July 29, 2012

LV= County Championship, Sunday July 29

4.45pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

4.45pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

Sad to say (and sorry to mention the weather), it is you-know-whating at Trent Bridge and heavily. But Sussex were going to take the match into a fourth day in any case, having reached 117 without losing a wicket. In fact it is more than 24 hours since a wicket fell in this match.

Chris Nash and Ed Joyce both have half-centuries, in the case of Nash his seventh in his last 10 Championship innings against Nottinghamshire, of which two have been turned into centuries, one against Notts at Hove in May.

3.35pm: Paul Edwards at Leicestershire v Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s innings has ended in a flurry of wickets, mighty blows and tumbling records. The wickets of Patterson, Harmison and Moin Ashraf were all claimed by Henderson, who finished with four for 126. In the space of the 3.5 overs it took those to fall, Lyth hit a couple of sixes and four boundaries. He was 248 not out at the close and thus became the first Yorkshire batsman to carry his bat since Joe Sayers against Durham in 2007. His own score is the highest by a Yorkshire batsman since Darren Lehmann’s 339 against Durham in the last match of the 2006 season.

Yorkshire were bowled out for 486, a lead of 166. Dark clouds are gathering, though.

3.30pm: George Dobell at Warwickshire v Surrey

Rikki Clarke, in particular, has produced an excellent spell of fast bowling at Edgbaston. On a flat track, he has just taken three wickets for seven runs in 29 balls. Bowling in tandem with Boyd Rankin, who has also worked up an impressive pace, Clarke has made the batsmen hop and duck and has found significant reverse swing.

Clarke struck with the first ball of his spell, inducing a thick edge from Steve Davies that was outrageously well caught by William Porterfield at gully. He followed that with the wicket of Rory Burns, softened up by some short balls and then caught behind flashing at one, before Chris Jordan was forced onto the back foot and then beaten with a fine yorker.

It leaves Surrey seven down and still more than 200 short of forcing Warwickshire to bat again. If the weather holds, it is just about possible the game could be over tonight. We have 49 overs left to bowl and the possibility of an extra eight if required. Sometimes I think the teams give no thought to my social life…

3.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

If Nottinghamshire had mixed feelings about James Taylor's sudden elevation to the Test squad you couldn't blame them. The last time they signed up a promising young lad from Leicestershire he was picked for England before he had even made his county debut and has been scarcely seen since.

That was Stuart Broad, of course. In his five years as a Nottinghamshire player he has made 11 appearances in the Championship, with a maximum in any season of just three. Taylor has so far made 10, although they have at least all been this year. Should he make the starting XI at Headingley and not embarrass himself, it might not be many more.

Sussex are 74-0 from 25 overs, trailing by 275.

3.15pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

It was slightly more than a sharp shower. Indeed, we were off for an hour and 10 minutes, or thereabouts. The good news is that there has been enough of a break in the weather to allow a 3.15pm restart and only 10 overs have been lost. Sussex 59-0. The groundstaff were a bit slow getting the covers on so the next passage might be interesting.

2.50pm: Paul Edwards at Leicestershire v Yorkshire

Adam Lyth has become the first Yorkshireman for 16 days to make a double hundred in the County Championship. A controlled hook off Nathan Buck enabled him to reach the landmark (361 balls, two dozen fours and a six) and this innings has been a noble effort; in fact it’s really been about five innings rolled into one because the pace of Lyth’s innings and his shot selection have undergone subtle changes depending on the state of the game.

Yorkshire are now 451 for seven, a lead of 131. Steve Patterson is on 27 and is looking pretty solid. Henderson bowls on and has just been reverse swept by Lyth who is moving into a more aggressive mode. At what point will a declaration become part of Gale’s strategy? The talk is that a lead of, say, 150 might be enough.

2.20pm: Paul Edwards at Leicestershire v Yorkshire

We are back on here and Yorkshire have lost another wicket, Rafiq fencing at a nasty lifter from White and being caught behind. The admirable Claude Henderson, 40 years-old, economical of run and a good competitor still, is back on at the Pavilion End but he was unable to prevent Steve Patterson earning Yorkshire a full haul of bonus points with a rather bucolic straight heave. Yorkshire 406 for 7.

2.10pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

Sussex have good memories of Trent Bridge, not least because they clinched the 2006 County Championship on the ground, winning by an innings and 245 runs as Mushtaq Ahmed took 9-48 in the second innings to bowl out Nottinghamshire for 150, in the process extending his aggregate for the season to 102 wickets in first-class matches. He is the last bowler to take 100 wickets in a first-class season in England.

They have won twice more here since then but will be lucky to escape a defeat this time, although a heavy shower is using up a little of the remaining time. Sussex are 59-0, with Joyce 31 and Nash 27. They trail by 290.

1.15pm: George Dobell at Warwickshire v Surrey

Early lunch here - from 12.50pm - but it has stopped raining now and the clear-up operation is under way. Fair chance we’ll be back on around 2pm, I’d think. Bright sunshine at present.

12.50pm: Paul Edwards at Leicestershire v Yorkshire

Only 11.3 overs play have been possible at Grace Road where Yorkshire have advanced to 382 for 6 with Adam Lyth still there on 179. A 45-minute break was followed at 12.30 by a seven-ball session which was swiftly terminated by Messrs Gould and Bailey when another shower swept across the ground. Azeem Rafiq has batted stylishly and well for his 23 not out. More showers are forecast for today, although we have not reached the stage when the weather really affects Yorkshire’s strategy. An early lunch has just began – although not, he wrote peevishly, in the press box.

12.45pm: Les Smith at Durham v Middlesex

In the end it was all wrapped up quickly. Durham have beaten Middlesex at Chester-le-Street by 15 runs after taking the last three wickets for four runs in the space of 38 balls. When I last wrote Paul Cillingwood had just brought on Ben Stokes for his first bowl of the innings, and it was Stokes who took 2-8 and mopped up the last two wickets. The Durham players were predictably and understandably ecstatic in their celebrations, their delight born most probably as much of relief at finally breaking their Championship duck, as satisfaction at winning what was, in many ways, an extraordinary match.

12.35pm: George Dobell at Warwickshire v Surrey

We have had only 13.5 overs of play at Edgbaston so far today, but Warwickshire have re-established a grip on this game. They have taken three wickets in that time - two to the admirable Chris Woakes - which leaves Surrey, on 131-4, still requiring another 291 just to avoid the follow-on.

If Surrey lose this they may reflect with some regret on their batting this morning. After Harinath was dismissed by the second ball of the day, Zander de Bruyn played across a straight one and Jason Roy, having spent 12 deliveries trying to get off the mark, allowed his frustration to spill over in driving his 13th straight to mid off.

It is raining hard at Edgbaston now. This is a fast drying ground and the club have, in the last few weeks, installed even more drainage. But it really is raining very hard…

12.30pm: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

James Taylor finished on 163 not out as Nottinghamshire declared at 520-4. They batted on for an hour this morning. Taylor's head must have been buzzing as he came out so in the circumstances his temperament has to be applauded. He added 57 runs to his overnight score without ever looking for a moment that his mind might be elsewhere.

The declaration left Sussex 349 behind with five and a half sessions to bat through to save the game. The pitch has played pretty easily but you suspect the Notts bowlers may offer more of a contest than their Sussex counterparts. Sussex 11-0 after five.

12.05pm: Les Smith at Durham v Middlesex

After an hour it’s still anybody’s game at Chester-le-Street. Two wickets have fallen for the addition of 37 runs. The clouds which banked over the ground in the half hour leading up to the start of play threatened rain and we got some in the middle of the third over. The break lasted only five minutes, though, and the second ball after the resumption saw John Simpson spectacularly caught behind the wicket off Graham Onions. Gareth Berg followed after Middlesex had added 13 runs, Paul Collingwood leaping high to take the catch at slip off Chris Rushworth. Ben Stokes has just replaced Rushworth and Middlesex need 23 to win.

11.40am: Paul Edwards at Leicestershire v Yorkshire

Greetings from Grace Road where Yorkshire have lost their first wicket of the morning, McGrath pushing forward to Hoggard’s first ball of the day and being well taken low down by Smith at slip without adding to his overnight eight. Lyth remains, though, and has moved on to 177. He is now in line to be the first Yorkshireman to carry his bat since Joe Sayers against Durham in 2007 – and tempting fate seems to be the most likely way of getting him out.

11.25am: George Dobell at Warwickshire v Surrey

Good morning from Edgbaston, where Warwickshire struck with the second ball of the day and Surrey will have to battle hard to save the game. Arun Harinath is the man to go, trying to drop his hands on one from Keith Barker, and gloving a catch to Richard Johnson.

Surrey are wearing black armbands this morning as a mark of respect for David Thomas who passed away on Friday aged just 53. Thomas, the Solihull-born left-arm seamer, played for Surrey, Gloucestershire and Natal and was once 12th man for England. He was man of the match in the 1982 Nat West final when Surrey defeated Warwickshire.

11.20am: Jon Culley at Nottinghamshire v Sussex

James Taylor's burning ambition to play Test cricket has been his motivation for some time but it is fair to say he did not expect it to come this week. Only last night he spoke of his need to be patient and score a welter of runs in the First Division, with a view to making his century in this match the first of many for Nottinghamshire.

"My ultimate ambition has always been to play Test cricket and my plan at the start of the season was to try to establish myself here and win games for Nottinghamshire, to keep knocking at the door and hope that when an opportunity did arise with England I would have enough runs behind me that they couldn't not pick me.

"I always expected to score runs because I know I can but it has been good to play against First Division bowling attacks and on difficult wickets. I feel good about the way things are going at the moment."

He'll feel even better this morning, although you wonder whether Geoff Miller's comment about "an opportunity to step up and experience the Test environment" was actually code for: "He's in the squad, but we're actually going to go in with another bowler this time after the hammering we got at The Oval".

10.40am: Les Smith at Durham v Middlesex Good morning from Chester-le-Street, where there is an air of quiet anticipation in the build up to what will be a gripping session, provided that the looming clouds don’t intervene. On the outfield both squads are playing football. For your information, in the Durham match the side in bibs play a patient, accurate passing game, while their opponents are more hasty and direct.

So Middlesex need 60 runs to win with five wickets remaining. This is not the first time that Durham have been involved in a tight finish at home this season, and so far they have failed to convert, most notably on the thrilling last evening of Lancashire’s two wickets win at the beginning of June. By lunch time we should know whether they can at last capture their first championship victory of the season, or whether Middlesex can sustain their hopes of being involved in the tussle for the top.

10.15am Andrew McGlashan sets the scene

The latest round of matches are bubbling up nicely – and, in the case of Chester-le-Street, quite rapidly – with success for batsmen and bowlers around the scene. The tumble of wickets between Durham and Middlesex is balanced against big scores for Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. James Taylor, unbeaten overnight on 106 overnight, will resume knowing he is a few days away from his Test debut after replacing Ravi Bopara. Yesterday there were also hundreds for Jonny Bairstow and Sam Northeast as young English batsmen impress. Long may it continue.

So what do you make of this week’s action. Who is catch your eye and which teams are building momentum for the latter part of the season. Chat away in the comment section below.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo