Hollioake hammers Surrey back into contention
Leicestershire v Essex, Leicester
Only 23.1 overs were possible on the second day at Grace Road, by the end of which Leicestershire had crept to within three runs of Essex's first-innings 188 for the loss of seven wickets. Darren Stevens top-scored with 65, which included 11 fours. The main man with the ball was big Jon Dakin, a former Leicestershire player himself, who took 4 for 54.
Surrey v Warwickshire, The Oval
An hour and a half before the close at The Oval, last year's champions Surrey were up against it, struggling at 121 for 4 in reply to Warwickshire's imposing 413. But then came Adam Hollioake, fresh from receiving a leatherbound Wisden on Tuesday night as one of the famous Five Cricketers of the Year. While Alec Stewart nurdled his way to 27 not out, Hollioake blasted 88 in 87 balls, with 13 fours and a six. Unsurprisingly, he lived rather dangerously - Tony Frost missed a stumping when he had 49, and he was also dropped at 62. Surrey finished the second day at 237 for 4 - still 176 behind but breathing a lot more easily. Earlier Mark Wagh took his overnight 91 to a fluent 136, which included a last-wicket stand of 70 with Alan Richardson (20*).
Sussex v Kent, Hove
Sussex took the upper hand as wickets continued to tumble at Hove. There were 13 yesterday, and 16 more today, as Sussex moved to what should prove a decisive lead of 274 (mind you, we thought that in Sussex's last match, which they ended up losing by three wickets to Middlesex). There was a late flurry at the end of the second day, as Sussex declined from 166 for 4 to 174 for 9, with top-scorer Murray Goodwin falling for 96 to the last ball of the day, one of three victims for the young offspinner James Tredwell. Earlier Kent stumbled to 185 all out - five men passed 20, but the top score was Greg Blewett's 41 - conceding a lead of 94. James Kirtley and Mushtaq Ahmed grabbed three wickets apiece.
Derbyshire v Somerset, Derby
Somerset took control at Derby, powering to a first-innings lead of 207 after amassing 397. Jamie Cox, their former captain, weighed in with 126, with 15 fours, while Marcus Trescothick hinted at a return to form with 69. There were also 58 extras. Dominic Cork worked his way through the middle order, ending up with 5 for 74 from 37 overs, but received precious little support at the other end. Derbyshire started their second-innings brightly, ending the day at 38 for 0 from only six overs.
Durham v Gloucestershire, Chester-le-Street
Durham were struggling to avoid the follow-on by the end of the second day at the Riverside, finishing on 128 for 7 in response to Gloucestershire's 341, which included 65 from Jack Russell, who put on 65 for the last wicket with Mike Smith (17*). Durham were soon in trouble, slumping to 5 for 3 as Gary Pratt and Vince Wells (first ball) both collected ducks. The captain Jon Lewis, with a three-hour 54, and Nicky Peng (37) steadied the ship by adding 75, but two wickets from Mark Alleyne and two more for Smith, who finished with 3 for 32, made it Gloucestershire's day.
Hampshire v Yorkshire, Southampton
Yorkshire took charge at the Rose Bowl, ending up 141 runs ahead after bowling Hampshire out for 175 ... and even that was something of a recovery from 64 for 6. The wickets were shared around, with Steve Kirby returning the best figures of 3 for 19, including the important scalp of Robin Smith for 30. Nic Pothas, who has started the season well, top-scored with 44 not out. Earlier Yorkshire extended their overnight 174 for 7 to 293, mainly thanks to an eighth-wicket partnership of 126 between Michael Lumb, who ended up with an unbeaten 115, and Darren Gough, who spanked 72 from only 97 balls, with eight fours and three sixes.
Worcestershire v Northants, Worcester
Only 32 overs were possible at New Road, during which Northants added 88 for the loss of two wickets to finish up only 40 behind Worcestershire's disappointing 236. Mike Hussey was out for 45, and Jeff Cook made only 2, but Phil Jaques - a left-hander from Brett Lee's home town of Wollongong in New South Wales - romped to 86 not out by the close, with 14 fours and a six, and seems set for a maiden first-class century tomorrow.