April 28, 2012

LV= County Championship, Saturday April 28

6.30pm: Alan Gardner rounds up the action

6.30pm: Alan Gardner rounds up the action

It's been another sodden squib of a day around the country. Other than the games mentioned in the blog, there were just 10 overs played at Hampshire's fixture with Leicestershire (Michael Carberry moved on to 84 not out); both Essex-Northants and Gloucs-Glam suffered further abandonments. Anyway, for what action did take place, you can find reports on our county side. Join us if you dare tomorrow, when we may be reporting on water skiing rather than cricket ...

5pm: George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

We’re off for rain yet again at Taunton. It is bitterly cold now, too.

Hildreth was the last man out, punished for playing slightly across a straight one. Compton, as ever it seems, survives. But this match, like so many others, is heading to a watery grave.

4.10pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire

At 56-1, Notts have a lead of 142 runs at tea on day three and there are 38 overs to go theoretically, although such sky as I can see is universally grey and you don't suspect the light will get better.

The floodlight issue is bound to raise some complaints sooner or later. This ground has none and probably never will have while others who do have them can use them only for a limited number of days, in the interests of neighbouring residents who do not want their front rooms illuminated.

Nottinghamshire, on the other hand, are able to switch on the Trent Bridge lights as and when. Indeed, when Worcestershire were there a couple of weeks ago, they were on for what seemed like half the match.

Stoppages for bad light are a major turn-off for spectators and anything that keeps cricket being played should be applauded - but doesn't a side that is able to play under lights have an unfair advantage over one that cannot?

3.40pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Yorkshire

Play has been abandoned for the remainder of day three at Canterbury after only 53 balls action between Kent and Yorkshire.

Umpires Trevor Jesty and Peter Willey made a cursory inspection before sending the players home just after 3.30pm.

Kent had reached 350 for nine after 105.5 overs, with top-scorer Brendan Nash unbeaten on 132. The hosts lead by 103 runs going into the final day.

3.25pm: George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

We’ve had an excellent session of play here at Taunton with a fine fast bowler tearing in to bowl to a fine batsman.

Glen Chapple, bowling with pace and skill, has troubled Nick Compton substantially. Twice Compton has edged just in front of the slips and once he has inside edged to the boundary just wide of his stumps. He survives, however, and has recently passed 700 first-class runs in the season. Chapple proved too good for Gregory and Suppiah.

If you had come to the ground today not knowing which of these two batsmen - Hildreth or Compton - was on the edge of the England team, you would think it was Hildreth. He may not look as solid as his partner, but he does time the ball unusually sweetly.

It says something about Compton’s batting that, a few overs into his innings, the conversation turned to owl inflation. The price of owls, it seems, has come down in recent years. It is amazing what you learn in a county press box.

2.55pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire

Worcestershire were all out for 157, which is a good few more than looked likely at 66-6 on Friday evening. Their largest first innings total so far, in fact.

The 18-year-old Aneesh Kapil lifted them out of trouble with a stylish 41 before Richard Jones chipped in a useful 21. Andre Adams finished with five for 62, his first five-for of the season. He had seven last year and four the year before.

Four wickets too for Harry Gurney, the brisk left-armer who moved from Leicestershire over the winter and who kept Paul Franks out of this match. He might be putting pressure on Luke Fletcher in Nottinghamshire's next match, against Lancashire at Old Trafford on Wednesday, when Stuart Broad will be available, as well as Graeme Swann.

Notts' second innings is under way and they are 14 without loss. Worcestershire are handicapped by the absence of fast bowler Alan Richardson, who has a niggly side strain but should be fit to have a pop at Andrew Strauss when Worcestershire go to Lord's, starting on Thursday.

2.30pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Yorkshire

The players are still off for rain at Canterbury and the chances of a re-start look gloomy to say the least.

Having reached 350 for nine after 105.5 overs, Kent’s top-scorer Brendan Nash sprinted for the cover of the dressing rooms when the rain arrived at 12.40pm.

By then, Nash had reached an unbeaten 132 and had taken Kent to a fourth batting bonus point and on to a valuable lead of 103 runs.

Kent lost three wickets in the 40 minutes play that were possible. James Tredwell (37) nicked one to second slip then Matt Coles, who scored his maiden championship ton against the Tykes at the start of the season, edged Tim Bresnan’s next delivery to keeper Jonny Bairstow.

Mark Davies survived Bresnan’s hat-trick ball, only to be bowled in Adil Rashid’s next over.

Nash and last man Charlie Shreck batted on in bad light to add a further 16 runs before the heavens opened.

1.50pm: Alan Gardner at Surrey v Durham

Having just spoken to Ben Stokes, I don't think he's ready for political office yet - too broad an accent, for a start. Doesn't look as if he's been anywhere near Eton, either. The winning nomination BTL so far goes to whoever suggested Rob Key - though as they're anonymous, they can't claim their prize (praise from fellow commenters for their wit). Perhaps Ian Bell could replace Jeremy Hunt in the current cabinet? After all, he knows what it's like to be in an Australian's pocket too ...

1.20pm: George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

It took only nine balls for Somerset to finish off Lancashire: Simon Kerrigan caught in the gully to give Vernon Philander a five-wicket haul. It is his second in three Championship games for them.

Lancashire will also be happy, though. They had just claimed their fifth batting bonus point.

1.10pm: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire

The temperature indicator on the front of the Graeme Hick pavilion is showing nine degrees, which may be an exaggeration. Yet there actually a reasonable crowd. Okay, 'crowd' might also be an exaggeration but there are at least people in the ground. The D'Oliveira Stand peaked at 24 yesterday. Double that today. No ice cream van, though. He's missing a trick.

Notts, meanwhile, have missed their target of forcing Worcestershire to follow on, which was really the only real hope of there being a result if the forecast of meteorological armageddon tomorrow proves correct.

Worcs have lost two wickets but only since a partnership of 39 between James Cameron and young Aneesh Kapil took the total beyond the 94 required to avoid. Harry Gurney, the ex-Leicestershire left-armer, has taken the two wickets to fall but 18-year-old Kapil, who looks like he could be a genuine all-rounder, has just dispatched Gurney to the off side boundary with a cracking shot.

Lunch: Worcs 120-8 (57). Kapil is 32 not out.

1.05pm George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

The cows have stood up and it seems play will start at 1.10pm. We will then have, weather permitting, two 40 over sessions. It is very cold.

I’ve just had a ‘plated meal’ - Somerset’s words - in the old pavilion. An unplated meal might have been messy.

12.50pm: Mark Pennell at Kent v Yorkshire

The floodlights are on, but the players are now off the field in Canterbury where Kent have extended their first innings lead to a valuable 103 runs. The hosts reached 350 for 9 after 106 overs when the rain started, their impressive total thanks mainly to left-hander Brendan Nash who is still there, unbeaten with 132.

Having resumed their first inning at noon on 316 for 6, Kent lost three wickets for two runs in the early exchanges of day three. England tourist James Tredwell was first to go for a patient 37 for his part in a seventh wicket stand worth 98 with Nash. Fencing on the back foot at a Tim Bresnan delivery, and with the total on triple Nelson, Tredwell edged to second slip where Phil Jacques held a stinging chance on a chilly morning.

Next ball Matt Coles, who scored his maiden Championship ton in the reverse fixture at Headingley earlier in April, nibbled outside off to feather one to Jonny Bairstow, the wicketkeeper. Mark Davies survived Bresnan’s hat-trick ball, but in the next over he went back to a turning delivery from Adil Rashid that went past the outside edge to clip the top of off stump.

Nash was still not done, however, and he and last man Charlie Shreck gamely batted on in bad light to add Kent’s fourth batting bonus point before sprinting off for an early lunch.

12.15pm: Alan Gardner at Surrey v Durham

The umpires have taken an early call at The Oval, with play already abandoned for the day. It's still raining and more is expected. The latest from Sussex is that it's also raining there too, with little prospect of play today - or so my Spidey sense tells me. I have a mental image of David Hopps, in a speeding getaway car, already heading for the M23. The needle, I'm afraid, is stuck.

11.45am: George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

The Met Office, by the way, say it is not raining in Taunton now. They’re wrong.

11.40am: George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

It’s still raining at Taunton. All the covers are on now and there is little prospect of play before lunch. I’m told the Met Office spend millions on the latest satellite technology, but really: have we progressed at all from the days when people used to make assumptions on the weather based upon how cows sat down? I think not. In fact I think we should take far more notice of cow posture.

11.25am: Jon Culley at Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire

It has been a dank, drizzly morning here but play is to start at 11.30am if the umps are happy with the light.

Were this game being staged at Trent Bridge the light would not be an issue, of course, because the Nottingham ground has floodlights and can use them as and when they see fit.

11.15am: Mark Pennell at Kent v Yorkshire

When Brendan Nash left St Lawrence last night with 113 to his name and with Kent firmly in command the sun was shining from a blue sky. All was well with his world.

Yet when the West Indies batsman arrived back at Kent’s Canterbury headquarters to resume his innings against Yorkshire this morning the scene could barely have been more different. The entire square and run-ups were under sheets, as were the practice wickets, while prospects for further play looked distinctly poor.

Umpires Peter Willey and Trevor Jesty held a cursory inspection at 11am and decided to look again just before noon when all the covers have been removed. The groundstaff duly started the mopping up process, but further rain is forecast.

11am: Alan Gardner at Surrey v Durham

The weather here remains more Durham than Kennington (though perhaps that’s doing a disservice to the north-east, where it is reportedly a whole lot brighter) – the covers are on and rain continues to gust across the ground. Umpires Mark Benson and Martin Bodenham were due to make an inspection around now, but another squall has kept them off the pitch. This is looking more and more like being The Oval’s first washout since 2007, though Durham fans looking for omens may be interested to hear that Surrey’s non-playing opponents on that occasion were Sussex, who went on to win their third title in five seasons that year – something Durham could emulate in 2012.

Anyway, on the subject of cricketers who would improve our political life, surely it’s time for IT Botham to show Imran Khan who really is the world’s foremost allrounder by becoming leader of the Tory party?

10.40am George Dobell at Somerset v Lancashire

Morning from Taunton.

It’s grey, damp and cold here, but the rain has stopped and there is a fair chance that we will play quite soon. Bad light will probably be the main issue.

I have a theory about playing in the wet and dark: feedback welcome. How about the rule is changed to something like this: if conditions are such that you would allow your children to play on the outfield, the cricketers should play on the pitch? The word ‘dangerous’ is bandied around as, generally, when people talk about ‘dangerous conditions’ they are talking about the danger of running around on soft grass. It’s what footballers do all the time.

Anyway, the players of both sides are warming up without any trouble.

Rumour has it, by the way, that Marcus Trescothick’s ankle injury was originally sustained last year during a game of football before play.

10.00am: Scenesetter

So Sachin Tendulkar has been nominated as an MP in India's Upper House, a development that brings all manner of intriguing possibilities. Will Sachin, so private an individual during his much feted playing career, now reveal a deep political philosophy?

But that is not the question that troubles County Cricket Live. Which English county professional would most liven up our own political life? And why? We are not looking for serious political beliefs as much as somebody who might make politics a little different to get us through these bleak economic times. The topic may get us through the showers.

As ever, we have the best county reports around. All can be found on our County Championship 2012 page.

Now you must excuse me while I put my umbrella up.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo