Strauss and Bell find form
Mark Chilton's first Championship century of the season guided a strong Lancashire reply to Kent's 327 at Old Trafford. Chilton played his own, unhurried brand of cricket, content to wait for the bowlers to come to him. Paul Horton, who is facing a crucial year of his career at Lancashire, joined him in a century stand for the fifth wicket to push their team close to a first-innings lead. Sajid Mahmood played his part in wrapping up Kent's innings, claiming two wickets in the morning session.
Following a tough winter with England, Matt Prior swung Sussex's clash with Yorkshire their way with a superb century. From staring at a likely deficit, Sussex climbed their way to a useful lead of 29. Prior engineered most of the recovery, after Matthew Hoggard had struck early, but he was also indebted to support from Robin Martin-Jenkins and Jason Lewry. Hoggard conceded barely two-an-over as he enjoyed a solid workout ahead of the first Test. Yorkshire were creaking at the close, having already lost Matthew Wood and Jason Gillespie.
Warwickshire's seamers put in another team performance before Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott built a commanding position against Nottinghamshire. Heath Streak and Dougie Brown struck with the new ball as Notts slipped to 36 for 6, with Ian Bell also chipping in. David Alleyne fought back with a half-century but Brown and James Anyon wrapped up the innings and a lead of 91. After Andy Harris struck back, Bell and Trott cemented Warwickshire's strong position with a stand of 148.
Essex youngster Tony Palladino took five wickets for nine runs in 31 balls as Leicestershire collapsed from their overnight 392 for 5 to 417 all out. Palladino was rewarded for finding a fuller length after the Essex bowlers had been punished on day one for repeatedly pitching too short. Essex's top order was then decimated by David Masters and Mohammad Asif as the home side slumped to 29 for 4 in reply. Asif deceived Grant Flower and Mark Pettini with in-swingers before returning later to again wreak havoc. Tim Phillips and Graham Napier put up most resistance in a stand of 78 for the eighth-wicket but part-time spinner Dinesh Mongia broke the stand when Phillips flicked to John Maunders at short-leg. They lost Mark Pettini in their follow-on and are still well behind.
Anything Marcus Trescothick can do, Lance Klusener can do better. Klusener's unbeaten 147 powered Northants to a lead of 191 against Somerset and Bilal Shafayat continued his run-filled start to the season with 101. Klusener's average for the summer now stands at 335. Dan Cullen bagged five wickets on his Somerset debut, but it was a tough day in the field. Trescothick couldn't repeat his first-innings performance as he fell before the close
A tight contest is brewing up at Cardiff after Mark Cosgrove launched his Championship career in style for Glamorgan with a run-a-ball century. However, Derbyshire stayed in touch with some vital wickets through Ant Botha and Stefan Jones. Cosgrove gave another example of his much talked of talent, threading 23 fours and a six and adding 106 with Michael Powell, who fell late in the day after reaching his own century, in slightly more sedate fashion.