Lancashire keep Sussex waiting while Leicestershire are relegated
Frizzell County Championship Division One
Lancashire 368 for 5 v Sussex at Old Trafford
The champagne in the Sussex dressing-room will have to wait for at least one more day as Lancashire and the rain further prolonged their wait for that elusive maiden Championship title. They did at least pick up three wickets, including the centurion Mal Loye, in the 42 overs possible. Loye eventually fell, caught off Robin Martin-Jenkins for 144, after a partnership of 241 with Stuart Law, who then added 56 with Carl Hooper (33). Law batted throughout the truncated day's play and ended with 131 not out, having hit 20 fours. Lancashire closed on 368 for 5 with Mushtaq Ahmed still searching for his 100th wicket of the season, a feat not achieved since Andy Caddick and Courtney Walsh both did it in 1998.
Leicestershire 295 v Kent 23 for 1 at Leicester
In an ominous sign for the England batsmen this autumn, Muttiah Muralitharan added a few more Englishmen to his bagful of wickets this season. Murali polished off Leicestershire's last three wickets for 34 runs on the way to 6 for 51, and at the same time sealed their long-threatened relegation from Division One. Leicestershire's fate was sealed when they failed to take maximum batting points. John Maunders was one of the few to escape Murali's magic, and scored a century to boot. Resuming on 76, Maunders went on to make 129, his second hundred of the season. In Kent's reply, Rob Key was bowled early on by Phillip DeFreitas for 11, leaving David Fulton (7*) and Ed Smith (0*) at the crease when the gloom forced an early finish.
Nottinghamshire 361 v Middlesex 9 for 0 at Lord's
Nottinghamshire's problem all season has been that one good day is followed by a bad one, and it happened again today. Resuming on a strong 316 for 5, they lost their last five batsmen for 44 as Middlesex fought back at a murky Lord's, on a day in which only 28 overs were possible. Jamie Dalrymple (2 for 5) took two of those wickets and Chad Keegan (2 for 105) took the big one of Russell Warren for 123. In their reply, had Middlesex reached 9 for no loss before bad light stopped play.
Essex 249 for 9 v Warwickshire at Chelmsford (Day 1)
The steady old head of John Stephenson showed Essex how much they have missed him this season as he marked his Championship comeback with a rescuing 69 not out to pull his side out of the mire at 73 for 7. Stephenson, 38, put on 106 with Graham Napier, who showed signs of why he was selected for the academy with a sprightly 48 from 65 balls, with eight fours and two sixes. Andy Clarke then carried on the rescue act with 41 from 34 balls to bump Essex up to 249 for 9 before bad light brought an early close. Relief for Essex, but frustration for Warwickshire, who threw away their good early work in which Alan Richardson took 3 for 47 and Corey Collymore 2 for 60.
Frizzell County Championship Division Two
Somerset 409 v Derbyshire 326 for 6 at Taunton
Andrew Gait kept Derbyshire in touch with Somerset's big first-innings score with 110, his fourth first-class century. Gait hammered 17 fours and a six, and put on 185 with Steve Stubbings, who scored 93 in Derbyshire's 326 for 6. But it could have been even better, as Simon Francis hit back for Somerset late in the day. Francis grabbed four wickets for only 12 runs, three of which were catches for Rob Turner, the wicketkeeper, who pouched five in all. Francis finished with 4 for 74. Derbyshire now trail by 83, with four wickets in hand.
Northants 319 and 80 for 2 v Glamorgan 203 at Cardiff
Graeme Swann sliced through the Glamorgan innings with 5 for 37 to put Northants into a strong position. Mark Wallace was out without adding to Glamorgan's overnight total of 20, when he was trapped lbw by Mike Cawdron, who also nipped out the other opener, Jimmy Maher, for 29. Swann then dismissed the two top-scorers, Matthew Maynard (48) and Mike Powell (40), and polished off the tail after Jason Brown chipped in with two wickets. Northants had a lead of 116, but made a wobbly start when Tim Roberts and Phil Jaques were both out with only seven on the board. But Mike Hussey (22*) and David Sales (52*) steadied things up to give Northants a 196-run advantage.
Gloucestershire 374 and 53 for 2 v Durham 218 at Bristol
Ian Fisher and Jonathan Lewis gave Gloucestershire the advantage as they helped to bowl out Durham for a below-par 218. Lewis (3 for 52) started things off by removing his namesake, Jonathan, and Gordon Muchall early on. And despite a stylish 98 from Martin Love, including 20 fours, the Durham batsmen were always on the rack as Fisher reeled in the last five wickets, including Love's. Shoaib Akhtar struck back with the scalps of Craig Spearman (28) and Phil Weston (7), but Gloucestershire still ended the day with a 209-run lead, and with eight wickets left.