Here's what happened on day two in Division Two, with Notts on the ropes and Worcestershire closing in...
SUSSEX v NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
Notts have had a desperately disappointing second day at Hove. The outstanding team in the second division of the Specsavers County Championship started their first innings needing to score 400, with maximum batting points, and draw the game against Sussex to confirm their promotion.
Instead, in reply to a Sussex score of 565 they closed on 108 for five and will do well to avoid their third defeat in as many matches.
Our 565 was the highest total against @TrentBridge at Hove. It's also our biggest score at HQ since we made 597-8 dec. v Yorkshire in 2007— Sussex CCC (@SussexCCC) 26 September 2017
They lost opener Jake Libby in the second over, caught in the slips at the second attempt by Harry Finch off Jofra Archer for a duck. But the bowler who really disconcerted the Notts batsmen was Stuart Whittingham, 23, who bowled with real pace from the Cromwell Road end after replacing Chris Jordan.
Whittingham made his first breakthrough with the score on 33 when Cheteshwar Purara offered no stroke to a straight ball and was lbw for 12. Whittingham struck again in his next over when he took out Steven Mullaney’s middle stump with a Yorker, to make it 44 for three.
It got even worse for Notts. Riki Wessels was caught behind off a glove as he attempted to fend off a short delivery from Archer. And it was 65 for five when Whittingham struck again with an lbw decision as the batsman attempted to work him to leg. Bill Root and Chris Read offered some belated resistance before the close.
The day had started well when Sussex resumed on 230 for five. Harry Gurney soon had Delray Rawlins – pushing forward – caught behind. He had not added to his overnight 55.
But then overnight batsman Michael Burgess (146) and Chris Jordan (147) stunned Notts as they both achieved career-best scores in a seventh wicket partnership worth 189 in 36 overs, a record for the county’s seventh wicket against the visiting side.
Burgess reached his maiden first-class century by hitting Brett Hutton for three successive fours. He had faced 146 deliveries and hit 15 fours and a six.
By then Jordan had already reached his half-century from 59 balls, with ten fours. He went on to score what was only his second century in first-class cricket, and beat his previous best of 131, scored against Essex at Colchester last season.
Finally, Archer scored a languid 72 off 84 balls, with seven fours and two sixes to leave the Notts bowlers demoralised. On the opening day they had Sussex in trouble at 107 for five, but that looked d distant memory at the close of the second day.
GLAMORGAN v KENT
Glamorgan and Kent enjoyed three thrilling sessions of cut-and-thrust cricket as 15 wickets fell on the second day of this final Specsavers County Championship match of the summer in Canterbury.
Kent had stumbled to 98 for five at stumps for an overall lead of 171, but talk around the ground centred around England’s 11th hour decision to call up Sam Billings to potentially replace Ben Stokes or Alex Hales in tomorrow’s Fourth ODI against the West Indies at The Kia Oval.
Billings was due to bat with his side in deep trouble on 24 for four in their second innings, as it was, his understudy Adam Rouse emerged from the pavilion to take up the cudgel with aplomb, reaching a gritty 34 not out by the game’s mid-point.
Kent had lost three for nought in eight balls at the start of their reply as Michael Hogan swept to his 500th wicket in all first-class cricket. The Aussie paceman bowled Daniel Bell-Drummond, tied Joe Denly in knots to win an lbw shout and then had Sam Northeast caught on the hook very next ball to reach his milestone.
Rory Smith snared Zak Crawley flush in front and had Sean Dickson caught behind with Kent only 110 runs ahead, bringing Rouse and Darren Stevens together for a swashbuckling sixth-wicket stand worth 61.
Stevens contributed 31 with seven fours before Hogan returned late in the day to peg back his off stump via an inside edge as Stevens aimed to force off the back foot. Without arguably their three most experienced batsmen in Colin Ingram, Jacques Rudolph and Aneurin Donald, a rookie Glamorgan batting order made a decent fist of their first innings reply in reaching 229 all out for a single batting bonus point.
Kent had appeared well on top after reducing the Welsh to 65 for five, but dogged cameos from Chris Cook, Craig Meschede and Rory Smith enabled the visitors to battle back in the mid-session.
Glamorgan made a poor start after losing Connor Brown lbw in only the third over of a misty morning. Looking to drive against the wily Stevens, Brown was bamboozled by one that drifted away through the air, only to dart in off the pitch and thud Brown on his front pad and leave umpire Nigel Cowley in no doubt. It was Stevens’ 60th first-class wicket of the summer.
Adam Milne, the Kiwi fast bowler making his farewell appearance for Kent, bagged his second wicket of the match soon after by having Jack Murphy caught at cover point. The young right-hander attempted to drive without transferring his weight forward and picked out Daniel Bell-Drummond via a leading edge.
Milne was replaced at the Nackington Road End by Calum Haggett who struck with his first delivery of the game. Pushing in defence at a leg-cutter, David Lloyd edged behind to see Billings take the catch tumbling in front of slip.
Haggett bagged a second when Kiran Carlson, seemingly in two minds as to what shot to play, failed to smother an off-cutter that bounced back onto off stump to make it 65 for five. Cooke, who scored his maiden first-class century here two seasons ago, dug in either side of lunch to add 65 with sixth-wicket partner Andrew Salter.
With the ball softened and the lacquer diminished, batting became a tad easier until Salter, on 20, risked a drive on the up against Stevens that Daniel Bell-Drummond held one-handed and diving full-length to his right at extra cover.
After spending an hour marooned in the 40s, Cook’s patience finally snapped on 49 when he fenced at one from Haggett to be held in the cordon, but Glamorgan further chipped away at the Kent lead through Meschede (44) and Rory Smith (36). With his side’s first batting bonus point in the bank, Meschede chased an away swinger to be caught behind and give Kent debutant Grant Stewart his maiden first-class wicket.
Stewart, a 23-year-old Aussie-raised all-rounder, then had Lewis Carey caught at second slip leaving Imran Qayyum to polish off the innings by having Smith caught at slip after a miscued and off-balance attempt to reverse sweep. Haggett was the pick of the Kent attack with three for 40 while Milne, Stevens and Stewart bagged two apiece, but gritty Glamorgan were the happier side having cut the home advantage to only 73.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE v DERBYSHIRE
Alex Hughes celebrated his county cap with an imperious century as Derbyshire dominated the second day of their Specsavers’ County Championship game against Gloucestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol.
It had been something of an anti-climax last week when Hughes, 26 later this week, was awarded his cap on the second day of the washed-out Championship game against Kent at Chesterfield.
However, he wasted precious little time in further confirming his quality this week. Not only did he post his career best first-class score, but he featured heavily in a 233-run stand for the third wicket with fellow centurion Wayne Madsen.
When bad light brought about an early finish, Gloucestershire were 47 for 1, in response to Derbyshire’s impressive 460 all out.
The pair had come together on a rain-affected first day, at 74 for 2, and took Derbyshire to 307 for 3, in mid-afternoon on day two. Madsen, who in terms of first-class runs scored, has endured his worst season since arriving at Derbyshire in 2009, made up for lost time with his 25th first-class hundred, whilst Hughes continued to prosper on a day dominated by the batsmen.
The visitors made excellent progress throughout the day with Madsen, who resumed on 24 not out, reaching 50 off 81 balls and 100 off 175 deliveries with 17 fours. His innings also took him through 10,000 first-class runs, of which all but 1,308 of them have come in Derbyshire colours.
Gloucestershire had one or two opportunities to prise the pair apart during the first session, but a dropped catch at first slip when Hughes was on 11 and a missed run out opportunity with Madsen on 52, were to prove costly.
Derbyshire, having received the luck their positive approach fully deserved, looked in total control thereafter. Hughes, whose 50 came up off 119 balls, brought up his fourth first-class century and second against Gloucestershire in as many seasons, off 204 balls with 15 fours. It was an outstanding contribution, albeit on a wicket with precious few demons.
Gloucestershire eventually made the breakthrough between lunch and tea, when Josh Shaw had Madsen caught behind at 307 for 3. Medium pacer Benny Howell picked up his side’s fourth wicket when he bowled Matt Critchley for 19 at 342 for 4, and Gary Wilson followed at 355 for 5.
By then, however, the damage had been done and though Hughes was finally out in the post tea session for 142, at 380 for 6, the visitors, providing they bowl well on days three and four, had laid the foundations of a potentially match winning total. Harry Podmore and Harvey Hosein added 70 for the seventh wicket and Gloucestershire, for whom Matt Taylor and Tom Smith helped themselves to three wickets apiece, were left to respond to the visitors’ 460 all out. By the close, they were still 413 runs adrift with nine wickets in hand after Hardus Viljoen trapped Chris Dent lbw at 14 for 1.
WORCESTERSHIRE v DURHAM
Worcestershire will go into the third day against Durham at New Road needing two more points – or just four more wickets - to confirm their promotion to Division One in the Specsavers County Championship.
Having started their final fixture requiring six points to be sure of top two position, they were halfway to their target when another show of lower-order batting strength took them to a total of 335.
Another bonus point is collected as the 300 comes up - three more points to guarantee promotion— Worcestershire CCC (@WorcsCCC) 26 September 2017
India Test star Ravi Ashwin, with 82 for his first half-century in a four-match stint in the Championship, and all-rounder Ed Barnard, with a career-best 75, were the leading players as the last five wickets added 203.
Worcestershire’s bowlers then began the task of taking nine wickets in 110 overs to secure a fifth promotion in 11 years under director of cricket Steve Rhodes. Three were quickly in the bank, two for Josh Tongue, making 47 for the season, and one for skipper Joe Leach, until Paul Collingwood (27) and Graham Clark (60) dug in for 18 overs in a stand of 76.
Collingwood was bowled, attempting to cut Ashwin, and Clark hit three sixes in reaching his 50 from 58 balls before he was caught and bowled by Leach off a leading edge. Durham closed at 142 for five, still 193 behind.
For their part, it has been a match of emotional calls as Graham Onions and Keaton Jennings – the latter now set to join Lancashire – say their farewells to the county.
Jennings was out for 9, caught behind off Tongue, and Onions took two more wickets after Worcestershire had banked their third batting point. The former England seamer wrapped up a return of four for 68 when he had Leach caught in the gully and then bowled Tongue.
Although the pitch took some spin, 18-year-old Liam Trevaskis capturing his first Championship wicket by bowling Ashwin, Durham were unable to force home their position after a useful morning’s work.
Clarke was a comforting presence for Worcestershire in a tricky first hour. The England Lions batsman resumed with 46 in an overnight score of 90 for three and quickly completed his half-century at close to a run-a-ball.
However, he was to hit only two more boundaries, making ten in all, before Onions drew him into a drive outside the off-stump and saw the edge neatly taken by Collingwood at first slip. George Rhodes went for nine, given out lbw when playing back to off-spinner Ryan Pringle, and Ben Cox, after making 30 out of 66 with Ashwin, was bowled by Cameron Steel just before lunch.
With Worcestershire on 204 for six, they needed a big effort to secure their initial objective of a 300 plus total. The impetus came from Ashwin and was brilliantly built on by Barnard with his fifth championship half-century of the summer.
Although essentially signed as a world-rated spin bowler, Ashwin has proved he is more than capable of batting in the top six at any level. His innings was exactly what Worcestershire required and when he was deceived in the air by Trevaskis, Barnard was there to make the most of support from the tail.
Three sixes, one of which smashed a window in the entrance to an on-site café, backed up half-a-dozen other boundaries by a fast-maturing 21-year-old who has scored 580 championship runs and taken more than 40 wickets this season. When joined by last man Pat Brown, he made one last effort to take his side closer to 350 but was bowled when aiming an over-ambitious shot at a ball from Mark Wood.
LEICESTERSHIRE v NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
All-rounder Ben Raine added four wickets to his earlier half-century as Leicestershire bowled themselves back into a match in which for the first two sessions they had been very much second-best to promotion-chasing Northamptonshire.
The visitors had looked to be in a dominant position when they reached 168-2 after bowling Leicestershire out for just 128, with seamers Ben Sanderson (5-38) and Richard Gleeson (5-49) making the most of the conditions after captain Alex Wakely chose to bowl first at the Fischer County Ground.
Needing to win the match to retain a chance of promotion, Northants suffered an immediate blow when leading wicket-taker Rory Kleinveldt pulled up with an injury after bowling just 11 deliveries.
With the ball swinging in the humid conditions, however, Sanderson and Gleeson made light of Kleinveldt's absence. Sanderson had Michael Carberry and Ned Eckersley plumb leg before, before Gleeson produced a bouncing, seaming delivery which Sam Evans, making his championship debut for the Foxes, inside-edged to the wicket-keeper.
Gleeson then accounted for Mark Cosgrove, the Leicestershire captain inside-edging an attempted drive at a full delivery on to his off-stump, and Aadil Ali became Sanderson's third leg-before victim before Gleeson first had Lewis Hill leg before before bowling Neil Dexter with an unplayable delivery which left the South African off the pitch.
Raine, dropped by Richard Levi at second slip on 15 off Gleeson, and Chappell – who should have been easily run out on 5, only for wicket-keeper Murphy to fumble a simple take – then counter-attacked to some effect until shortly before lunch, when Chappell edged a Sanderson outswinger to second slip.
REPLAY | Raine hit the first boundary of the afternoon session, LCCC 105-8 pic.twitter.com/JVgwvScfjZ— Leicestershire CCC🏏 (@leicsccc) 26 September 2017
Raine went to 50 before steering a Sanderson delivery straight to Procter at point after the break, and Luke Procter and Rob Newton then set about building a solid platform when the visitors began their reply.
They lost Newton when the score had reached 90, caught behind off the inside edge as he drove without moving his feet at Raine, but after Wakely went quickly, Procter and Richard Levi added 63 for the third wicket and were looking in control until Procter inside-edged an attempted back foot force off Raine into his stumps.
His demise began a collapse that saw Northants lose six wickets in the course of adding just 31 runs, as Raine, finding increasing movement as the temperature began to fall, bowled beautifully in tandem with left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson.
On a wicket that did not turn, Parkinson's drift and guile accounted for three victims, two leg before wicket. Late tumble of wickets notwithstanding, Northants are still in a strong position in the game, and with Notts struggling at Sussex, it may be that a win of any kind could yet be enough to see them win promotion.