England stars showed their class as they took full advantage of their last opportunity to shine before the upcoming Test Series against Sri Lanka.
Firstly, James Anderson impressed as Lancashire ripped through the Hampshire batting line-up to take complete control of their encounter at Old Trafford on Sunday. The England man took figures of 3-42 as Hampshire were skittled out for a measly 109 with Adam Wheater top scoring for the visitors with 32. Luke Procter had a day to remember for the hosts, the all-rounder bagged wickets of 3-14 to be the pick of the bowlers for the Red Rose. He then followed that up with an unbeaten 48 at close as the hosts asserted their authority on the game ending day one with a lead of 48 with nine wickets still in hand. Earlier in the day, Anderson got the ball rolling removing Jimmy Adams for just five, but the big moment of the game saw the impressive Steven Croft brilliantly run out England hopeful James Vince for a duck. Vince’s departure left the visitors wobbling at 14/2 and it soon became 34/4 as New Zealander Neil Wagner struck twice in two-balls to remove in-form Michael Carberry (16) caught behind and Liam Dawson (0) plump in front leg before. Indeed, only wicket- keeper Adam Wheater showed any resistance hitting four fours in his 64-ball stay before he was removed by Procter to become the ninth man to fall. And in his next over the all-rounder struck again to remove last man James Tomlinson for a duck. In reply, every Red Rose batsman scored 40 or above as they cruised to 157/1 at the close.
Meanwhile at a swelteringly hot Lords Alex Hales played himself into some form at the Home of Cricket striking a brilliant 73 to help to put the visitors into a promising position. The England hopeful hit an entertaining half-century which included 10 fours and a six in his 124-ball stay. Michael Lumb (78) and Samit Patel (86 not out) were also in the runs as the visitors closed on 345/7. For the hosts, Steven Finn took two wickets to boost his hopes of a Test recall. He removed Chris Read for 38 and fellow England man Stuart Broad (7) with the second new ball as the London-club fought back late in the day. But it was Toby Roland-Jones who stole the show for the hosts taking three-wickets including that of Hales. Patel was in aggressive form, striking nine fours and a couple of sixes in his 131-ball stay, he’ll enter day two 14 short for a ton as the visitors will look to score quick runs to assert their initiative on the game.
Surrey enjoyed a positive opening day in Yorkshire as Steve Davies struck his first century of the season. Davies top-scored in the visitor’s total of 330, he hit 117 including 20 fours to help the London-club recover from 38/2 to a competitive first-innings total. David Willey (3-55) and Jack Brooks (3-73) shared six-wickets as the hosts fought back to ensure they remained firmly in the game going into the second day. Willey struck early to remove Rory Burns, the opener edged behind to keeper Jonny Bairstow. Arun Harinath – who was dropped three times by the host eventually went for just 12 caught by Ballance off the bowling of Liam Plunkett. That brought Davies to the middle to join Kumar Sangakkara, and the pair helped the visitors to recover to 160/3 sharing 122 for the third wicket. The Sri Lankan was once again in glorious touch to make yet another half-century for his adopted county, the 38-year-old struck 13 fours in his 73 before edging Liam Plunkett to Alex Lees in the slip cordon. Jason Roy fell quickly after to give Brooks his second wicket of the day as he could only find the hands of Joe Root - who took an excellent one-handed catch. Ben Foakes (45) and Davies then shared 103 to continue to frustrate the Tykes bowling attack. The veteran Steve Patterson then brought the centurions long vigil to an end getting the former wicket-keeper caught by Plunkett. That sparked a mini-collapse for the visitors as they lost five-wickets for 56-runs. Willey and Brooks combining to bring the Surrey innings to an end. That left the hosts with just two-overs to see out, and they did it emphatically adding 15 runs from the 12-balls faced.
Elsewhere, Tom Abell struck his second first-class century to help put Somerset in a good position at Edgbaston. The youngster hit 12 fours and a six to guide to help guide the visitors 295 all out. He, alongside the impressive Peter Trego (94) helped the West Country club to recover from 117/4 to a decent first innings total in Birmingham. They will though be disappointed to not pick up more than the two batting points they did, they failed to make the most of the favourable batting conditions in the Midlands heat. You must give credit to the Bears bowling attack of Keith Barker, Jonathan Trott and Chris Woakes who helped to reduce Somerset to a below-par total. Barker and Woakes took three-wickets and Trott and Boyd Rankin two apiece as the host enjoyed a positive day in the field in sweltering conditions. For all their good work with the ball though they lost two early wickets to give Somerset hope of gaining a first innings lead. Firstly, Lewis Gregory struck to remove Ian Westwood for three, before Craig Overton had nightwatchman Rankin caught by James Hildreth for just one to leave the hosts on 27/2 at the close of play.
In Division Two, second-placed Leicestershire continued their fine early season form to put themselves in a dominant position against Northampton at Grace Road. Neil Dexter fell two short of a century to top score for the hosts as the batsmen enjoyed themselves in the Leicester sun. There was though a rare failure for Paul Horton who fell for 12 as the visitors struck early after electing to bowl first. But that was as good as it got for the struggling visitors who then had to wait for a further 41-overs before collecting their second wicket as Dexter and Angus Robson shared 143 for the second wicket. Robson (56) hit eight fours in his half-century before falling to Ollie Stone leg before. That brought captain Mark Cosgrove to the middle, and he shared 92 for the third wicket with Dexter – who struck 11 fours in his 98. He fell though two short of a ton when Azharullah trapped him LBW to leave the score on 247/3. Cosgrove fell soon after to Jake Libby for 47, then Mark Pettini became the last man to fall caught off Kleinveldt for 23 as the hosts closed on 311/5.
Hamish Marshall led Gloucestershire to recovery hitting a century against Kent. The hosts enjoyed a dream start with the ball having been asked to field first in the South East heat. They ripped through the visitors’ top order to leave them on 14/4 with Mitchell Claydon and Darren Stevens doing some early damage. Indeed, the pair both had figures of 2-10 at lunch as the visitors endured a nightmare morning session. But Marshall and George Hankins joined with their team in quite the pickle, but the pair combined to lead Gloucestershire to respectability taking them past the hundred mark. Hankins aggressive knock of 45 came to end when Calum Haggett bowled the youngster. Keiran Noema-Barnett then added a further 41-runs with his experienced partner as the visitors continued to rally. Noema-Barnett fell to Matt Hunn for 24, but the impressive young all-rounder Jack Taylor continued his fine form this season striking yet another half-century to help Marshall to go through to a well-deserved century. The New Zealander struck 12 fours during his 202-ball stay to help rescue his side from embarrassment. Stevens (3-60) ended Taylor’s stay of 52 having the spinner caught and bowled, and the very next over it was shades of the morning session as Marshall fell to the bowling of Claydon caught by fellow Kiwi Tom Latham. The tail wagged to ensure that Gloucestershire would still be batting come Monday morning as Craig Miles (20) and David Payne (22 not out) shared 39 for the ninth wicket before Miles fell just before the close caught by the evergreen Stevens off the bowling of Haggett. The visitors closed with their total on 296/9.
Meanwhile, Sussex finally found some form to dominate the opening day of their encounter against Derbyshire. Lewis Hatchett took a five-wicket haul as the hosts were dismissed for a disappointing 191. Billy Godleman’s men collapsed from 103/3 to 191 all out as they fell well short of par on a batsman-friendly day. Hatchett claimed his first of the day by removing in-form Chesney Hughes for just eight, having the Derbyshire opener caught by Ben Brown down the leg side. Hamish Rutherford (32) and Godleman (28) then added 48 for the second wicket before both fell in quick succession as the visitors began to turn the screw. It was Stuart Whittingham who broke the pair up to claim his first first-class wicket for the county. He had the Kiwi caught by Luke Wells to spark the collapse, an over later Steve Magoffin (2-35) removed the hosts skipper to leave his side on 78/3. And they never recovered from that double strike as Hatchett ripped through the lower order with only Shiv Thakor (36 not out) showing any real resistance. Hatchett removed Wes Durston (8), Wayne Madsen (9), Tony Palladino (13) and Luke Fletcher (14) to claim figures of 5-58 as the hosts fell to 191 all out. In reply, the promotion favourites fared far better reaching the close on 83/1 with Ed Joyce unbeaten on 41.
Finally, Brett D’Oliveira continued his fine early season form to strike a third first-class century of the season. Fresh from his maiden County Championship ton of the summer against Essex last week the opener struck a career-best unbeaten 152 as Worcestershire dominated their opening day against Glamorgan. The Welsh county didn’t help themselves though shelling a number of catches during a frustrating day for Jacques Rudolph’s men. D’Oliveira hit 22 fours as he shone in the Cardiff sunshine. He found partners in England’s Moeen Ali who struck a half-century in what is likely to be his final game for the Pears before he meets up with the three lions for the tour against Sri Lanka. But it was youngster Joe Clarke who offered him the most support striking his second glorious ton of the summer to help put the visitors in a commanding position going into day two on Monday. Clarke smashed 14 fours and a six during his unbeaten 105 as the Pears closed on 343/2 in Cardiff.
Reports by David Bowden (@bowdenwhu)
All Alastair Cook Alex Hales BBC Radio Commentary Ben Coad Ben Duckett Birmingham Bears Chris Read County Championship County Cricket Dan Kingdom Darren Sammy David Bowden Day/Night Cricket Derbyshire Durham England Cricket Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hill James Anderson James Vince Jamie Ramage Joe Root Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow Kent Kevin Hand Watch Kevin Hand-Watch Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Middlesex Natwest Blast Neil Harris Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Previews Retrospective Reports RLODC Round Ups Round-ups Season Review Somerset Stuart Broad Surrey Sussex T20 Blast Team Of The Week Virdi Vitality Blast Warwickshire Wocestershire Worcestershire Yorkshire