June 8, 2012

LV= County Championship, Friday June 8

7pm: Alex Winter closes proceedings

7pm: Alex Winter closes proceedings

Rain and more rain was the story in many places. A draw was called early at Grace Road and play abandoned at both Colwyn Bay and Northampton. They did manage to bowl a few overs at Tunbridge Wells where Liam Dawson scored a hundred.

There was also an early close at Durham where a draw ensued against Warwickshire. But more play elsewhere in the top flight where Middlesex came very close to beating Somerset at Lord's. Nick Compton stood firm for the visitors but needed Pete Trego's 50 and a later innings from Alfie Thomas to take Somerset to the close.

A day to go at Horsham where Surrey will have to bat a long time to save the game. Luke Wells gave another demonstration of his talent as Sussex rallied in the lower order - including 31 for Monty Panesar - to build up a big lead. No real chance of a result at Trent Bridge though unless innings are sacrificed.

See you tomorrow then where there could still be some excitement and we might get some play in the Test too. All the reports for your reading on our county homepage, enjoy the evening's football...

5.35pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

There have been 12 overs and five balls since the ground dried out enough for play but there have been two interruptions, which can only be for some kind of light issue, although the floodlights are on.

The worrying development from a Nottinghamshire point of view has been an injury to leading wicket-taker Andre Adams, who turned his right ankle as he attempted to bowl his fifth ball of the day and limped off immediately he was able to get back to his feet.

Notts don't believe it is too serious, happily, and will reassess in the morning. Meanwhile, Kyle Hogg and Simon Kerrigan, Lancashire's last wicket pair, have surprised everyone by not only claiming a third Lancashire batting point but scoring 21 towards a fourth. Their stand is worth 70 so far.

5.30pm: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Middlesex

There's something about last-wicket stands that's always funny. James Anyon and Monty Panesar certainly had a laugh, slapping an 80 between them in 15 overs. At one point Monty stuck a foot down and swung Murali Kartik high over the long-on boundary for six. All the crowd applauded but less expectedly, so did the bowler.

The late flurry came after a very patient 127 from Luke Wells. It took him 277 deliveries to compile and spanned three days. Last year though, playing on this ground for Brighton and Hove club, he hit 11 fours and 2 sixes in a 40-ball 65. So he has the shots, just chooses when to play them. Surrey's youthful top-order could take note as they begin facing a 227-run deficit.

5.20pm Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

It’s London bus time at The Nevill where Kent, having waited nigh on two days for a wicket, have now taken two in three overs as Hampshire stumble on to 150 for five in a first innings dogged by rain breaks. Simon Katich padded up to a James Tredwell arm ball to go for 54 then, nine runs on, Sean Ervine fell without scoring when he dragged the ball onto his own off stump when attempting to drive Matt Coles. With his dander up, Coles has just dropped one short against Michael Bates to smash the side of the diminutive right-hander’s helmet. Another lengthy delay ensued as Bates changed his headgear.

3.50pm Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

Don’t say it too loudly for fear of upsetting the weather gods but, the covers are off, they’re rolling the pitch and we’re scheduled to start play at The Nevill at 4pm. For those of you who may well have forgotten, and I couldn't blame you for so doing, Hampshire are 90 for three in their first innings. We will have 40 overs in the final session should the light allow it.

3.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

The fifth inspection of the day will take place at 3.45pm, presumably with a decision on when play will begin, assuming it does not rain again, which can by no means be guaranteed. The groundstaff have been worried not so much about the wet as the gale blowing across the ground. Great for drying the turf but not so good if you're grappling with unruly plastic sheets, which could end up in Radcliffe on Trent if it the wind gets under them.

3.00pm: Dan Brettig at Middlesex v Somerset

Occasional bursts of sunshine through the gloom at Lord's and Middlesex are making a serious play for outright points over Somerset.

The visitors have lost four wickets before reaching 100, James Hildreth and Craig Kieswetter the most recent casualties, with plenty of overs left in the day.

Nick Compton is attempting to hold things together for Somerset, but both he and Jos Butler have survived chances in recent overs, flashing outside off stump only for Middlesex to spurn chances to gully and second slip.

2.50pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

There is every intention of a start at Trent Bridge, where there will be a fourth inspection at 3.15pm during a tea interval brought forward to 3.10pm. Forecast is for more showers but no threat of anything terminal, apparently. Could be here for some time.

2.30pm: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Surrey

Conditions at Horsham feel pretty hostile. The weather hasn't claimed an over of cricket, but has blown the players' gazebo over and away and sent an advertising hoarding scuttling out onto the infield.

Batting, however, has seemed quite the breeze for Sussex. Luke Wells has advanced patiently to his second century against Surrey this season. Comparing single innings' against different attacks on different wickets is unfair but he's handled Murali Kartik and Garth Batty's spin more certainly than James Taylor dealt with Monty Panesar and Chris Nash a couple of weeks ago.

1.55pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

There is another inspection due in five minutes yet all the covers remain in place and the groundstaff, while sweeping water off the ones protecting the bowlers' run-ups, are not doing so with anything that resembles urgency or enthusiasm. Still plenty of dark clouds although they are being blown by a strong wind.

The forecast for tomorrow is much better so this match is certainly not over. How the sides approach what's left of it remains to be seen. The abandonment at Chester-le-Street, denying Warwickshire the possibility of a win, will have a bearing on Nottinghamshire's thinking. Gambling on a result might look less attractive than a few batting points.

1.45pm Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

Tunbridge Wells may yet witness some cricketing action on this, the third day of a rain-ruined LV= County Championship between Kent and Hampshire. Officials Steve Gale and Richard Illingworth re-inspected at 1.40pm and reported that conditions had vastly improved, but with the bowlers’ run-ups remaining spongy underfoot, both men felt the areas needed a little more time to dry out. Meanwhile, with strong winds sweeping the field, the ground staff are struggling to get the sheets off the square. Indeed, three of them were just bowled over onto their backsides when a strong gust lifted the sheet.

12.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

Lunch is being taken at Trent Bridge with another inspection planned thereafter, although not if it is raining, which it is now. Heavily.

The good news is that the water authorities have decided that, on balance, we probably don't have a drought.

12.00pm: Dan Brettig at Middlesex v Somerset

Overnight and morning rain has cleared slowly at Lord's and play is set for a 12.15pm start on the final day between Middlesex and Somerset.

Middlesex have declared on their overnight 364 for 3, a lead of 191 over Somerset after the visitors caved in for 173 in their first innings.

The skies remain grey and the weather uninviting, leaving Middlesex's captain Chris Rogers and his bowlers to hope that the pitch has gathered some moisture during its extended spell under the covers.

11.20am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Lancashire

Although it is unlikely to grow much, Lancashire believe they might have posted a competitive score already after advancing to 272-9 in the 21 overs possible yesterday. They believe Glen Chapple, Ajmal Shahzad, Kyle Hogg and Luke Procter offer them a chance of following up their first win of the season with a second in conditions that so far have encouraged swing.

The only problem is that conditions here today are encouraging the players only to keep the dressing room windows firmly closed and the heating turned up. The sky is filled in, the rain is coming down sideways.

11am Mark Pennell at Kent v Hampshire

After more heavy overnight rain the outfield at Tunbridge Wells has soaked up just about as much water as it can. The umpires held an extensive inspection of the Railway End of the ground and have decided there will be no play before lunch. They plan a further inspection at 1.40pm.

At least the near gale-force winds that have arrived at the royal spa town might help dry things up but, with Hampshire on 90 for three in the first innings of the match, the prospects of any type of a result, let alone some entertainment, appear slight.

With both counties harbouring hopes for promotion, it would appear the final day of the game will simple boil down to a tussle for bonus points.

11.00am: Sahil Dutta at Sussex v Surrey

On the closing stages of the first day Chris Nash, who'd played fluently for 38, sliced the third delivery of Murali Kartik's fourth over to point. It was, in the circumstances, a particularly thoughtless dismissal. More importantly, though, it brought Kartik's 600th first-class dismissal. Quite an achievement. Just 24 of those came for India, he was behind first Anil Kumble and then Harbhajan Singh in India's plans. Given how last summer went for India, he could probably count himself unlucky not to have added to his eight Tests.

Anyway, he is now with his fourth county, having had spells at Lancashire, Middlesex and Somerset before joining Surrey this season. Not sure he'll enjoy conditions this morning mind, it's incredibly blustery. Remarkably, though, we're starting on time.

10.30am: Alex Winter checks the radar

Morning. Bit of the wet stuff around again I'm afraid, little prospect of much play in many places today, which is a shame because we have some tantalisingly poised matches, none more so than Durham's 227 lead on Warwickshire - will Durham have time to try and force their first win of the season?

Middlesex have already won a couple of times this season and they are all over Somerset but will they be denied the opportunity to pick up another victory by the weather? The other two Division One matches didn't get very far yesterday although there was time for Sussex to lose four wickets in six overs at Horsham - three of them to Stuart Meaker.

In Division Two Derbyshire and Leicestershire will draw, much to the chagrin of the table-toppers. There was no play at Colwyn Bay yesterday and only a handful of overs at both Northampton, where Ravi Bopara went past a half-century, and Tunbridge Wells.

All the action on our county homepage and perhaps we need to descend into prayer and fast to entice the sunshine back to the Isles...

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo