 overs when Simon Harmer got one to straighten and take the outside of Malan’s bat. Malan faced 93 deliveries for his 60.

    Eskinazi followed soon after, edging Porter to Cook at first slip for a 111-ball 66. And Amir had John Simpson shuffled tentatively on to his back foot to be plumb lbw as Middlesex slipped from 126 for two to 158 for five in five overs.

    Stirling decided that the best way to deal with Harmer was to hit to leg, and he did so to great effect. At the other end Ryan Higgins contributed just six to a sixth-wicket stand of 61. The young Zimbabwean then had a rush of blood and hit Harmer up in the air so high that Tom Westley covered the 20 yards from mid-on to mid-off and still had time to steady himself.

    Stirling continued unabated and at one stage had hit three sixes in six balls, hooking two of them in an over from Paul Walter, and lifting Harmer straight back over the bowler’s head. But the one-man assault ended when he turned Harmer into Ryan ten Doeschate’s hands at cover.

    Olly Rayner left in similar fashion in the same over, and Harmer had a fifth wicket in his next over when Tim Murtagh was another lbw victim. The innings ended in its 60th over when Steven Finn patted the ball back to Ravi Bopara.

    Cook and Browne went along serenely in reply with the England opener making the most of the experience of batting in the twilight. He was dropped in the covers by Gubbins off Finn on 48 before bringing up his fourth Championship score of more than fifty from 67 balls, nine of them hit to the boundary.

    Hampshire v Somerset

    Somerset fast bowler Lewis Gregory took three wickets as the visitors enjoyed the better of the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Hampshire.

    Gregory along with his fellow attack bowlers Craig Overton, Tim Groenewald and Jack Leach, who celebrated two wickets a piece, seemed to enjoy bowling with the pink ball – which failed to offer any great assistance for much of the day.

    The quartet battled through a seemingly flat track, which seemed to grow livelier in the evening and night sessions, to give the bowlers the advantage.

    Only a promising partnership between Liam Dawson and Jimmy Adams and James Vince’s 47 handed the hosts any positives during the maiden day of day night Championship cricket.

    Hampshire eventually declared on a modest 211 for nine before bowling six overs at Somerset – who reached 18 without loss.

    Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat in the warm afternoon sun, with a wicket appearing primed for high scoring batting.

    Adams and Dawson made that early pitch prediction seem correct as they blustered through the opening exchanges.

    The pair, who scored 10 of the day’s 19 boundaries between them, looked comfortable with driving through the covers a common sight.

    They reached 74 for lunch, with just Adams dropped at first slip by James Hildreth off Leach the only blip of the session.

    After the tea interval, Somerset turned the screw to gain control of the game.

    Overton, who missed out on making his England debut in the Twenty20 series against South Africa, was the first to eke life out of a flat wicket.

    The fast bowler broke the 84-run partnership between Adams and Dawson in the fourth over after lunch, when he had the former caught at first slip by Hildreth.

    While the ball to get that wicket had jagged away slightly, the delivery to see off Rilee Rossouw was a standard short delivery.

    The out-of-form South African top edged before Steven Davies pulled off a wonderful diving catch to hold the steepling chance – Rossouw has now scored five ducks in his last eight Specsavers County Championship innings.

    Dawson, who returned after his stint in the England team, appeared in complete control as he was promoted up the order to open – with the out-of-form Michael Carberry dropped.

    He patiently reached a 132-ball half century before Gregory got one to keep low and move in to see the England international lbw.

    Hampshire's Liam Dawson said: “If you look at the score we were 80 for none but we didn’t score quickly. If you are prepared to be quite boring I think that is what we are going to have to do. We are short of runs.

    “It is the sort of wicket you can be boring and take the game deep."

    Captain George Bailey soon followed when he clipped a Groenewald delivery off his legs to Overton at midwicket – who struggled to keep out the action in the session.

    The Australian’s wicket saw Hampshire fall from 84 without loss to 132 for four and after supper the collapse would continue.

    Sean Ervine got tempted into a late cut to Leach and feathered behind before James Vince reached a sluggish yet classy 47 before attempting to tickle the spinner around the corner, but only found the gloves of Davies.

    Groenewald took his second wicket when he cut Ian Holland in two with a sharp in ducker.

    Hampshire appeared in danger of missing out on a batting point entirely when Gregory had Gareth Berg leg before and Lewis McManus bowled – with the score on 198 and 199.

    A hoick into the leg side from Kyle Abbott secured a point before Bailey decided to declare and have a short burst at the Somerset batting.

    But Marcus Trescothick and Zimbabwean debutant Edward Byrom saw out the remaining overs under the floodlights.

    Somerset's Craig Overton said: “We felt we bowled alright in the first session. They didn’t go anywhere which is what we said we wanted to do if we were getting wickets. The ball was strange. It swings and then goes really soft. It didn’t really do much maybe a little bit in it for the bowlers but because it is so soft and slow it is tough to score on.

    “We knew it was going to be tough batting after lights so it is perfect to be nought down with Tres and Eddie."

    Warwickshire v Lancashire

    The innovation of day/night Specsavers County Championship cricket delivered enthralling fare at Edgbaston as in-form Lancashire encountered spirited resistance from struggling Warwickshire.

    Having chosen to bat, the Red Rose, hunting their third successive win, was bowled out for 273 by a Warwickshire side which has lost four of its six games by an innings this season.

    Lancashire hit early trouble at 55 for four but were salvaged by Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 76th first-class century - a fluent unbeaten 117 from 151 balls with 16 fours.

    The 42-year-old dealt adroitly with a pink ball which behaved much as one of any other hue would do - which is, of course, the idea.

    With a good crowd in, the inaugural day of day/night championship cricket in Birmingham appeared to meet with general approval.

    Lancashire started solidly with openers Alex Davies and Haseeb Hameed adding 43 but 19-year-old debutant seamer George Panayi engineered a breakthrough which triggered the loss off four wickets for 12 runs in 35 balls.

    Panayi was rewarded for a promising first spell in county cricket, in which he pitched the ball up to tempt the batsmen, when Hameed chipped to Ian Bell at short mid-off. Davies (31, 53 balls, five fours) then ran himself out with a terrible call which was punished by Will Porterfield's direct hit from mid-on.

    Jos Buttler fell lbw, playing across the line, to Jeetan Patel before Steven Croft edged Boyd Rankin's first ball to second slip.

    Fifth-wicket pair Chanderpaul and Dane Vilas (44, 72 balls, six fours) halted the collapse with a stand of 96 in 20 overs in the second session before Vilas skied Rankin and wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose took a simple catch.

    Ryan MacLaren (24, 60 balls) helped Chanderpaul add 68, then Keith Barker struck twice in four balls, having McLaren caught behind and trapping Jordan Clark lbw.

    The left-armer then struck again with a big inswinger to remove Stephen Parry lbw.

    Still there was the implacable Chanderpaul and he added another 40 with Tom Bailey before Panayi returned to bowl Bailey and trap James Anderson first ball to finish with three for 41 and leave himself on a hat-trick in the second innings.

    Faced with 13 overs in reply before the close, Warwickshire lost Porterfield, lbw to Anderson, in the fifth over, before closing on 23 for one.

    Yorkshire v Surrey

    Surrey, led by half-centuries for Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Kumar Sangakkara, dominated the opening day of their pink ball Specsavers County Championship match against Yorkshire at Headingley.

    Having opted to toss, as was the trend with away teams around the country and elected to bat, the visitors piled on 374 for six from 96 overs.

    Below par Yorkshire failed to gain any control for the two sessions as Roy, in particular, took the attack to them either side of lunch in this historic day/night fixture.

    After a difficult Champions Trophy campaign, the 26-year-old looked in supreme touch for 87 off 91 balls.

    Having hit 92 in the recent Royal London Cup semi-final win over Worcestershire as well as 67 in the T20 international against South Africa at Taunton, this knock included eleven fours and two sixes.

    Despite it being his first Championship appearance of the season, it marked his third successive 50 plus score in this competition.

    In a defeat against Durham at Emirates Riverside last September, he posted scores of 120 and 96.

    Opener Burns top-scored with 90 off 186 balls, while Sangakkara added 82 not out off 124.

    Surrey's Jason Roy said: "I loved being out there with Rory (Burns) again, batting and not being under too much scoreboard pressure. It was nice to get out there."
     
    "We didn't know how the ball was going to react in the early stages and also tonight. We saw it doing a little bit more than expected in the evening. But apart from that, everything was pretty standard."
     

    Tim Bresnan claimed his 500th first-class wicket for Yorkshire in front of a 2,595 crowd, including 494 after 4.40pm when reduced ticket prices were in operation.

    Roy came to the crease with Surrey at 75 for two after 21 overs, with Mark Stoneman hitting 30 and Scott Borthwick 31 - both men looking in good order and showing signs of the visitors positive approach.

    Roy and opener Burns, the anchor for the innings, shared 147 inside 33 overs for the third wicket before the former was lbw to Jack Brooks as the score fell to 222 for three in the 54th.

    He reached 50 off 54 balls and hit his two sixes straight into the Football Stand off England team-mate Adil Rashid, who conceded 67 in 12 overs.

    Roy was promoted to bat at number four ahead of Sangakkara, who settled quickly during the second half of the afternoon and hit Rashid over long-on for six with his 19th ball at the crease.

    Earlier, Stoneman was caught behind driving at Ben Coad in the eleventh over having hit his previous two balls for four, while Borthwick chipped Steve Patterson to mid-wicket.

    Yorkshire’s fourth wicket, that of Burns in the final over of the afternoon, came as the left-hander was undone by extra bounce from Bresnan, who had him caught behind for his 500th - 271 for four in the 64th over.

    Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan: "It was a kind of weird day. It nipped around with the new one and we thought 'if it keeps doing this, we've got half a chance'. Then it stopped. When the ball got really soft, it was difficult and looked easy paced. It was quite slowish. They had a decent partnership, Burns and Roy played nicely. We probably didn't bowl too well either. But after tea we came out and pegged them back."
     

    Yorkshire at least managed to get some kind of control in the first half of the evening session, with Surrey scoring 38 runs in 16 overs before the second new ball to take the score to 309 for four after 80.

    And it did the trick as Coad had Ben Foakes caught at cover for 23, leaving the score at 320 for five in the 83rd.

    Sangakkara later reached 50 off 86 balls to add to the one-day century he scored here earlier this month, but he lost Sam Curran in the 91st over when he was caught behind off Patterson with 358 on the board.

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