A full day's play saw Lancashire come back from the brink against Essex, Somerset gain the upper hand on Warwickshire in the basement battle, Yorkshire push past 300 against Middlesex and Hampshire and Surrey trade wickets on the south coast...
LANCASHIRE V ESSEX
Haseeb Hameed’s unbeaten 85 helped Lancashire battle back from a vulnerable position on day two of their Specsavers County Championship clash with title rivals Essex at Old Trafford. Three wickets either side of lunch had Lancashire struggling on 92-6 on what was effectively the first day of this match after a complete washout yesterday. But Hameed produced the kind of resilient batting display that he became renowned for last season to notch his highest score of the campaign and just his second Championship fifty of 2017 to guide Lancashire to 222-8 at the close.
His half-century took 188 balls and arrived after 244 minutes at the crease but Hameed provided the only real resistance in the first two sessions for Lancashire after Essex elected to bowl first, negating the need for a toss. After brief but persistent showers delayed the game by a further 75 minutes at the start of the second morning, it took just three balls for league leaders Essex to strike, Alex Davies edging Jamie Porter to Simon Harmer at second slip.Hameed received a life on one as Dan Lawrence put down a tough chance at gully.
Sam Cook, making his Championship debut, produced a beauty to rip out Liam Livingstone’s off-stump before Porter struck again when Dane Vilas played all round a straight one and was trapped lbw – both batsman departing for just seven runs. That left Lancashire 22-3 with the leaders smelling blood. Shivnarine Chanderpaul joined Hameed at the crease and in the spell before lunch the veteran West Indian made it look like an entirely different game. He made his way to 22 as Lancashire were 45-3 at lunch with Hameed there on five.
Chanderpaul would add just one more run, falling in the second over after the interval to the most uncharacteristic of shots as he gloved a hook shot through to James Foster to give Paul Walter his first wicket. Jos Buttler and Ryan McLaren both threatened to offer support to Hameed, but the pair fell for 13 and 22 respectively as Porter and Harmer took a wicket apiece in their battle to be the Division One’s leading wicket-taker.
In the afternoon session Hameed had a spell where he scored one run in 54 deliveries, but began to look increasingly fluent as he made his way to tea unbeaten on 30 from 146 balls guiding his side to 115-6. Of the 300 balls bowled before tea, 250 were dot balls. Hameed was the glue that had held the innings together and, post-tea, he shared 50-partnerships with Jordan Clark and Stephen Parry as Lancashire continued their impressive fightback.
Clark was 20-year-old Cook’s second victim but the day belonged to Lancashire’s 20-year-old opener. Hameed launched Harmer down the ground for six in the next over and looked the most confident he has at the crease all season. He batted through the day, guiding Lancashire past 200 and their first batting point, which was an achievement that looked unlikely midway through the afternoon.
Hameed’s 77-run stand with Parry was broken with the first delivery with the new ball, as Porter picked up his fourth wicket before bad light ended play three overs early.
Essex captain Varun Chopra commented on the remaining days: “We want to try and get our three bowling points first thing in the morning by bowling them out.
"Then with the bat to get close to them, get past them and get our batting points. The forecast isn’t great but we went out today to win, we’ve won in two and three days this year. Results are still possible."
WARWICKSHIRE V SOMERSET
The fire in Somerset's quest for First Division survival still burns strong as they seized control against Warwickshire on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship relegation battle at Edgbaston.
After their defeat to Essex last week, the west country side was castigated by their own director of cricket as looking "resigned to relegation." They have responded by dominating a Warwickshire team whose own prospects of remaining in Division One hang by the slenderest of threads after yet another batting collapse.
After Tom Abell's excellent 82 (144 balls, nine fours, one six) lifted Somerset to 282, despite 21-year-old spinner Sunny Singh's five for 72, Warwickshire folded all out for 146 against Jack Leach (five for 50) and Craig Overton (four for 33).
Prolonged resistance for the brittle Bears came only from Keith Barker whose 52 (119 balls) took him past 500 championship runs this season - only the second Warwickshire player to pass that milestone. At the close, Somerset were 75 for two - 211 ahead overall - and well-placed to press for a victory which would keep them very much alive, while condemning Warwickshire to the drop.
After Somerset resumed on the second morning on 203 for four, Abell and Steven Davies took their partnership to 85 before Davies (46, 119 balls) bat-padded Jeetan Patel to silly point.
Patel then had Peter Trego caught at leg-slip and Leach taken at slip while Singh bowled Overton and had Dominic Bess caught behind before rounding off the innings by bowling Abell who charged and missed. Overton then had Warwickshire openers Andy Umeed and Dominic Sibley caught in the slips either side of lunch before Leach took wickets in three successive overs.
Ian Bell edged a good ball to slip, but Jonathan Trott and Tim Ambrose perished loosely, lifting catches to cover and point respectively, and Matt Lamb departed in similar fashion, albeit after helping Barker add 53 in 16 overs.
Patel was bowled through the gate by Bess and though Barker and Chris Wright added 49 in 22 overs, after Barker fell lbw to Overton the last three wickets fell for just one run in 18 balls.
Somerset's second innings encountered a jolt at 17 when brisk, straight offerings from Ryan Sidebottom dismissed Edward Byrom and George Bartlett with successive balls. But Marcus Trescothick and James Hildreth added an unbroken 58 up to stumps to leave Somerset in a mighty position.
HAMPSHIRE v SURREY
Tom Curran and Jade Dernbach toppled Hampshire’s top order but George Bailey and Ian Holland battled back to even up their Specsavers County Championship match with Surrey at the Ageas Bowl.
New ball fast bowlers Curran and Dernbach restricted the hosts to 31 for five in a devastating spell up top. Curran boasted figures of three for 21 and Dernbach two for 15 in their first spells to leave Hampshire in the mire after Surrey had been bowled out for 200. But Bailey and Holland fought back for Hampshire as they added 69 for the seventh wicket to leave the hosts on 129 for seven at the end of Day Two.
It was Dernbach who started the wicket taking as he bowled Joe Weatherley, making his Ageas Bowl debut in the Championship, with a stunning yorker. Tom Alsop followed his former academy teammate back to the dressing room two overs later, in the sixth over, when he was plumb lbw to Dernbach.
Curran, who is making his first appearance in almost a month due to a back injury, then took over. The 22-year-old had Jimmy Adams and James Vince leg before and Sean Ervine caught brilliantly by Ben Foakes – the wicket-keeper diving one-handed to his left.
The pair exited the attack, but Rikki Clarke entered to have Liam Dawson flailing across the line to offer a good low catch to Ollie Pope at short mid-wicket. Captain Bailey steadied Hampshire, alongside fellow Australian Holland with an 81-ball fifty but departed for 51 as he was lbw to Gareth Batty in the penultimate over of the day.
FIFTY: This has been a magnificent innings from George Bailey (50*), who brings up his half-century off 81 balls. Batted, George! 127-6. 🌹&👑 pic.twitter.com/91oHGU9udH— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) 6 September 2017
Hampshire had been the better side in the opening two sessions. Having only seen five overs of play, and 16 wicketless runs, on a rain affected opening day, they quickly attacked the visitors with Dawson boasting best analysis of four for 22. But it had been the quicks of Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott who had done the early damage to the Surrey batting line-up.
South African Abbott dismissed Rory Burns, who had scored 122, 101, 219 not out and 68 in four of his previous five innings against Hampshire, as the batsman edged to Vince at third slip. Edwards and Abbott combined at either end to have Scott Borthwick and Jason Roy lbw for ducks.
Ryan Patel had been going about his work at the other end with a watchful quality as he put on 74 with Foakes. Foakes was caught by Vince at straight mid-wicket but Patel reached his maiden professional half century from 99 balls.
The teenager was dropped on 31 and 58 in his innings and was lucky not to be given out when he flicked to Bailey, who claimed a low catch, before the umpires gave him a controversial reprieve. Dawson, who had struck to dismiss Foakes, then started to run through the away side as Pope came down the track and picked out Bailey at mid-wicket.
Patel’s hopes of a first century disappeared when he was yorked by Edwards before Clarke followed him back to the pavilion in a similar manner as his off-stump was dislodged and Curran was clean bowled by Gareth Berg. Dawson wrapped up the innings by having Batty lbw and Dernbach caught and bowled. But Hampshire’s poor batting meant they ended the day trailing by 71.
YORKSHIRE v MIDDLESEX
Jack Leaning and Andrew Hodd posted important half-centuries either side of tea as Yorkshire had the better of day two of their Specsavers County Championship clash with Middlesex at Headingley.
After day one was washed out, this was the first day’s play of a fixture between the teams who have shared the Division One title for the last three years.
But, with four matches to play including this, they find themselves looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone.
Yorkshire closed on 317 for seven from 98 overs, recovering from 116 for four as Leaning posted 85 from 142 balls and wicketkeeper Hodd 51 from 90, sharing 114 for the fifth wicket inside 30 overs. Bad light meant six overs at the end of the day meant six overs were lost.
Middlesex captain James Franklin opted for an uncontested toss this morning before Steven Finn claimed the only wicket of the opening session when he had Australian Shaun Marsh lbw playing around one for 22, leaving the score at 39 for one in the 19th over.
Adam Lyth impressed for 40, battling hard before expanding - in a similar way to Leaning and Hodd did later in the day. James Harris bowled six maidens on the trot to start his spell having replaced Finn from the Kirkstall Lane End before he got Lyth caught behind with a beauty shortly after lunch.
That was the first of three wickets to fall in the first eleven overs of the afternoon as the score fell to 116 for four in the 44th.
Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance marked his first bat for the county since the reverse fixture at Lord’s in late June (England commitments and a fractured finger) by edging behind for 12 as he played expansively outside off.
Alex Lees (27) was then trapped lbw by Franklin’s left-arm seamers. Yorkshire were in danger of undoing their early good work against a tidy visiting attack, who could have created more pressure with tighter lines.
But Leaning and Hodd eased those concerns during their fifth-wicket alliance, which started cautiously before expanding on a pitch with plenty of pace and carry. Leaning drove nicely on the way to his second successive Championship fifty - his third in all this season - off 58 balls.
Hodd whipped Harris straight of mid-on for four to mark the shot of the day on the way to his third of the campaign. A first batting bonus point had been secured in the final over of the afternoon before their century stand was recorded just after tea.
Hodd reached 50 off 87 balls before edging Franklin behind as the score fell to 230 for five in the 74th. A second batting point for 250 came on the cusp of the second new ball.
Tim Murtagh lifted Middlesex spirits by bowling Leaning as he played to leg and trapped Adil Rashid lbw with successive deliveries at the end of the 85th over, leaving the score at 270 for seven.
But the visitors could not prevent Yorkshire from reaching 300 for the first time in nine completed Championship innings. Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett shared an unbroken 47 for the eighth wicket, reaching 26 and 34 not out.