Essex extended their lead at the top of Division One after triumph over Yorkshire in an action-packed day.
YORKSHIRE v ESSEX
Ten-wicket star Mohammad Amir led Essex towards a two-day win over Yorkshire at Scarborough to leave them in sight of a first Specsavers County Championship title in 25 years.
Essex completed their 19-point success, a sixth win in nine matches this season, shortly after tea by chasing only a 33 target for the loss of two wickets.
The visitors are now 46 points clear of second place with five matches remaining, although other results are still to come this week.
This was Yorkshire’s third defeat in their last four Championship matches, and they are now looking at a final month relegation fight.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate: "To pick up points so emphatically inside two days and what it means for the title charge is fantastic for us.
"It's so important not to focus too much on the title. There's still five games to go, which is a long way to go," he added.
Having secured a first-innings lead of 118 an hour into the day, Essex then reduced Yorkshire to 14 for three, 37 for six and bowled them out for 150 on the stroke of tea.
Pakistan overseas left-armer Amir was their destroyer in chief, adding five for 54 to his five for 18 in the first innings. The Pakistan left-armer’s match haul of 10 for 72 from 28.2 overs was a career best match haul.
New ball Jamie Porter was also impressive with three wickets in the first innings and four wickets in the second. Amir, 25-years-old, added a useful 22 in Essex’s first innings, which advanced from 188 for eight overnight to 231 all out in the first hour of day two.
Yorkshire only took three points following recent defeats against Middlesex and Somerset, the latter coming here in their last match last month. Amir was exceptional throughout this match in helpful conditions.
Five wickets fell in the morning, including Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate for 88 - the highest score of the match for either side. Yorkshire then slipped to 22 for three in their second innings at lunch.
The first hour proved an eventful one, with two wickets falling, Amir suffering a neck injury following a mid-pitch collision with bowler Ryan Sidebottom in the day’s first over and a brief rain break.
Sidebottom later removed Amir caught behind to end a 52-run stand for the ninth-wicket with ten Doeschate before the Essex skipper fell pulling Tim Bresnan to short mid-on.
Wickets continued to tumble.
Porter had Adam Lyth lbw for nought offering no shot two balls into Yorkshire’s second innings before Amir had Alex Lees caught behind for a two-ball duck in the second over. When Amir trapped Tom Kohler-Cadmore lbw with an in-swinger, despite a half-hearted appeal, Yorkshire were 14 for three in the eighth.
Yorkshire lost their fourth wicket in the seventh over of the afternoon when Harry Brook edged Porter to first slip - 31 for four in the 18th. Amir then picked up his third, that of Tim Bresnan caught at second slip, with a delivery that did the Yorkshire captain with extra bounce as the score fell to 33 for five after 20.
Amir then had Adil Rashid caught behind in his next over before Andrew Hodd was lbw to Porter in the 25th over - 56 for seven. Jack Leaning and Jack Brooks (17) then shared 30 for the eighth wicket to give the 5,355 crowd something to cheer about before Leaning and Ben Coad, who made 28, added 45 for the ninth to ensure the visitors had to bat again.
After Brooks was caught at short-leg off off-spinner Simon Harmer, Leaning reached a 114-ball fifty with four fours and a six and went on to hit 70. Coad edged Amir to second slip before Leaning hit two more sixes over mid-wicket off Porter, who gained revenge by getting him caught at long-on.
Varun Chopra and Nick Browne both fell in the chase, which was completed in 10 overs.
HAMPSHIRE v LANCASHIRE
Lancashire opener Hasseb Hameed netted his highest score of the season to battle his way back into England contention after Alex Davies had crashed a stylish 97 in the Specsavers County Championship with Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
The opening pair had a Jewell and Hyde of styles with Davies battering his way to 97 from 92 balls, while Hameed ended the day on 77 from a mammoth 219 deliveries.
The contrast in run making helped Lancashire to a lead of 239 at the end of the second day – having been bowled out for 149 on day one.
Davies’ innings oozed quality as he counter-attacked with power and style – wiping away Hampshire’s 75-run lead quickly.
The 22-year-old drove, cut and pulled regularly with almost exemplary timing on each occasion.
He passed 50 for the 15th time in his career, from 47-balls with a meaty pull shot, but for the third time in his career fell in the 90s.
After all his stroke play, Davies was dismissed playing a forward defensive which clipped his bat and ballooned to a short-leg position where James Vince swooped to hold a diving catch.
Vince had been given the wicket-keeping gloves early in the Lancashire innings after Lewis McManus copped an awkward bounce on his finger – latter Isle of Wight raised Calvin Dickinson rushed back from a second XI match to step in.
While Davies had been at constant ease with himself and the pitch, Hameed retreated into his shell – and showcased the defensive like batting which earned him his England debut. Again he took half an hour to score his first run but in front of England selector James Whittaker he batted with guts and patience.
Hameed, who before this game boasted an average of 104 against Hampshire, collected his half century in over 100 balls more than Davies, at 154 deliveries, but was measured, serene and completely chanceless. After Davies had departed, Liam Livingstone started slowly before accelerating into his usual quick pace for 40 – before he was lbw to Abbott.
Dane Vilas was bowled by a beautiful full ball from Mason Crane before Shivnarive Chanderpaul was caught at short-leg by Jimmy Adams off Dawson, and Jos Buttler was lbw to Fidel Edwards.
Hameed out-lived them all in his five hour vigil, allowed them to express themselves, in his epic innings as he ground himself into form – and potentially towards a Test recall.
Another day of constant wickets appeared to be on the cards, after 15 fell on the first day, as Kyle Jarvis went through the Hampshire lower order. The Zimbabwean has Ian Holland lbw, three balls after he had been dropped by Buttler at second slip, and Gareth Berg caught at third slip.
He completed his best figures for Lancashire, and the County Championship by having Abbott and Mason Crane caught behind – ending with analysis of six for 61.
But Jarvis, and Lancashire, were made to endure a frustrating final wicket stand of 45 between Dawson and Edwards. Dawson, who was the difference between the two first innings scores with his 75, played the strike taker as Edwards carefully did what he was told.
The England spinner was the first batsman to look at ease as he struck the match’s first half century, from 76 balls – but the stand ended when leg-spinner Matt Parkinson bowled him.
MIDDLESEX v WARWICKSHIRE
Matt Lamb, in just his third first-class match, hit a gritty 71 as Warwickshire fought back in determined style against champions Middlesex at Lord’s.
Lamb, 21 last month and a product of Warwickshire’s age group system, played with the composure of a veteran across 165 balls and was joined by Chris Woakes, Jonathan Trott and Andy Umeed in a battling performance which has breathed new life into a low-scoring contest.
Woakes and Trott made half-centuries, with Woakes helping Lamb to add 102 in 32 overs for the sixth wicket in a partnership that could yet shape the destination of this game. Warwickshire had reached 293 for 8 by stumps, a lead of 258, with Ryan Higgins the pick of Middlesex’s bowlers with 4 for 49 and Tim Murtagh taking 3 for 52.
Twenty wickets had fallen on day one, on a seaming surface, with Middlesex just 35 runs ahead on first innings after replying with 161 to Warwickshire’s 126, and a similar clatter of wickets was expected when the visitors began the second day still 23 runs adrift at 12 without loss.
Dominic Sibley fell early, edging Murtagh to keeper John Simpson to go for 17, but then Trott and Umeed began to turn the tables by adding 73 in 20 overs for the second wicket.
Middlesex’s pace attack, so hostile on the first morning, did not pose the same threat and both Steven Finn and Tom Helm bowled too many loose balls, but it was still a fine effort by the Warwickshire pair, with Trott hooking and pulling Helm to the boundary several times.
Opener Umeed fell for 30, shouldering arms to the first ball of Higgins’s second spell from the Nursery End and watching aghast as it nipped up the slope to clip his off stump.
Two balls later and Ian Bell was gone for a duck, leg-before to Higgins, who followed that up by having Trott caught behind in his next over for 54, made from only 73 balls and including 10 fours. Suddenly, Warwickshire had slumped from 100 for 1 to 109 for 4 at lunch, and a Middlesex victory again seemed the likeliest outcome.
With the second ball of his second spell, Murtagh had Tim Ambrose caught at the wicket for 16 but, from 139 for 5, Lamb and Woakes led further resistance and batted with increasing confidence.
The Wolverhampton-born Lamb drove the disappointing Finn through extra cover with a flourish for one of his 10 fours – as did Woakes in the same over – and the pair were still together at tea, which Warwickshire took in some comfort at 218 for 5.
Higgins, summoned again to bowl his medium-pacers, ended the stand on 241 when Woakes, on 53, mishit to mid-on where Murtagh did well to hold on to a sprawling catch. Woakes had faced 93 balls, hitting 11 fours and it was a fine effort in his first match for two months following an intercostal muscle injury lay-off.
The second new ball was taken at 255 for 6 and, in the fourth and fifth overs with it, Lamb edged Helm behind and Jeetan Patel was bowled for 0 aiming an ugly swipe at Murtagh.
Keith Barker, though, found a willing partner in No 10 Chris Wright and a further 31 had been added for the ninth wicket when bad light ended play seven overs early. Barker is 30 not out, Wright is unbeaten on 11 and Warwickshire, bottom of Division One, will be aiming for their first championship win of the season on the third day of what has been a fascinating contest.
SOMERSET v SURREY
Tom Abell led from the front as Somerset reached 234 for four before rain washed out the final session on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Surrey at Taunton.
Having walked to the crease with his side in trouble at 46 for three after being invited to bat first, the young skipper played immaculately to be unbeaten on 88 at tea.
Abell said: "Of course there is a feeling of relief to get some runs on the board after the season I have had so far, but I'm even more pleased that it was a good day for the team.
"It is just a start as far as I am concerned. I know people have been saying the captaincy has affected my form, but I see it as a batting issue and have gone back to basics with my technique in an effort to put things right," he added.
Steve Davies was 68 not out against his former club, having added 138 for the fifth wicket with Abell. For both players it was a highest Championship score of a previously disappointing season. Surrey skipper Gareth Batty had exercised his right to field first, influenced no doubt by heavily overcast skies at the start of play.
Marcus Trescothick’s first five scoring shots were boundaries as he and Eddie Byrom, making his home debut for Somerset, put together a stand of 43 in 11.2 overs. Stuart Meaker then took a hand, having Trescothick caught at second slip for 26 from an attempted drive, with only his second ball of the morning.
Rikki Clarke quickly built on the breakthrough on his return to Surrey’s Championship side by striking twice with successive balls in the 15th over. Tim Rouse, like Byrom playing his first Championship match at Taunton, fell for a duck, caught behind off a slashing back-foot shot and the vastly more experienced James Hildreth was pinned lbw by the following delivery.
Byrom was unfazed by the wickets falling at the other end and built his innings impressively, leaving the ball well early on and gradually producing a greater number of attacking strokes. The 20-year-old Zimbabwean left-hander was unbeaten on 38 at lunch, while Abell looked solid from the outset and had progressed to 18.
Having added to his score with a swept four off Gareth Batty from the third ball after the interval, Byrom advanced to the next and was bowled. At 96 for four, Surrey were well on top. But their seamers were not getting much out of a slow pitch, which had been used for the previous day’s NatWest Blast T20 clash between the teams.
Abell and Davies batted with increasing confidence, both in desperate need of some form. Their highest Championship scores of the season going into the game were 71 not out and 59 respectively.
For Abell, in particular, it was a test of nerve. The 23-year-old Somerset captain had been left out of the previous four-day game against Yorkshire at Scarborough, which his team won, after 11 single-figure scores in 14 Championship innings.
You would never have known it, as Abell demonstrated rock solid defence from the start before unleashing a string of attractive shots to reach a half-century off 101 balls, with 9 fours.
It was a landmark warmly applauded by home supporters, many of whom feel the added responsibility of captaincy was thrust upon the Taunton-born player too early in his career.
Davies also had a point to prove against his former colleagues after making just one previous Championship half-century for Somerset in his first season with the club.
He played timed the ball sweetly for a fluent 81-ball fifty, with 4 fours and a six over mid-wicket off Batty.
The rain which began at teatime persisted and umpires Nick Cook and Nigel Cowley abandoned play for the day after a 5.20pm pitch inspection.