5/17/2016 0 Comments
Wickets tumbled on day three as counties looked to grab a stranglehold on their games ahead of the predicted rain showers tomorrow.
Yorkshire lost five wickets for eleven-runs as they collapsed at Taunton to give Somerset a sniff of victory over the reigning champions. Their middle order has so often let them down this season and but for Jonny Bairstow this year, their story could be so much different. And with Bairstow missing, the visitors fell from 226/4 to 237/9 to put them on the brink of following-on in the West Country. Indeed, without the runs of Adam Lyth, they would be in a heck of a lot of trouble. The England hopeful struck 106 which included 12 fours and three sixes to help his side to 309/9 at close still 107-runs away from avoiding the follow-on. Having resumed in the relatively strong position of 127/1, the Tykes lost Will Rhodes after only adding 18 to their overnight total, the promising youngster out hooking a short ball from Peter Trego. Moments later, Lyth reached his ton but just six-runs later the former England man drove Lewis Gregory to Jim Allenby in the covers to leave the White rose on 172/3 and still miles away from Somerset’s first innings effort of 562/7. Skipper Andrew Gale was the next to depart for just eight again finding the grateful hands of Allenby, this time off the bowling of spinner Jack Leach. Jack Leaning and Gary Ballance attempted to wrestle some of the initiative back sharing 37 for the fifth wicket but Leaning’s departure sparked the collapse that put the hosts in the ascendancy. Gregory had Leaning caught behind for 17, and then the experienced Tim Groenewald went to work dislodging a struggling lower order. He removed Ballance (37), Liam Plunkett (4), and Andy Hodd (0) to put the visitors firmly on the back foot. But a battling last wicket stand from Jack Brooks (34 not out) and Steven Patterson (32 not out) frustrated the rampant hosts who will now be hoping the weather holds to give them the best possible chance of victory on the final day.
Wickets tumbled at Trent Bridge to leave the game intriguingly poised going into the final day. Sixteen wickets fell in total, with Notts adding 67 for the loss of three wickets to gain a slender first innings lead of 10 with Brett Hutton completing a half-century in the process. Warwickshire soon knocked off the deficit before losing out-of-form Ian Westwood for one with a lead of just 16 on the board. He became the first of four victims for the returning Luke Fletcher when he edged to Samit Patel. Varun Chopra and Jonathan Trott then steered the Bears into a solid position adding 77-runs for the second wicket before Trott was pinned leg before for 59 off the bowling of Patel. Former captain Chopra looked in good nick as he hit a well-made half-century finding the ropes twelve times in his 115-ball stay at the crease. But when Jackson Bird ran-out Laurie Evans for 4 the visitors collapsed to swing the pendulum once again in this pulsating match. Ten-runs later Bird struck again, this time having Sam Hain caught behind for 9. Chopra eventually fell for 82 as the impressive Fletcher induced an edge to remove the former Essex man as Nottingham began to turn the screw. A further three wickets fell for just 13-runs as Notts suddenly sensed victory, With Fletcher and Patel working in tandem, the runs stopped flowing with Fletcher removing Tim Ambrose leg before for 16, before dismissing first-innings century maker Keith Barker for 6. That left Samit Patel with the task of ripping through the tail, and he delivered to remove Rikki Clarke (0), namesake Jeetan (6) and Chris Wright (20) to leave his side with the task of getting 227 to win. Their reply couldn’t have got off to a worse start losing three wickets in the tricky eight-overs that were left in the day. Steven Mullaney – so often the man the propel the Outlaws out of the blocks fell for a duck in the first over finding the hands of Clark off the bowling of Barker. And with the last ball of the fourth over Barker struck again. The in-form seamer removed Michael Lumb for 8, as the first innings century maker edging through to Varun Chopra in the slips. Looking to avoid any further losses the hosts sent in nightwatchman Fletcher but he could only last four balls before he also edged through to Chopra off Woakes to leave the game delicately poised with the hosts requiring a further 206 to win and the Bears needing seven wickets for victory, but the Nottingham weather could well have the final say in this game with rain forecasted for the final day.
Middlesex took control of their encounter with Surrey at the Oval after forcing their hosts to follow-on. Resuming the day some 261-runs adrift of their London rivals Surrey lost Tom Curran early caught behind off the bowling of James Harris, the dogged Ben Foakes who made a battling half-century alongside Gareth Batty (38) attempted to lead the fight-back sharing 62-runs for the eighth wicket before Batty fell to the off-spin of Ollie Rayner. Rayner continued to impress for the visitors claiming figures of 6-79 when he dismissed the Surrey tail to leave the hosts agonisingly short of the follow-on target despite the best efforts of Foakes who struck just one boundary in his 207-ball stay. It came as no surprise that Middlesex chose to make their hosts bat again in South London, but mercifully for the Oval faithful the ‘Rey made a better fist of it second time around with Rory Burns (57*) and Arun Harinath (37*) guiding the hosts through to 98 without loss at close, still some 55-runs adrift of Middlesex’s first innings effort.
Meanwhile, at Chester-Le-Street, Barry McCarthy took a maiden five-wicket haul to put his side into a strong position against in-form Lancashire going into day four. The Irishman took five of the six Lancashire first innings wickets to fall on day three to take his side through to a first innings lead of 85. He removed Steven Croft (35), Alex Davies (31), Liam Livingstone (4), Tom Bailey (2) and finally nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan (48) became his fifth and final victim as the youngster claimed his first five-fer in only his third match for the county. Scott Borthwick then hit his second century of the game to boost his side’s lead going into the final day. The England hopeful struck an unbeaten 103 including 10 fours to take his side to a lead of 324. He found support from Mark Stoneman (62) and Michael Richardson (35) as the hosts look to grab their first success of the season.
The weather could yet still frustrate Worcestershire further despite being in a dominant position against division rivals Sussex. With heavy rain forecast overnight at New Road, the visitors may well survive despite still trailing by 76 after following-on. Ed Joyce was once again the south-coast club’s hero hitting 74 to halt the Pears charge to victory on day three. Beginning the day on 192/6 and still 299 runs adrift of Worcestershire first innings score of 491, the visitors lost skipper Ben Brown early to fall for 55 off the bowling of Ed Barnard. But Ollie Robinson struck an unbeaten half-century to hold up the hosts before the Sharks were dismissed for 278. Unsurprisingly the Pears asked Sussex to bat again with the deficit at 213. The impressive opening duo of Joyce and Chris Nash soon knocked 54 from that before Jack Shantry bowled Nash for 26. Joyce then dominated a 51-run second wicket stand with Luke Wells who fell for 11 to the bowling of New Zealander Matt Henry. With the day coming to a close the classy Joyce eventually fell for 74 as Barnard added to his three in the first innings to give the Pears a chance of victory on the final day, but with poor weather forecasted the Sharks may well escape with yet another draw.
Cameron Bancroft made a season-high of 70 to help Gloucestershire to a healthy lead going into the final day. The Australian has been struggling for form all season finally found some on what could prove to be his swansong for the county. He struck 10 fours during his 158-ball stay at the crease sharing valuable partnerships with van Buuren (22) and Gareth Roderick (67) before becoming one of four victims for fellow Australian Michael Hogan (4-68). New Zealander Hamish Marshall added a brisk 58 to add some pace into the hosts innings but regular wickets meant the game is still wide open going into day four. The hosts lead by 234-runs and will look to score quickly in the morning before declaring with the aim of taking 10 wickets on the final day.
Essex’s hopes of making it three home wins out of three were dashed after a dogged second innings effort from Derbyshire. With poor weather on the horizon, the Eagles knew that they would need to do the bulk of the work today if they were to continue their perfect start to the season at Chelmsford. They did start well claiming four wickets before lunch with medium pacers Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate doing the damage for the hosts. The former England international claimed career-best figures of 5-49 to ensure the visitors would need to battle if they were going to come away with anything from their time in Essex. Indeed, the Forest gate-born man took wickets at regular intervals to keep the visitors in check and ensure they would need to follow-on. They fared far better second time around though with former Essex man Billy Godleman producing a vital knock of 75 to frustrate his former employers before falling to youngster Aaron Beard. His knock should all but secure a draw for his side with a poor weather forecast for the final day. But Essex will hope and pray for sunshine as they look to tighten their grip on top spot.
Meanwhile, at Wantage road, a draw is the most likely outcome after Northampton battled on Day three to gain a handy lead over Kent. Northants skipper Alex Wakely (87), Adam Rossington (78) and Olly Stone (60) all added vital contributions to take the hosts to a lead of 102 on first innings. They would’ve hoped for early wickets in an attempt to force an unlikely win but they could only manage the single strike. Monty Panesar was the man to bring the wicket bowling Tom Latham for 24 but with the total at 88/1 at stumps with Daniel Bell-Drummond unbeaten on 45 there looks to be only one outcome possible, and that is sadly yet another draw.
Reports by David Bowden (@Bowdenwhu)
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