• Specsavers County Championship 9m

    Div One: Trescothick puts Somerset on brink

    Somerset are closing in on a much-needed victory at the foot of Division One thanks to Marcus Trescothick's superb knock

    Trescothick was on fire for Somerset on day three, while there were handy performances elsewhere in Division One, including Jamie Porter's bowling quality shining.

    Hampshire 290 v Surrey 200 & 135/4
    Lancashire 290 v Essex 115/4
    Yorkshire 358 v Middlesex 108/3
    Warwickshire 146 & 172/6 v Somerset 282 & 265/4


    No play was possible after tea on the third day at Old Trafford as the Specsavers County Championship clash between Division One leaders Essex and second-placed Lancashire heads towards a draw.

    Lancashire resumed day three on 222/8 in their first innings, with Haseeb Hameed unbeaten on 85 having batted all day on Wednesday to post his highest Championship score of the season.

    He would add just three runs to his overnight score, receiving a near-unplayable delivery from Jamie Porter which kept low and trapped him plumb lbw. That was a fifth wicket for Porter, his fifth five-wicket haul of the season.

    Hameed said: “I was determined to score runs in whatever way possible. The longer you spend out there the easier it becomes. It’s continuing to learn about when it’s time to soak up pressure and what you need put pressure back on them. The more innings I play the more I am learning about that.

    “I’m not thinking about England at all. My focus is on the next day here, whatever that brings. It would be great to go on that Ashes tour but there’s a process to achieving things and I have to perform and do what I do for Lancashire. I’m confident that will bring further honours again," he added.

    Essex secured their maximum bowling points with that scalp and Lancashire were still 17 short of their second batting point.

    But the last-wicket pair of Tom Bailey and Kyle Jarvis took them beyond the required 250 mark and looked like taking Lancashire to 300 and a third batting point as they shared a half-century stand from just 49 balls.

    It was a partnership which was ended by Simon Harmer, who bowled Jarvis one ball after the Zimbabwean had launched him down the ground for six. Jarvis made 26 and Bailey was unbeaten on 34 and the pair took Lancashire to a total of 290.

    The last three wickets for Lancashire had contributed exactly half of the total as the Red Rose recovered from 92/6 on day two. Having been frustrated by Lancashire’s fightback, Essex needed to avoid losing early wickets but they were unable to do so.

    Ryan McLaren struck twice before lunch, taking 2-12 from his eight-over spell by bowling Nick Browne for six and having Dan Lawrence caught at third slip by Dane Vilas for 12.

    Essex scrambled to 38/2 at lunch and a fifty-partnership between skipper Varun Chopra and Ravi Bopara after the interval ensured Essex’s fears of being bowled out quickly were put to rest. Their half-century stand came from 91 balls and Lancashire were struggling to make the inroads they so wanted.

    But Tom Bailey stuck to his task, first being frustrated when Alex Davies at second slip dropped Bopara on 18 but bouncing back in his next over to trap Chopra lbw for 40 with one that tailed back at the right-hander.

    Light was an issue for the umpires, who instructed Lancashire to bowl spin shortly before tea, a move which brought reward for the hosts as Stephen Parry produced a beauty to have Bopara caught by Liam Livingstone at slip for 34 with the final ball before tea. That left Essex 115/4 and was to prove the final action of the third day as rain arrived during tea and wiped out the final session.

    After the complete washout on day one, this clash between the top two in Division One looks almost certain to end in a draw. Both sides currently have three points from the match, meaning Essex still hold a 36-point lead at the top of the table. 


    Rory Burns continued his incredible record against Hampshire by scoring 63 as Surrey battled from a first innings deficit to lead by 45 at the Ageas Bowl.

    Ahead of this fixture, Burns averaged 125.20 against the southern county in his previous six appearances against them.

    That had been boosted by an epic unbeaten 219 earlier of the season at the Kia Ova, in which he was on the pitch for all but 29 minutes of the match, along with a pair of centuries in the two meetings last season.

    And he looked in top form again as he doggedly batted Surrey away from any major danger under grey skies and a slow pitch. He brought up his 34th first class half century by rocking onto his back foot and pulling part-time spinner Joe Weatherley to the boundary.

    The runs were much needed for Surrey as he lost opening partner, and first innings top scorer, Ryan Patel after putting on 44 with the teenager gloving a sweep to first slip Sean Ervine who moved to leg slip to complete the catch.

    Burns also watch from the other end as Scott Borthwick and Jason Roy completed dismal matches with the bat – the pair scoring ducks in the first innings and one in the second. Borthwick was a tad unlucky as Liam Dawson’s delivery kept low before ricocheting behind to a smart catch by Tom Alsop behind the stumps, while Roy was clean bowled by Kyle Abbott.

    Burns continued his steady innings with Ben Foakes, the pair putting on 71 and putting Surrey into the red, before he became Weatherley’s maiden First Class wicket when he was leg before. Foakes manoeuvred his way to 33 not out at the close, with his side leading by 45 runs – although with rain due on the fourth day hopes of a result either way look unlikely.

    Earlier, Hampshire’s tail wagged through impressive contributions from No. 8, 9, 10 and 11s, Ian Holland, Gareth Berg, Kyle Abbott and Fidel Edwards, to give their side a 90-run first innings lead. Australian Holland completed his second half century for the county, in 121 balls, before he was bowled by Stuart Meaker.

    Berg reached his fifty in 70 deliveries when a crashing six straight down the ground bringing up the milestone and eventually reached a classy 80 before he was caught behind off Jade Dernbach with the second new ball.

    Berg had put on 93 with Kyle Abbott, and the South African created another frustrating tail-end stand with Fidel Edwards. The 10th wicket added 27, with West Indian Edwards scoring his highest Championship score of 20 before he was bowled by Tom Curran.


    Yorkshire and Middlesex will almost certainly have to settle for a Specsavers County Championship draw following rain on day one and more rain and bad light from early afternoon onwards at Headingley on day three. 

    Yorkshire were bowled out for 358 during the first hour of play having started on 317 for seven before Middlesex responded with 108 for three from 32 overs. There was no play possible beyond 4pm when bad light and then rain came in for the second time in the day, with 56 overs lost to take the match tally to 142.

    Both sides will still find themselves in relegation danger in Division One with three matches left to play despite encouraging performances. Yorkshire travel to the Oval to face Surrey next week and Middlesex host Hampshire at Uxbridge. 

    Their nerves will be heightened if second-bottom Somerset beat Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Having posted four batting bonus points for passing 350, Yorkshire were going to be the most likely winners in this shortened game.

    But Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Compton thwarted such ideas with a composed opening partnership of 73 inside 22 overs either side of lunch.

    Although overhead conditions have been overcast for large parts of the last two days, the pitch has been as good for batting as at any stage this season in Championship cricket at Headingley.

    There was the odd stifled appeal and a couple of extremely well judged leaves that left hands on heads as Robson and Compton blunted the new ball.

    The breakthrough came when the excellent Ryan Sidebottom, in his penultimate match at Headingley, rocked back Compton’s off stump for 42 with one that held its line from over the wicket as the batsman played down the wrong line.

    The veteran left-armer then had Stevie Eskinazi caught well down low at third slip by a tumbling Jack Leaning for five as the score fell to 83 for two in the 24th over. Only five more balls were possible before the weather intervened for the first time just before 2pm.

    When play resumed 90 minutes later, Sidebottom had Robson caught behind for 47 by a tumbling Andrew Hodd as the score fell to 104 for three in the 32nd. Only two more balls were bowled, with Sidebottom finishing with three for 49 from 14.

    The day started with Tim Murtagh taking two of the three Yorkshire wickets to fall, including Liam Plunkett lbw for 34 with the third ball of the day. Murtagh then had Ben Coad caught at first slip by Adam Voges as the score fell 336 for nine in the 103rd over, the fifth of the morning, as the visitors claimed their third bowling point.

    Sidebottom hit two eye-catching boundaries through the covers and to wide long-on to help secure a fourth batting point before James Harris wrapped up the innings when he had Tim Bresnan caught at deep point for 44 in the 112th over.

    Murtagh finished with four for 77 from 29 overs, the pick of the Middlesex bowling figures. When play begins tomorrow, Australian overseas batsman Adam Voges will be five not out and Paul Stirling on four. 


    Somerset advanced to the brink of a potentially priceless Specsavers County Championship victory over Warwickshire on the third day of the relegation battle at Edgbaston thanks to a fine century knock from Marcus Trescothick. 

    Set an highly unlikely victory target of 402 on a wearing pitch, the home side closed the day on 172 for six.

    Former Warwickshire seam-bowler Tim Groenewald shunted his former team-mates towards the trapdoor with three wickets, a highly impressive effort on a pitch offering little help to the seamers. When Warwickshire dipped to 51 for three in mid-afternoon, a three-day defeat beckoned.

    Jonathan Trott dug in for 74 (158 balls, nine fours) but his departure in the closing minutes of the day left Somerset on the threshold of a win which will galvanise their survival bid.

    Resuming their second innings at 75 for two, already 211 ahead, on the third morning, Somerset batted in largely untroubled fashion into the afternoon session before declaring on 265 for four. Trescothick remained unbeaten on 119 (205 balls, 15 fours) - his 65th first-class century and only his second in the Championship this season.

    Trescothick added 148 in 40 overs with James Hildreth (68, 100 balls, eight fours) and, after Hildreth edged to slip to provide Matt Lamb with his maiden first-class wicket, 100 in 17 overs with Tom Abell.

    The veteran was pleased with his century: "That was a special century for me because it has been a tough season so it's good to come through and get the runs I've been looking for for a long period of time. It's not been the luckiest of seasons for me but also I have not played very well at times."

    Abell struck an aggressive 51 (48 balls, seven fours) before declaring the innings when he was bowled by Ryan Sidebottom, leaving the young seamer with three for 69.

    Groenewald then removed both openers in his second over, the eighth of the innings. Dominic Sibley edged to wicketkeeper Davies and Andy Umeed was too late leaving a ball and steered it to slip. When Jack Leach added the wicket of Ian Bell, bowled through the gate by an arm-ball for 24 (36 balls), the Bears fans braced themselves for the sort of collapse which has plagued their season.

    But Lamb (23, 89 balls) knuckled down for the second time in the match to help Trott add 66 in 27 overs before edging a fine Groenewald outswinger to Davies. Trott reached 50 for the 128th time in first-class cricket but fell lbw to Dom Bess ten minutes before the close and when Keith Barker perished the same way two balls later, the fat lady prepared to warble regarding Warwickshire's Division One status.

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