Neil Wagner inspired Lancashire again as the Red rose close on victory in Division One, whilst Leicestershire look set to begin their new regime with a victory over Glamorgan in Division Two.
Lancashire took complete control of their Specsavers County Championship Division One clash against Nottinghamshire. Continuing the day on 311/8, Lancashire added just 22 runs to their overnight total being dismissed for 332 with Jake Ball collecting his fourth wicket of the innings by trapping Livingstone leg before for 70. Samit Patel finished off the innings by having Kyle Jarvis caught by Steven Mullaney for a well-made 37. That left the hosts with a 90 run lead on first innings; the Red Rose then took total control of the match with the ball. Neil Wagner stole the show once again collecting his second five-wicket haul of the match to claim match-figures off 11-111 to complete a dream debut and bowl his team into a winning position. He, alongside James Anderson (3-29) ensured the hosts would be only chasing 86 on the final day. Only Greg Smith (41) added any real contribution to the visitors’ second effort with the bat, as Nottinghamshire endured a nightmare second innings as they were dismissed for just 175. England fans will be relieved to hear that Anderson found his form at Old Trafford; he produced an economical spell to keep the visitors in check. He bowled nine maidens in his 23 overs taking three wickets at an economy of just 1.27 runs an over. But it was Wagner who will take all the plaudits as he destroyed the Nottinghamshire batting line-up for the second time, blowing away the tail including three quick wickets to really break the back of the lower order. It leaves Lancashire requiring just 86 on Wednesday as they bid to collect their first win of the season on their return to Division One.
Hampshire battled back bravely against reigning Champions Yorkshire to all but secure a draw for the injury-ravaged side. Hampshire lost bowlers Reece Topley, Chris Wood and Liam Dawson to injury and will now hope to secure a share of the spoils tomorrow. Continuing in a spot of bother on 141/5, the visitors produced a remarkable comeback to silence the Yorkshire crowd. Firstly, James Vince went through to a well-deserved century to send a nudge to the England selectors, he had dominated the South-Coast county score at the time as he went through to his hundred with the score at 174/5. When he departed though with the score on 203/6, his side was still staring at the follow-on full in the face. He fell leg before for 119 off the bowling of Steven Patterson. That brought wicket keeper Adam Wheater to the crease to join Sean Ervine and the pair continued the recovery sharing another vital partnership as Hampshire dug their heels in against a very talented bowling attack. The pair added 143 for the seventh wicket with a mixture of aggression and patience proving vital during their stay. Both reached milestones, with Wheater making a half-century before failing to Patterson caught by Ballance for 62. Ervine, meanwhile, reached a stunning century hitting 14 fours and a six in his 123 to help lead the visitors towards the 400 mark. He fell with the score on 391, edging Ryan Sidebottom through to wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow, but by then he had more than played his part in an unexpected Hampshire recovery. Ryan McLaren and Chris Wood (who by now was playing with an injury) continued where Wheater and Ervine left off. The duo added 59 for the ninth wicket with McLaren (55 not out) collecting his second half-century of the season. Hampshire go into the final day still trailing by 143, closing the day on 450/8.
Jonathan Trott reminded everyone of his skills as he returned to form with a timely unbeaten 219 for Warwickshire as the visitors fought back on day three. Resuming on 146/4, the Bears knew they would have to bat long into the day if they were going to manage a lead on first innings. The early losses of Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke for six and two respectively dealt them a blow in that pursuit, but that only brought Keith Barker to the middle. Alongside Trott, Barker whacked his way to a vital 81, which included 8 fours and a six as he shared 143 with the former England man. Trott reached his century in equally aggressive fashion hitting 15 fours during his 158-ball century, but the South African-born batsman wasn’t done there. He continued to bat with the tail as he bid to put his side in control of the match. Trott found support from Jeetan Patel and Oliver Hannon-Dalby (both 30) as he raced to a double century from 274-balls including 29 fours to lead his side to a small advantage on first innings. With a lead of 16 in the bag, Keith Barker continued to work his magic; he took two quick wickets to leave the game in limbo going into the final day as the hosts closed with a lead of 60.
New-look Leicestershire are closing on victory as they enjoyed a good day in Wales. The visitors started the day on 297/6 at Sophia Gardens, and man-of-the-moment Clint McKay added some vital late runs for the Midlands club as he struck 12 fours in his 65 to give his side a lead of 79 on first innings. He then went to work with the new-ball in his hand collecting two early wickets to set the tone for the day, he first had James Kettleborough caught behind and then two balls later he removed Will Bragg for a duck. It was just the start that Leicestershire needed as the hosts were then in effect minus 63-2. When Chris Cooke fell to Ben Raine for eight the visitors smelt victory inside three days. But a crucial fifty from Aneurin Donald put paid to those dreams as he steadied the ship for the hosts. A late clatter of wickets though for the visitors ensured that they enter the final day as firm favourites. Raine’s late wickets took him to figures of 3-48 to be the pick of the bowlers for the Foxes, but they will need to take the two final wickets early in the morning to really be in the driving seat. The hosts lead by 93 after closing day three on 172/8.
On a day where the pendulum swung one way then the next, Sussex are in control at Hove despite a good fight back from Essex in the evening session. The visitors continued the day on 252/7 and in deep trouble, but skipper Ryan ten-Doeschate and veteran Graham Napier – who’s enjoying his swansong at Essex wrestled back some initiative. The pair dragged Essex back into contention adding a vital 89 runs for the 9th wicket. Captain Ten-Doeschate reached a well-earned half-century before becoming the first victim of a topsy-turvy day in the Sussex sun. The Dutchman edged Ollie Robinson to slip to fall for 51. Napier kept swinging in the hope he could stick around with Jamie Porter for long enough to give Essex a first innings lead, but when Napier departed for 45 that dream disappeared for the visitors. Indeed, Porter and last man Matt Dixon could only add a further run to the total when Dixon was trapped leg before wicket by spinner Danny Briggs. His dismissal brought an end to the Essex innings to leave the Eagles 40 in arrears. Napier and Porter shared a far better partnership with the ball though as the pair went in search for wickets. The Essex stalwart struck first, as the all-rounder bowled Ed Joyce for 10. Sussex then went on the charge as Matt Machan and Chris Nash added 97 for the second wicket before Napier struck again having the Scottish international caught behind for 47. Ross Taylor came to the crease and added some more quick runs before the New Zealander was well caught by Westley off Jamie Porter for 22 to leave the hosts on 165-3. In truth, though, that was as good as it got for the Eagles post-lunch. They did though enjoy a far better evening session as they ripped through the middle-order to give the visitors hope going into the final day. A frantic final session of day three saw the momentum swing Essex’s way as Napier and Porter shared six wickets between them. Firstly, young Porter trapped Luke Wells leg before for 11, he then added Ben Brown to his tally by also pinning him in front for 8 as the Eagles got on a run of taking wickets. Nash was the next to fall, after making another impressive score; he fell for 92 to Graham Napier who trapped the opener LBW. Porter continued to steam in and collected a deserved fourth wicket bowling Ollie Robinson for 19. Sussex had gone from 199/3 to 231/7 in double quick time as the Eagles got on a roll. That soon became 242/9 as Napier struck twice in quick succession to grab his first five-wicket bag of the summer. The visitors, though, tiring by now, were left frustrated by a dogged final stand by Steve Magoffin and Ajmal Shahzad, the pair reached close after putting 40 on to give Sussex the edge going into the final day, they lead by 322.
Meanwhile, in Bristol, a draw looks the likely outcome as Chris Dent and Liam Norwell went run crazy for Gloucestershire. Norwell, who continued after being put as nightwatchman the night before supported Dent magnificently as the pair shared 168 for the second wicket. Dent was the first through to a century as he reached his hundred off 154 balls striking 14 fours and a six in the process. It was then Norwell’s time to raise the bat as he reached a maiden century off 120 balls. But his fairytale innings came to a close when Chesney Hughes bowled him for 102. Ian Cockbain, who had waited for an unexpectantly long time for a knock didn’t last long making just nineteen before becoming Luke Fletcher’s first victim in a Derbyshire shirt. Skipper Gareth Roderick came and went for five bowled by Andy Carter. Chris Dent finally found an ally in Hamish Marshall, who offered Dent support as the opener went past 150. Marshall struck a half-century in the meantime before Dent fell for 180, Hughes the partnership breaker again trapping him leg before. Keiran Noema-Barnett joined Marshall in the middle and also struck a fifty which included 3 fours and 3 sixes. Marshall eventually went for 72 caught off the bowling of Wes Durston, but by then he had taken the hosts to a lead. And that lead only grew and grew when Noema-Barnett (58), Jack Taylor (18) and Benny Howell (41) found the boundary at ease. The Bristol based club were eventually all out for 563, a lead of 119 going into the final day.
Reports by David Bowden (Bowdenwhu)
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