May 18, 2012

LV= County Championship, Friday May 18

7.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the action

7.30pm: Alan Gardner wraps up the action

Derbyshire have completed their third win of the season, beating bottom side Glamorgan in three days at the County Ground in Derby to extend their lead in Division Two. Rain affected several games on Friday, with Kent still batting in their first innings against Northamptonshire and Sussex halted on 143 for 0 as they attempted to extend their lead over Worcestershire. For all today's reports, head over to our County Championship site and join us for more live updates tomorrow.

5.10pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Well, it’s not very bright and they re-started when there was a bit of drizzle in the air, but we’re still playing. And, once again, it is hard work for Somerset with Lewis and Meaker asking difficult questions.

Kieswetter had played well to reach 43 and looked at the pitch a bit suspiciously after a leading edge, against Meaker, just carried to mid-off. But Peter Trego was simply too late on an attempted pull against the same bowler and succeeded only in toe-ending a catch to the same fielder, Rory Hamilton-Brown.

At least, from a Somerset point of view, Compton was still there, and in the 40s. But 130 for five meant their lead was a good but not untouchable 254.

5pm: Alex Winter around the grounds

Rain at New Road, to the great frustration of the visitors because they have a big lead and want to work towards a declaration, Worcestershire’s time to survive is being reduced.

Playing at Derby where the hosts are looking good for another victory. Glamorgan conceded a lead of over 100 on first innings but even without that their second innings effort of just 188 is nowhere near good enough. Marcus North who’s arrived as their new overseas player made 79 and 21. Derbyshire need but 69 to return to the top of Division Two.

At Canterbury, Kent are going to save the follow on which will make a result in that game difficult. Northants will probably ask Kent to bat out the final afternoon. And Leicestershire just need to be sure they don’t collapse against Essex who surpassed the hosts' first innings score. A couple of quick wickets for Essex could set them up well for tomorrow.

4.20pm: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Hampshire

Regular visitors to Headingley over the years have become accustomed to witnessing certain things at the ground, which are all part of its own charm. There is the book stall behind the back of the Western Terrace and the rugby ground backing onto the far end of the ground.

It would also be strange to visit without seeing Anthony McGrath in the Yorkshire line-up. He has been such a stalwart of the club since making his debut in 1995 it would almost be inconceivable that he was not part of the first team.

Now aged 36, he may not have many more years left, but he has shown his value by scoring an important 57 to help Yorkshire save the follow on in difficult conditions, so there may still be life in him yet.

4.00pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Bit of rain here unfortunately and they’ve taken tea one over early. We’ve been treated to a terrific session of tough, top quality cricket with Surrey fighting their way back into the game, Nick Compton battling to survive and then Somerset, through Compton and Craig Kieswetter, re-establishing their superiority.

The visitors are now 111 for three, that’s a lead of 235. The odds must be in favour of a draw but we could have a really good day’s entertainment tomorrow if the weather plays ball.

3.40pm: Links, links, links! Click, click, click!

Kenny Shovel has been blogging (no one can stop him) and he’s back with a word or 600 on overseas players and the role of the modern Kolpak. Here’s a sample:

But I also remember Sunday afternoons spent watching cricket on TV with my grandfather. And there I witnessed one of the true highlights of the 1970’s - the heyday of the county cricket overseas player. The proper overseas pro, I mean. The mutton chop sporting, chain smoking, barmaid chasing, wake up with a hangover in the penguin enclosure at Flamingo Land but still manage to put in a match winning performance, global superstar. I miss those guys. They rampaged through the county circuit like white flannel-wearing Velociraptors.

Speaking of which, Richard Levi may well stomp like a Brontosaurus all over the FLt20 later this summer, after being signed up by Somerset.

3.30pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

It is a telling sign that the light is not good when the figures on the digitally remastered Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard suddenly appear to be brighter than before, which is the case at the moment, for the first time in the match.

The figures don't look too bright from the Lancashire dressing room, it has to be said. They were dismissed for 197 in the first innings and, following on, are 36-1. They need another 324 to make Warwickshire bat again, which somehow does not seem particularly likely.

There is still a nasty chill to the wind, which is testing even the hardier Brummies in attendance. I encountered one in the lift earlier who had braved a couple of hours on the third tier of the new pavilion. "It's no good," he said. "It's just too cold for me." He had given it a chance, though.

Extraordinarily, the weather forecast for early next week, in London at any rate, suggests it might be 22 degrees on Tuesday but I remain sceptical. The Daily Express said it would be nothing of the sort the other day and who am I to disbelieve them?

2.50pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Well, de Bruyn bowled four tight overs and arguably laid the foundations, in partnership with Jon Lewis, for a highly disciplined bowling effort. It was Meaker, though, who put Surrey right back into this contest with two wickets in the space of 10 balls.

Extra bounce on off stump did for Alex Barrow, then first innings century-maker James Hildreth looked to be done for pace as much as anything – edging a catch behind.

With Lewis having got rid of Arul Suppiah, Somerset were 30 for three – an overall lead of 154 – and even run machine Nick Compton was hanging on for dear life. Game on.

2.30pm: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Hampshire

There is considerable frustration within the Headingley press box at England’s solid start to this Test, not through any lack of patriotism but because of their desire to watch their own Jonny Bairstow make his mark on his Test debut.

One regular member of the Yorkshire media has been confidently proclaiming Bairstow as the best young player he has seen since Kevin Pietersen, in which case the Lord’s crowd are in for a treat when he does finally arrive at the crease.

Despite the distraction of the television coverage from Lord’s, the action from the middle has become interesting with four wickets falling either side of lunch, leaving Yorkshire facing a potentially tense battle to avoid the follow on and are still 41 runs short of making Hampshire bat again with seven wickets down.

2.00pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

Ah, this may get the Surrey faithful (and the Surrey-baiters, for that matter) onto their soap boxes. Not for the first time this season, and despite their embarrassment of riches in the fast bowling department, the Brown Caps have chucked the new ball to Zander de Bruyn.

They certainly did the same against Worcestershire at The Oval last month with De Bruyn coming on before Meaker, Dernbach and Jordan. No Dernbach in this game but even so...

Somerset, 124 runs to the good, have added 18 to that first innings advantage.

1pm: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Lancashire have limped through to lunch at 145-7, defying predictions that their second innings would be under way by now. This is largely due to the efforts of Ashwell Prince, with his fourth half-century in nine Championship innings since he rejoined Lancashire. Glen Chapple, despite the discomfort of a side strain, has battled through 36 deliveries to be seven not out.

This is four more than Ajmal Shahzad had faced when he was out for 13. It was a somewhat typical innings by the exiled - or rather, banished -- Yorkshireman, who cannot seem to contain his natural exuberance for long, even when the situation demands something different.

He was out hitting Jeetan Patel, the off-spinner, over the top. He almost got away with it, but Jim Troughton, having done well to get under it at long-on, caught the ball at the third attempt. Then again, Shahzad might have gone without scoring, offering a sharp chance to gully off Chris Woakes.

Only two wickets lost is a small victory for Lancashire, given that they were 54-5 last night. Prince, who is 61, may have been less lucky than was first supposed, with a doubt over whether the chance he appeared to give to Chopra at first slip last night -- before he had got off the mark -- did actually carry.

12.55pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

It is quite possible Somerset, with their young and inexperienced attack, would have declined to enforce the follow-on. Well, we’ll never know for absolutely certain because, despite a scare, Surrey snuck past the key figure with a wicket to spare.

They looked up against it when Tom Maynard was ninth out with the total 356 and seven runs still required. Kept quiet for longer than he would have liked, Maynard missed out on a deserved century by chipping what appeared to be a slower ball from Peter Trego to mid-wicket.

Maynard departed for 89. But Jon Lewis is a mighty good No 10 in anyone’s team and, with Geroge Edwards keeping him company, the follow-on threat was brushed away quite comfortably.

11.40am: Myles Hodgson at Yorkshire v Hampshire

There can be few more intimidating sights, particularly in the second division, than watching Phil Jacques and Gary Ballance batting in tandem for Yorkshire. They have already demonstrated how well they bat together, adding 203 at Bristol last week to help Yorkshire chase down 400 for victory.

They have performed an equally important role in this current match. Coming together at 32 for three, they have now completed a century partnership in difficult, cloudy conditions but not without enjoying their share of luck.

Ballance, the Zimbabwe-born batsman now qualified for England, has been fortunate to survive on on two occasions already this morning after Yorkshire resumed still 178 runs away from avoiding the follow on. He edged the first ball of the morning from Chris Wood through the slips and then slashed the same bowler just over the slip cordon two overs later.

12noon: Jon Culley at Warwickshire v Lancashire

Ashley Giles appears to have imbued his Warwickshire players with such a positive mindset that the disappointment of losing out to Lancashire on the final day of the 2011 Championship did not dent their self-belief at all.

"We tried everything we could, played some strong, honest, good cricket and that's all we could have done," all-rounder Rikki Clarke said. "We've come back strong this season and continued in the same way."

One of the secrets is that the points table is regarded as an irrelevance until the season is finished. "I know it is a cliché but we never look at the league table," he added. "You just take each match, each session as it comes and see where we are at the end of the season."

The best advice to Lancashire today was not to look at the scoreboard, which last night showed them 54-5 in reply to Warwickshire's 557-6 declared, needing 408 merely not to be sent straight back out to bat a second time.

It worked for the first 40 minutes but then Gareth Cross failed to commit fully to a pull shot as Chris Woakes dropped one in short and was caught at short mid-wicket. His partnership with Ashwell Prince had added 45 but of course, in the circumstances, it was not nearly enough.

It gave Woakes his third wicket with his third ball of the day, after replacing Keith Barker at the Birmingham End. Lancs are at least into three figures -- 108-6 now after 40 overs. Just another 300 required.

11.45: David Lloyd at Surrey v Somerset

It doesn’t matter where cricket is played – from village green to Test arena – there is always someone ready to halt play by moving behind the arm. Goodness, even Andy Flower, England’s team director, managed to wander into the firing line at Northampton last week when the Lions were taking on West Indies.

We’ve had plenty of unnecessary delays during this match and there were several more of them during the early stages this morning. Tom Maynard may have found the answer, though.

Fed up with waving and gesticulating, Maynard decided to send a blunter message – by driving George Dockrell for a straight six. Hopefully that will persuade people to keep clear.

That handsome blow also helped Surrey to move a significant step nearer to their first target: the follow-on mark. They needed to reach 363 to remove the threat of being asked to bat again, and were going well until the second new ball was taken.

As happened yesterday, it was debut-maker Jamie Overton rather than Vernon Philander who made the breakthrough. The youngster’s third ball of the day looked a little leg side but was straight enough for umpire Trevor Jesty to uphold the lbw appeal against Gareth Batty.

Maynard and Batty had added 92 for the seventh wicket but Surrey were still 44 runs light.

George Dobell sets the scene

Thursday was another tough day for Lancashire. Still without a win this season, they face an uphill fight to avoid the follow-on against an impressive - and young - Warwickshire attack at Edgbaston. Fears that Lancashire could become the latest side to suffer relegation the year after winning the championship are growing by the day.

Elsewhere Tom Maynard and Steve Davies kept Surrey’s heads above water against Somerset, though Maynard still has some work to do to prevent Surrey being forced to follow-on for the second game in succession.

There was a tough return to action for Simon Jones as Derbyshire’s batsmen prospered, while Moeen Ali kept Worcestershire in their game against Sussex.

One other thing to note today: Eoin Morgan makes his return to red ball cricket today. He is playing for Middlesex second XI at Richmond.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo