August 2, 2012

LV= County Championship, Thursday August 2

5.30pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

5.30pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

It wasn't just some more overs lost but all of the overs scheduled for the remainder of the day after that teatime downpour. Only 57.4 overs possible in total, at the end of which Northants are 175-3. Yorkshire have lost practically half their season to weather. If they do go up, it will be some tribute to their efficient use of available time.

4.45pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

The players are taking tea but it has been bucketing down at Wantage Road during the break and it would be a surprise if there were no more overs lost. Already 11 have been trimmed from the schedule. A strong wind is making it hard work for the groundstaff, grappling with the big sheets.

Stephen Peters and Rob Newton have made it hard work for the Yorkshire bowlers, who need someone who can make things happen. For all that he is erratic, Stephen Harmison at least has the ability to produce a killer ball once in a while. The return of Ryan Sidebottom, who has been practising here and is due to play a second team match next week, cannot come soon enough.

The Northants pair have added 69 so far for the fourth wicket. Adil Rashid has not added to his one wicket but has been consistently accurate as well as asking some questions. He has conceded only one boundary in nine overs so far. Azeem Rafiq has been expensive by comparison, particularly in his last spell before the break, which cost 26 runs from four overs.

4.23pm: Ivo Tennant at Sussex v Worcestershire

Ed Joyce sticks his bottom out like Graeme Pollock, drives as elegantly as David Gower and defends as watchfully as John Edrich. Which is not to say he is as good as any of those three distinguished left handers. Yet why did he never play Test cricket? Is his fellow Irishman Eoin Morgan really a better player? Joyce has just reached the 28th century of his career in a contest in which virtually every other batsman has struggled.

4.20pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset

It has been a remarkable reversal of fortunes for Simon Kerrigan in the last 12 months with Lancashire. Just over a year ago he was battling to try and gain a place in Lancashire’s first team as they competed to secure their first outright championship in 77 years.

After finally being given his chance, he claimed 24 wickets in only four championship matches, often bowling in tandem with senior spinner Gary Keedy. Nearly a year on, he is now the first choice spinner at the age of just 23 and his dismissal of Nick Compton in the afternoon session was his hundredth first class victim in his 31st match.

As spinners are generally regarded, like good wine, to mature with age, it is no wonder he has already attracted England’s attention and was selected for the performance programme last winter, while he is in the squad for the Lions match against Australia A at Old Trafford next week. He followed the Compton dismissal by having Craig Kieswetter caught at backward point, with England selector James Whitaker in the crowd. Ivo Tennant at Sussex v Worcestershire

Did you know that Ed Joyce is the son of James Joyce? It is true, he is, even if we are not talking of the most famous of all James Joyces. What is also true is that there is no going back to playing for England if the call were to come again. Ed is committed to Ireland. He is 34 next month and, as he approaches a century in this match, looks a class above every other batsman. And much easier on the eye than that other familiar left hander, Graeme Smith.

2.35pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

Adil Rashid, once envisaged as English cricket's answer to Shane Warne, has seldom known such lean times. The leg-spinner remains a joy to watch at his best but his form has always tended to ebb and flow and Yorkshire supporters have not been allowed much sight of him lately. The summer of 2008, when he took 65 first-class wickets, seems a long time ago.

Last year he took 11 wickets in the opening match at Worcester but only 28 all season subsequently and how finds himself playing second fiddle to Azeem Rafiq amongst Yorkshire's slow bowlers. But having been recalled for his first Championship match for two months he has justified his inclusion by earning the first breakthrough of the afternoon as Alex Wakely, on the back foot, edged to second slip.

Rashid will have to do very well from now for this not to be his worst season. This was only his ninth wicket. But if he can find some confidence he may rise again and in that regard every success counts. They are off for rain at the moment. Northants are 109-3 with Stephen Peters 49 not out.

1.15pm: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

It seemed for a while that Northamptonshire's session might match South Africa's at Headingley but Yorkshire have clawed their way back into the contest and a couple of early wickets this afternoon will put the home county under pressure.

The session belonged to Northamptonshire but it was tarnished slightly when David Sales was out in the penultimate over of the morning, edging Rich Pyrah to second slip, where Adam Lyth took a tumbling catch. And Pyrah didn't kick the stumps as he bowled so the wicket stood.

It is breezy and cloudy but the sun pokes through from time to time and the Gallone's van is doing steady trade. Northants 90-2.

1.15pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset

Cricket, like many sports, can be a cruel game when misfortune strikes and around about now, as Marcus Trescothick sits down for lunch, he must be wondering what he has done to deserve such ill luck.

Ruled out for three months earlier this summer with ankle ligament damage, he must have believed his luck had changed after taking two slip catches to enable Somerset to dismiss Lancashire for 185 just before lunch on the second day.

But, given a tricky 20 minutes to bat before the interval in his first championship innings since April 13, he lasted only 14 balls before getting a leading edge to a typically-challenging ball from Glen Chapple and Stephen Moore took a superb diving catch in the gully. Those hours he must have spent waiting and visualising his return had been for nothing. Let’s hope the Aigburth caterers were kind and served up something he liked for lunch.

12.40pm: Ivo Tennant at Sussex v Worcestershire

Ed Joyce, having been appointed captain of Sussex, has been at the crease all morning, following winning the toss, making the correct decision to field and supervising the dismissal of Worcestershire for 162 on the first day. Maybe captaincy will give his career the boost his talent deserves. Perhaps Essex should appoint Ravi Bopara to lead them? Meanwhile, that wise old owl Les Lenham has come to the ground on the 60th anniversary of his first day as a Sussex cricketer. He cannot quite compete, though, with Claude Lewis, who had 60 unbroken years with Kent as left arm spinner, coach and scorer.

12.05pm: Myles Hodgson at Lancashire v Somerset If the opening day at Aigburth belonged to Peter Trego for his superb haul of four for 34, Alfonso Thomas has claimed the early billing from the Pavilion End by claiming three for 16 in only 30 balls. Not for the first time this summer, Lancashire are struggling to make a competitive total.

Having claimed the key wicket of Steven Croft last night, Thomas followed up by winning an lbw decision against Gareth Cross with the ninth ball of the day, while Kyle Hogg mis-cued an attempted force off the back foot to Nick Compton at backward point.

Perhaps the pick of his wickets, however, was the dismissal of Glen Chapple, Lancashire’s captain. Pushing at a fuller ball, which may have been a clever slower delivery, Chapple could only chip to point.

While Lancashire have lost wickets regularly at one end, Andrea Agathangelou has looked impressive at the other on his championship debut. A South African-born batsman with Cypriot heritage, he was brought over to England on a Lancashire scholarship two years ago and has impressed by scoring regular runs for the seconds.

He has looked the part this morning, getting off the mark with a cover drive off Trego for four off the 21st ball he faced and has since shown his growing confidence by pulling Kirby for another boundary. Lancashire will need plenty more of those after reaching 171 for eight.

11.35am: Jon Culley at Northamptonshire v Yorkshire

By their own admission, apart from the partnership between Phil Jaques and Andrew Gale Yorkshire did not bat well yesterday, yet 249 might yet turn out to be a decent score. Jaques, who spent a year batting on these wickets in 2003, believes this one will get increasingly 'up-and-down' as the contest progresses.

"It was a bit two paced and that will only increase," he said. “Maybe it will get a bit lower and slower but some are bouncing up as well. I think we have batted on the best of the wicket."

No sign yet of many problems for Northamptonshire, whose reply has advanced to 38-0 in the 10th over.

10.45am: Ivo Tennant at Sussex v Worcestershire

There is increasing speculation at Hove over the declaration by Robin Marlar, the distinguished former captain and chairman of Sussex, headhunter and Sunday Times correspondent, not to set foot inside the ground again. He has not been seen all season, and, even though he spends much of the year in retirement in France, like his friend Ted Dexter, was in England earlier this summer. Marlar did not take kindly to the decision by the club last year to downplay the standing of Arthur Gilligan, another former captain, when the stand named after him was rebuilt. Instead, a sponsor was given far greater prominence.

It is alleged that Gilligan’s links, pre-war, to Oswald Mosley and the Far Right, were behind this. Marlar also had a spat with Rupert Webb, the former Sussex wicketkeeper turned actor, whom he accused in an article for Wisden of dropping a catch which cost the club a first championship title. Whatever his pronouncements, Marlar is never dull and the committee balcony at Hove is all the poorer without his presence.

9.30am: Alan Gardner with the morning post

Hello and welcome back to the county blog. There may be more glamorous places to spend your time on the internet but, like a faithful retriever, county cricket live will always be snuffling around your ankles, ready for a stroke when you're willing.

Yesterday saw a few mild surprises, as Division One leaders Warwickshire didn't have it all their own way at Uxbridge and Yorkshire stumbled after a solid start against Division Two middle-rankers Northamptonshire (on Yorkie Day too). There was also - shock - a century opening stand for Essex. More familiar was the sight of the Lancashire, Worcestershire and Glamorgan batsmen all struggling.

You can find all of yesterday's match report on our county homepage - including news of Rory Hamilton-Brown's return to action for Surrey - and then pitch in below the line with your comments. Remember, county cricket needs you.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo