James Anderson found some form ahead of the Sri Lanka Test Match series as the England boys had a mixed day on Day three of the Specsavers County Championship.
In the game of the week, Yorkshire took control at Trent Bridge as Alex Hales struggled for form once again. The Tykes continued the day on 170/4 but soon lost the set man in Alex Lees who fell early to Harry Gurney for a well-made 92. Liam Plunkett led the Yorkshire charge, however, continuing his fine early season form as he looks to push for an England Test recall. He made 51 including six fours and a six before becoming the last man to fall with the visitors being dismissed for 290, a lead of just 29 on first innings. England One-Day specialist David Willey, on Yorkshire debut, took his first White Rose wicket when he removed Steven Mullaney leg before early on as the visitors turned the screw in search of their first victory of the summer. The experienced Steven Patterson then struck to leave the hosts on 28/2; he bowled Greg Smith for 17. Hales and former England man Michael Lumb saw the hosts through to Tea, but Lumb soon fell after the interval to leave the hosts in all sorts of trouble. Patterson the man again with the wicket as Lumb nicked through to Adam Lyth in the slips. Riki Wessels and Hales saw the hosts to a lead of 46 before Hales lost his off-stump to a ball that kept low off the bowling of Jack Brooks. Wessels suffered the same fate 23-runs later as Plunkett rocked back his off-stump with a ball that nipped back into the right-hander. Samit Patel (51 not out) and Chris Read (13 not out) ensured there were no further alarms as the pair saw the hosts through to the close with a lead of 122.
James Anderson’s three-wicket burst put Somerset on the back foot going into the final as the West Country club followed-on still trailing by 180. Anderson took three-wickets in five balls to blow away the host’s middle order to help to put Lancashire into a winning position going into the final day. Resuming on 14 without loss, Somerset soon lost the experience Marcus Trescothick caught and bowled off the bowling of Kyle Jarvis as the tone was set for the day early on. Indeed, only the impressive James Hildreth threatened to push the hosts past the follow-on target. There were half-centuries for skipper Chris Rogers and Jamie Overton who offered good support to the impress Hildreth who struck a solid 130 which included 15 fours. Their response though was halted in its tracks by an incredible over by England’s Anderson who took three wickets in an over to knock the stuffing out of the Somerset middle-order. He first removed Rogers caught by Brown, before getting both Roelof van der Merwe and Peter Trego leg before in quick succession to leave the hosts 102/5 and staring at a potential follow-on. When Davies (22) and Craig Overton (4) both fell to Simon Kerrigan and Jarvis respectively the hosts really were in all sorts of bother, but Jamie Overton and Hildreth restored some West Country pride sharing 139 for the eighth wicket. New Zealander Neil Wagner removed the pair though to leave the hosts with an over to face from James Anderson. Nightwatchman Tim Groenewald saw the over through though to leave the hosts with a day to bat through in an attempt to secure a positive result.
Draws look likely in the other two fixtures as the runs flowed at both the Ageas Bowl and the Oval.
Jack Burnham struck his maiden First-class century to guide Durham to 543/7 at close of play. The youngster struck 18 fours and two sixes in an impressive knock to ensure that the visitors would avoid defeat in London. The England under 19s international eventually fell to Thomas Curran for 135 but by then he had led his side to 373/5 and past the follow-on target. Scott Borthwick (77), Michael Richardson (68) and Paul Collingwood (75 not out) were also amongst the runs as the Durham batting line-up made the most of the favourable batting conditions. Surrey took wickets throughout the day, but at sporadic intervals, as the game looks set for a draw with the visitors leading by 86 going into the final day.
Meanwhile, Dawid Malan was also amongst the runs as the fixture between Hampshire and Middlesex at the Ageas Bowl heads towards a share of the spoils. After starting the day on 84/3 the overnight batsmen Malan and John Simpson continued to frustrate the hosts sharing 182 for the fourth wicket. Malan struck 20 fours in his 168-ball 121 before his dismissal sparked a mini-collapse for the visitors. He fell to youngster Mason Crane before Ryan McLaren and James Tomlinson joined to act as the visitors lost four wickets for 39-runs. James Harris (57) and Tim Murtagh (39 not out) guided the visitors to a first innings lead and four batting points before Tomlinson (4-74) brought the innings to a close. In reply, Hampshire lost first inning centurion Michael Carberry for 15 early on leg before to Tim Murtagh but Jimmy Adams (16 not out) and James Vince (28 not out) led the hosts to a lead going into day four in Southampton but a positive result either way for both teams looks unlikely.
In Division Two, Kent tightened their grip on their game against Glamorgan despite a record sixth-wicket stand of 215 from Graham Wagg and David Lloyd. When the pair came together it looked as if it was a matter of time before the hosts wrapped up victory but a mixture of patience and aggression led the pair into the record books surpassing the previous best of 206 set by Jim Pressdee and Alun Rees at Maidstone in 1964. The pair, perhaps unsurprising giving the mammoth partnership, both struck centuries to ensure Kent would have a total to chase on the final day. Lloyd (107) struck a maiden First-class century, whilst the evergreen Wagg continued his fine early season form with the bat to make 106. Darren Stevens, who turned 40 on the eve of the game, was the pick of the host’s bowlers finishing the innings on figures of 4-79. Kent closed on 22-0 to go into the final day as firm favourites requiring just 164-runs to win.
Leaders Essex need a miracle on the final day if they are to secure their third Championship victory at New Road. Brett D’Oliveria struck his maiden First-class ton to frustrate the visitors – who need 15 wickets on the fourth day to secure an unlikely win. Resuming the day on 335-2, Essex found the going tough in the opening session of day three, losing three quick wickets to the impressive Joe Leach. Bopara (48), Dan Lawrence (0) and Jesse Ryder (0) all fell in quick succession to the medium pacer to leave the visitors needing late impetus from Ryan ten Doeschate (28) and James Foster (51 not out) to guide the Eagles to maximum batting points. Leach (5-115) also took a stunning one-handed caught and bowled chance to remove England captain Alastair Cook for 142 on his way to his five-wicket bag. The visitors declared though after Lunch but endured a disappointing post-Lunch session going wicketless as the hosts piled on the runs. D’Oliveria and Daryl Mitchell sharing an unbeaten opening stand of 179. Mitchell made 66 before becoming the first to fall, bowled by the impressive Graham Napier who got the ball rolling for the host in the evening session. Ten runs later he removed the dangerous Moeen Ali for just eight caught behind by James Foster. The mini collapse continued as David Masters struck to remove Joe Clarke for two as Essex began to sniff a chance of victory. D’Oliveria though continued and soon followed in the footsteps of grandfather Basil, and father Damien D’Oliveria to make a maiden century, the opener struck 18 fours during his 220-ball stay before finding the hands of Ryder off the bowling of Jamie Porter. The next over saw the final wicket of the day fall with Graham Napier trapping Ross Whiteley leg before for a duck as the hosts closed with the score on 226/5 and a draw looming.
Elsewhere, Leicestershire will hope to take ten-wickets on the final day to have any hope of victory at Hove. Mark Pettini struck a stunning unbeaten 142 to guide the visitors to a mammoth lead in Brighton. Resuming on the third morning on 300-4, Pettini and Niall O’Brien shared 143 for the fifth wicket before O’Brien fell to Steve Magoffin. That sparked a mini-collapse as the visitors lost four-wickets for 10-runs, but the former Essex man Pettini struck some hefty blows to ensure his side had a solid first innings lead. The middle-order batsman struck 13 fours and three sixes on his way to a maiden ton for his new county as the visitors declared on 473/8. After being bowled out for just 163 in the first innings, the Sharks fared far better in their second dig as Ed Joyce (62 not out) and Chris Nash (45 not out) struck an unbroken century stand for the first wicket. The hosts do though still trail by 197 going into the final day looking to avoid defeat to kick-start their season again.
Meanwhile, the fixture between Northants and Derbyshire looks set for a draw after some late resilience from Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt gave the Northamptonshire a decent lead going into the final day. Indeed, Kleinveldt struck a rapid 50 off just 20 balls as the hosts fought back in aggressive fashion. He hit 13 fours and three sixes during his 69-ball stay for 97 to put his side in a solid position going into day four. Ben Duckett was the first to fall in the day as Andy Carter had the opener caught by Wes Durston for 60 after an unbroken century stand had earlier put the hosts into a good position. His fellow opener though continued on the merry way reaching his maiden ton for Northants hitting 13 fours in his 222-ball stay. He, alongside skipper Alex Wakely guided the hosts to 191-1 before Wakely’s dismissal sparked a collapse. The hosts went from 191-1 to 208-5 before Levi and Kleinveldt came to the rescue for Northants. The pair shared an unbroken seventh-wicket stand on 140 to guide the hosts to a lead before Kleinveldt became the final man to fall in the day falling to Anthony Palladino three short of a century. The hosts closed on 438-7 with Levi still there unbeaten on 84, a lead of 114.
Reports by David Bowden
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