5/22/2016 0 Comments
After the fireworks of the t20 Blast, County pros up and down the country donned their whites to return to first class action.
At the Home of Cricket, Chris Rogers came back to Lords to haunt his former club as the Australian struck an unbeaten century for his new county Somerset to put his side into a promising position going into day two. Rogers, who spent three years at Lords with Middlesex, hit nine fours during his 207-ball stay as the West Country boys enjoyed the better of the opening day. After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the visitors lost Marcus Trescothick early. The former England opener was pinned in front by Toby Roland-Jones to fall for 8, his dismissal brought the Aussie to the middle, and the Middlesex faithful cheered Rogers onto the field, and he thrived at a ground he knows so very well. He played fluently throughout and collected a deserved century just before the game was brought to a premature end due to poor light. Middlesex’s form bowler Roland-Jones earlier claimed the only other wicket to fall in the day having young Tom Abell caught behind for 41. Abell’s departure brought another in-form man to the crease, James Hildreth, fresh from a big hundred last week he continued to impress sharing an unbroken 125-run stand with his skipper to end on an unbeaten 60 as the visitors closed on 219/2 and in firm control.
Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, Lancashire continued their fine early season form to take complete control against Surrey. Kyle Jarvis took figures of 6-70 to be the pick of the bowlers for the hosts, who ripped through a fragile Surrey batting line-up. Jarvis took the key wicket of Kumar Sangakkara to spark a collapse of epic proportions falling from 20/1 to 114/7 with the Zimbabwean collecting four six wickets on the spin. After removing the Sri Lankan for a duck, he dismissed Steven Davies (0), Jason Roy (2), Ben Foakes (13), James Burke (31) and Thomas Curran (10) to leave Surrey in all sorts of bother. At the other end watching the carnage fall in front of his very eyes was the impressive Rory Burns struck a vital 92 to rescue some pride back for the sorry visitors. The opener found a brief foil with skipper Gareth Batty (21), the pair shared 68 to take the Londoner towards 200. But when Batty fell to New Zealander Neil Wagner the visitors soon fell away. Wagner struck again two-balls later to bowl South African-born Matthew Pillans before the impressive Kiwi struck to dismiss the dogged Burns to bring the innings to a close on 191. That left the hosts with a tricky looking twelve-overs to see out, Curran steamed in alongside Pillans but Tom Smith and Haseeb Hameed comfortably saw through the remaining overs before close to go into day two in the ascendancy on 16/0.
Young Scottish opener Andrew Umeed struck a century on his debut for Warwickshire before Durham fought back manfully to leave the game in the balance. Umeed, who stepped in for the out-of-form Ian Westwood made the most of his chance to hit eleven fours to reach a maiden first-class ton at the first time of asking. He initially shared a century stand with the experienced Varun Chopra as the Bears dominated the morning session. The former Essex opener fell just after lunch though for 71 when he was trapped leg before by James Weighell to leave the hosts on 120/1. Umeed wasn’t to be stopped though and made his century as wickets fell around him. After sharing 75 with his Scottish partner, Ian Bell hit Brydon Carse to the hands of Scott Borthwick to fall for 38. Bell’s departure signalled a collapse of sorts as the Bears fell from 195/2 to 259/8. Weighell and Carse doing to the bulk of the damage, the young duo combined to bowl the visitors back into the game. Carse removed Jonathan Trott cheaply with the former England man edging behind to Michael Richardson. It was then Weighell’s time to shine removing Sam Hain (4), Tim Ambrose (6) and Chris Woakes (4) in quick succession. In between those clatter of wickets Umeed reached his ton but promptly fell soon after hooking to Barry McCarthy off Graham Onions to fall for a well-made 101. Keith Barker (10) was the last man to fall in the day as Carse collected his third of the day, a day that could have been fantastic for the Bear given their dominant early start turned into a mere good day as Durham fought back strongly to leave the hosts on 273/8.
Elsewhere, at a rain-affected Ageas Bowl, it is honours even between Nottingham and Hampshire. On 57-overs were available as Southampton rain made the opening day rather stop-start. In the play, the hearty Hampshire souls saw Hampshire recovered from the sticky position of 60/3 to close on 149/4. Jimmy Adams and Michael Carberry led the hosts into a promising position at 45 without after their visitors inserted them. Jake Ball, fresh from his brief stint training with England soon removed Carberry though as Dan Christian took a tumbling catch to remove the former England opener for 19. The big moment of the match so far came 15-runs later though as Luke Fletcher struck twice quickly to leave the hosts in trouble on 60/3. The stalwart first removed Jimmy Adams as the seamer took a return catch to remove the opener for 30, the very next ball Fletcher was off celebrating again as he pinned Liam Dawson in front for a golden duck. Sean Ervine survived the hat-trick ball and briefly led the recovery alongside Will Smith before he lost Smith to Ball after sharing 24 with his skipper. But the Zimbabwean found a partner in Tom Alsop and the duo ensured that Smith’s departure would be the last in the day. The pair shared an unbroken stand of 65 to guide the hosts through to 149/4 at the close of play.
In Division two, Graham Napier collected a five-wicket haul to put leaders Essex in control in Cardiff. The veteran enjoying his swansong for the Eagles collected figures of 5-82 to help the visitors to bowl out their Welsh counterparts for 260 after electing to bowl first. After a wicket-less opening burst from Jamie Porter and David Masters skipper Ryan ten Doeschate turned to the Colchester-born man in the search of wickets. Immediately Napier caused problems for the Glamorgan batsmen, he wrapped Jacques Rudolph on the knuckle to force the South African off the field. Soon after he struck to take the first wicket properly as Will Bragg airily drove the 36-year-old to Ravi Bopara at point. That was to be the Eagles only strike before lunch though as Mark Wallace and Chris Cooke took Glamorgan through to lunch. Immediately after lunch though Napier was off celebrating again after inducing an edge from Wallace (27) to give James Foster a comfortable catch. Masters got in on the act soon after trapping the returning Rudolph leg before wicket for 27 as Essex began to turn the screw in Cardiff. And the hosts really were in trouble when the evergreen Masters knocked back Aneurin Donald’s off-stump to leave the Welshmen on 125/4. In amongst the carnage, Chris Cooke continued to play fluently reaching his half-century hitting eight-fours in the process. But he was the next to fall as Jamie Porter produced a rising delivery to find the edge of his bat to give Westley a sharp catch at second slip. The procession of wickets continued to fall when Bopara trapped David Lloyd for 15 to leave the hosts wobbling on 156/5. That soon became 164/7 when the experienced Graham Wagg had his leg-stump rocked back by a peach of a Yorker from Napier. Mercifully though for the SWALEC faithful, the Welshmen fought back to frustrate the rampant Eagles. Craig Meschede and Andrew Salter shared 79 for the eighth-wicket to guide the hosts to respectability and to their first batting point. Porter returned though to remove Meschede who wafted outside his off-stump to give a simple catch to Foster behind the sticks. Napier then finished the hosts off, he first trapped Timm van der Gugten LBW for four before rocking back Michael Hogan’s off-stump to finish with a deserved five-wicket bag. That left Essex with 18-overs to face before close and they lost Nick Browne early, the opener pinned in front for three by the experienced Graham Wagg, but in difficult conditions Tom Westley and Jaik Mickleburgh saw the Eagles go into day two just one down, ending day one on 29/1.
Elsewhere, second-placed Kent were left frustrated by a dogged Derbyshire middle-order to leave the visitors behind the eight-ball. Despite a flying start from Kent that left the hosts on 35/3, they failed to make the most of their dominant start as Derbyshire recovered to close on top. Matt Cole’s produced a wonderful spell to rip through the top-three of Derbyshire, he removed Chesney Hughes (0), Billy Godleman (3) and Hamish Rutherford (5) to put Kent on top early on. Wayne Madsen and Neil Broom rode to the rescue though for the hosts sharing 161 for the fourth-wicket to lead Derbyshire back into contention. Madsen struck a brilliant century hitting fourteen fours during his 170-ball stay at the crease when he fell with the score on 194. The former skipper hit Tredwell down the throat of Adam Ball to fall for 103. Shiv Thakor joined Broom and the duo continued the Derbyshire recovery, the pair shared 85 runs before New Zealand-born Broom fell an agonising four short of what would’ve been a deserved century, Adam Ball pinned the 32-year-old in front to leave the hosts on 281/5. Thakor took the mantle and dominated the Kent attack striking twelve boundary fours on his way a career-best unbeaten 86. Alongside Tom Taylor (39 not out) the pair saw the hosts through to 381/7 at the close.
Elsewhere, there were three half-centurions at Grace Road in a rain-affected clash in Leicester. After being invited to bat first by Worcestershire, the hosts got off to a dream start with the reliable Paul Horton making yet another half-century for his adopted county. Angus Robson who also struck a half-century during the pairs opening stand of 141 supported Horton ably. Charlie Morris struck though to grab a vital breakthrough for the visitors as Robson edged behind to fall soon after reaching his 50. Shortly after Horton fell, the former Lancashire man departed eleven short of his ton when he was trapped in front by New Zealander Matt Henry. The mini-collapse continued when Henry struck again to remove Leicestershire skipper Mark Cosgrove for 4. But newcomers Neil Dexter and Mark Pettini led the recovery to lead the hosts to 243/4 when Dexter fell leg before to Jack Shantry for 50. But Pettini and Niall O’Brien saw the innings through to the close and picked up a second batting bonus point in the process. The Foxes closed on 253/4 with Pettini five short of becoming the fourth Leicestershire man to reach a half-century.
Lastly, the rain-reduced opening day at Bristol saw Gloucestershire take the early initiative against Northampton. Only 40-overs were possible on Day one as overnight rain and drizzle during the morning forced the players to sit on the sidelines for a lengthy period. When they did enter the outfield, though, the hosts bowling attack wasted little time in restricting the visitors to a below-par score. Josh Shaw and Craig Miles were the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as the visitors collapsed to 134/7 at the close. Shaw removed the dangerous Ben Duckett (11), Rob Newton (18), Richard Levi (23) and Seekkuge Prasanna (9) to finish with figures of 4-38 to bowl his side into a commanding position. Miles meanwhile, removed Northants skipper Alex Wakely for four, before taking the scalp of Rob Keogh for 5. They will now hope to wrap the visitors innings up sharpish on the second morning and push for victory.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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