Jack Leaning and Jack Brooks dodged the rain to put the White Rose in control of the Rose Match at Old Trafford. On another rain-affected day in Manchester Leaning struck a vital unbeaten century to lead Yorkshire into a strong position at the mid-way point of the match. The youngster struck seven fours and two sixes on his way to 118 not out at the close as the visitors continued to pile on the runs in between the rain showers. Brooks who struck a quick-fire 94 to take the Tykes passed 400 ably supported Leaning. The left-arm seamer struck four massive sixes and seven boundary fours in his unbeaten stay of 135-balls thus far. Lancashire will be disappointed at the half-way point after initially being in control early on day one when they had their rivals in trouble on 90/3, but the injury to England’s James Anderson has left them a bowler short and the White Rose lower order has capitalized on that to close on 421/7, with Andrew Hodd the only man to fall on a frustrating second day for the hosts.
Meanwhile, in the Divisions other local rival game at Lords, Middlesex enjoyed a dominant second day to turn the game in their favour. Having started Day two on 268/5 with the dangerous Kumar Sangakkara at the crease Surrey would’ve hoped to be booking in for bed and breakfast at the crease, but any hopes of that were dashed when the Sri Lankan fell early on having added just one to his overnight score. The impressive Kiwi James Franklin the man to remove Sangakkara for 114 as he edged into the safe hands of Ollie Rayner at third slip. Moments later the Middlesex captain was celebrating his second scalp of the morning removing Sam Curran for just two as the Rayner/Franklin double act struck again. Sam’s brother Tom Curran was the next to fall as the wickets continued to tumble at the Home of Cricket as Rayner’s slip catching ability was tested for the third time and to nobodies surprise inside Lord’s he snaffled it up to give Toby Roland-Jones his first wicket of the match. Gareth Batty and Stuart Meaker guided the visitors to a third batting bonus point and passed 300 but when Steve Finn took a good catch to remove the Surrey skipper for 12 off the bowling of Tom Helm the innings soon curtailed pretty quickly with Meaker falling soon after too, Helm again the man with the wicket. The meant that Surrey had collapsed from 268/5 to 313 all out. Nick Compton and Nick Gubbins guided the hosts through to lunch but soon after Gubbins was back in the hutch for good as he was pinned LBW by Sam Curran to fall for 17, it was soon 50/2 as Compton – who is desperate for a decent score fell for 19 edging Mark Footitt to Ben Foakes behind the stumps. Stevie Eskinazi and Dawid Malan led the host’s fight back though sharing exactly one hundred runs for the third wicket. Eskinazi played in stylish fashion on his way to his half-century reaching the rope regularly, before he became the third Middlesex man to return to the pavilion as Footitt/Foakes combined again to remove the youngster for 67. Malan still looked good at the crease though and was starting to dominate the strike as the new men struggled to settle in the face of some good bowling from Footitt and Meaker. Adam Voges (9) and John Simpson (11) both fell cheaply, but Malan finally found another partner in skipper Franklin – who continued to enjoy a good match. He made an entertaining half-century as the pair hurried the hosts towards the visitors’ score of 313. The hard-hitting New Zealander struck nine fours and two sixes to close on 63 not out, but the moment of the day belonged to Malan who reached a well deserved century just before the close striking 15 fours in 177-ball stay thus far. The hosts closed on 296/5 just 19-runs behind Surrey going into the third day.
Essex fought back superbly in the evening session to turn the game on its head at Chelmsford after the day had initially belonged to the visitors. Starting the day just two wickets down the Eagles lost wickets regularly as Hampshire enjoyed more luck with the ball on the second day. Resuming the day on 243/2 the hosts lost Dan Lawrence and Alastair Cook early as Kyle Abbott proved what a handful he is again to give just rewards for his efforts. He first removed Lawrence who was trapped in front when playing across a ball, and after playing and missing at a few Cook (124) finally fished at one too many of Abbott and nicked off Lewis McManus behind the stumps. Adam Wheater’s wretched form with the bat continued when he became the next to fall for just seven leg before to Gareth Berg. Ravi Bopara and Ryan ten Doeschate attempted to get the innings back on track and the duo shared 51 for the sixth wicket. Bopara though soon fell after the extended lunch interval, Abbott nipped one back to the former England man who shouldered arms only to see his stumps disturbed by the South Africans inswinger. Just five runs later the big South African had his fifth wicket again tickling the stumps to remove the Essex skipper ten Doeschate for 37. Rain then delayed the encounter with Simon Harmer and Neil Wagner at the crease, but when the players returned Harmer soon fell as he was wrapped on the pads by Berg and he saw the umpired finger raised to return to the pavilion for just 3. Two Kiwis then combined to briefly frustrate the visitors in difficult conditions as Wagner and Matthew Quinn shared 16 for the ninth wicket before spin did for the pair to wrap the innings up with Essex on 360. Then a miraculous post Tea session put Essex well and truly on the front foot as Jamie Porter, Bopara and Quinn ripped through the Hampshire top order. Indeed at one stage, the South Coast club found themselves teetering on 18/5 after a blistering start with the new ball for the Eagles. What makes that 18/5 even more remarkable is the fact the opening pair put on 18 before Porter found the edge of Liam Dawson’s bat to find the gloves of Wheater. Four further wickets then fell without a run added as Essex ran up a mockery. Porter bowled James Vince for a duck; Michael Carberry was pinned in front by Quinn for 5, the Kiwi then removed the dangerous Rilee Rossouw first ball when he chipped to Wagner and Bailey also fell for a duck in a wonderful spell for the Eagles as Porter picked up his third. Sean Ervine and Berg briefly led the recovery adding 14 runs only for the pair to both fall in quick succession to Bopara to leave the visitors in deep trouble on 34/7. The impressive Abbott though alongside McManus combined to save a little bit of face as the duo reached close without further loss adding 58-runs for the eighth wicket. What will concern the visitors is the fitness of Fidel Edwards who is due in next to bat, he left the game with a suspected muscle injury so the visitors may only have one wicket left in the hutch with a deficit of 268-runs still looming large.
Finally, in Division one, rain ruled at Taunton on Day two of Somerset’s encounter with Warwickshire. Only 37-balls were possible on Saturday as the poor weather had the final say, but in those six and a bit overs, there was time for former England man Jonathan Trott to add another half-century to his collection as the Bears added 31-runs on the second day closing on 124/3.
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