Top batting performances, and a scintillating encounter between Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire stole the headlines on day one...
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE v NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
Luke Wood and Rory Kleinveldt took four wickets each as promotion-rivals Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire shared a keenly-fought opening day at Wantage Road. Wood helped bowl Northants for 194 before Notts replied with 80 for 5.
Notts can confirm promotion with victory this week and made early progress here against Northants who have to win to keep their own promotion hopes alive. The visitors elected to field and it was very much a bowlers day on a green-tinged pitch with damp in the air and batting was very difficult against two sets of accurate seamers.
Wood was first to show bowling a probing full length and finding late swing. Two deliveries won lbws against right-handers, Rob Newton for 1 and Richard Levi after a useful 35, and a similar ball to the left-handed Ben Duckett produced a leading edge for a simple return catch. Wood later returned to finish off the Northants innings, taking out Nathan Buck’s off stump.
Wood’s opening partner Brett Hutton also threatened and after having Alex Wakely dropped by a diving third slip, found another edge that was well held low down by Riki Wessels at first slip - his 100th first-class wicket.
Hutton then struck twice shortly after lunch. He ended Rob Keogh’s 77-ball stay where he made just 15 by inducing an outside edge that was fabulously held by Steven Mullaney diving full length to his right at second slip, claiming the catch an inch above the turf. A second Mullaney catch - this a simple chance taken by his right knee - gave Hutton a third wicket as David Murphy fell for a seven-ball duck.
When Harry Gurney had Josh Cobb taken a first slip after he tried to counter-attack making 36, Northants were 120 for 7 and in danger of being fired out but Rory Kleinveldt combined aggression with solid defence in his 43 before he dragged Samit Patel into his leg stump. Buck also made a useful 32 but Northants fell short of any batting bonus points.
Needing a response with the ball, Northants conceded only 20 runs in the first 12 overs before Kleinveldt struck twice in an over - one that held it’s line to take out Steven Mullaney’s off stump and another that Cheteshwar Pujara pushed at to be caught at second slip. Kleinveldt also removed Jake Libby lbw shuffling across his stumps for 13.
And when Buck changed ends to trap Samit Patel lbw, Notts were wobbling at 56 for 4 only for Billy Root - playing just his third County Championship match - and Riki Wessels to share a stand that took Notts to within two overs of the close. But Wessels drove at Kleinveldt and edged to Murphy to ensure the day ended even.
DURHAM v SUSSEX
Captaining Sussex for the first time, Luke Wells led from the front with his third century of the season in the Specsavers County Championship match against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
He followed his 258 against the same opponents at Hove in May by making 122 in a total of 346, to which Durham replied with eight for one, Keaton Jennings' miserable run continuing when he was lbw to Ollie Robinson off the last ball of the day.
On 37, Wells reached 1,000 Championship runs for the first time, shrugging off the first ball dismissal of Harry Finch to share a second-wicket stand of 186 with Stiaan van Zyl. Wells' desire to bat on a sunny morning was vindicated as he chose to toss and was obligingly put in by Paul Collingwood.
A delighted Wells said: “It's a very proud moment for me to be captain 26 years to the day since my dad first captained the club.
"I'm Sussex born and bred and I love playing for the club. I'm quite a studious cricketer and I like to think I'm developing as a leader."
There was much playing and missing as the ball nipped around in the first hour, with Rushworth and Graham Onions well supported by the pacy Brydon Carse in his second appearance of the season.
The edges which eluded Durham then arrived when the second new ball was taken and the last five wickets went down for 18 runs in 6.3 overs.
Out of the promotion frame, Sussex handed opportunities to Laurie Evans and Phil Salt. But both fell to Jennings, who also strangled Wells down the leg side with an innocuous ball and had figures of 5-0-22-3 at one stage.
Wells clattered anything short and wide of off stump, as when he carved Carse over backward point for the four which took him to 50 off 101 balls. He accelerated to complete his century off 178 balls by accepting a gift from Rushworth, which he leg glanced for his 13th four.
Van Zyl scored one off his first 26 balls but two whipped pulls for four off successive balls from Carse got him going. He forged ahead of Wells but fell for 92 when he sliced a drive off James Weighell to point then Evans made only 19 before edging behind off the penultimate ball before tea.
Salt hit two lovely fours off Jennings in his 11 before falling lbw attempting to pull a ball which kept a shade low. Luke Wright hit several powerful drives through the covers in making 43 off 68 balls and put on 53 with Michael Burgess, deputising for injured captain Ben Brown.
Both departed in the first two overs with the new ball, Burgess being a shade unlucky when he played a ball from Rushworth into his stumps with just enough force to remove a bail.
Onions nipped one back sharply to take out Wright's off stump, Ollie Robinson edged Rushworth to Tom Latham at second slip, George Garton turned Onions straight to mid-wicket, and Sam Whittingham got an inside edge to leave Rushworth with four for 64.
GLAMORGAN v GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Cardiff batsman Kiran Carlson starred for Glamorgan on Day One of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash against Gloucestershire, their final home match of the season, as they reached 342-7 at the close in Cardiff.
The 19-year-old struck a career best 137 not out, the second first-class century of his career, following a partnership of 182 with Andrew Salter, who struck a career best 84.
Carlson and Chris Cooke (51) guided Glamorgan to 127/4 at lunch, the visitors deciding to bowl first after an uncontested toss. The Welsh county got off to a poor start, Nick Selman removed lbw by David Payne from the second ball of the match after he survived a chance for a catch from the very first ball.
Colin Ingram got off to a great start in his last home Championship match before he takes up a one-day contract next year. He struck three fours in the first four overs. It wasn’t long, however, before he was bowled by Liam Norwell for 18.
Championship debutant Connor Brown, meanwhile, showed early promise as he dealt blow after blow to the boundary after being joined by fellow Cardiffian Kiran Carlson at 33/2. It was short-lived, however, when he was dismissed lbw by Kieran Noema-Barnett for 35, having struck eight fours, and Glamorgan looked to be in a spot of bother at 62/3.
Aneurin Donald, back in the side after being dropped last week for the Northamptonshire match, played a poor shot outside off-stump on one, offering an easy chance to George Hankins at third slip off David Payne, reducing the Welsh side to 63/4.
Carlson and Chris Cooke looked to get Glamorgan back on track in the middle-order against Noema-Barnett and Matt Taylor. The rate continued at around four an over and Glamorgan finally reached the hundred mark in the 26th over, and the batsmen went past the fifty partnership when Carlson drove Josh Shaw for four through cover.
They had added 65 by tea, as the home side reached 216/5. Chris Cooke had reached his half-century from 67 balls. However, after a lengthy delay to repair a hole in the pitch at square-leg, he was bowled by David Payne for 51, ending an 88 partnership with Carlson for the fifth wicket.
Carlson kicked on, however, and reached his half-century from 131 balls with a crashing blow through the covers off Payne, his seventh four of the innings. The wicket slowed Glamorgan’s scoring rate, but Andrew Salter looked to up the tempo with back-to-back fours, pulling through mid-wicket before cutting down to third man off Kieran Noema-Barnett as he moved into double figures.
Carlson continued to bat sensibly, allowing Salter to play the shots. However, it was Carlson who hit the first six of the match, and the first of his Championship career, over spinner Jack Taylor’s head towards the River Taf after Glamorgan had gained their first batting point, bringing up the fifty stand for the sixth wicket. Another, slightly wider six soon followed off the same bowler before tea.
Resuming the final session on 216/5, Carlson and Salter were soon into their stride once more. Neither Benny Howell, in his first Championship match for over a year, nor Josh Shaw had any answers early on as the boundaries kept coming. The flurry of runs continued as the pair brought up their century stand for the sixth wicket as Carlson moved into the nervous nineties. Salter, for his part, was approaching his half-century and it was a race to see who would get there first.
Both batsmen looked edgy, though, as they approached their respective milestones. However, it was Carlson who got there first, from 216 balls, having struck 12 fours and two sixes. He showed great maturity in waiting more than four and a half hours to get there, and great composure throughout the nineties as the field closed in around him. Salter reached his half-century from 127 balls, having hit five fours.
Once the pressure of the milestones was behind the batsmen, Salter opened up and struck boundaries on both sides of the ground. As Glamorgan gained a third batting point, he and Carlson brought up their 150 partnership with 10 overs remaining in the first day.
Their partnership ended on 182 when Salter was caught behind by James Bracey off Josh Shaw for 84, and Glamorgan were 333-6. Craig Meschede was caught by Chris Dent at second slip off Kieran Noema-Barnett without scoring and Glamorgan were 336-7. Ruaidhri Smith saw Glamorgan through to the close alongside Carlson.