Timely boost for Panesar and Mahmood
Sajid Mahmood celebrated his probable England call-up with 4 for 24 to put Lancashire on course for a six-wicket victory over Kent at Old Trafford. Lancashire's last seven wickets added only 70 this morning, but if they were disappointed to take a first-innings lead of only 37, they were soon in better spirits as Kent were skittled for 124 - Gary Keedy took 4 for 44, while Geraint Jones made 60, almost half his team's total - leaving them needing 89 to win.
At Hove, Naved-ul-Hasan took 7 for 62 (11 for 148 in the match) to bowl Yorkshire out for 221 and set Sussex a target of 193. Michael Lumb (69) and Darren Lehmann (87) added 136 for Yorkshire's fifth wicket but that aside, the other nine wickets added only 85 between them. Matthew Hoggard grabbed two early scalps to reduce Sussex to 26 for 2, but Murray Goodwin (41) and Chris Adams (44) led a recovery and they ended on 138 for 5, still requiring 55 to win.
Another county who failed to capitalise on a strong overnight position at Trent Bridge were Warwickshire who lost their last seven second-innings wickets for 92. That still left Nottinghamshire chasing a stiff 377, and that grew less likely when Heath Streak struck twice to reduce them to 13 for 2, and when they slid to 77 for 5 it looked to be game over. But Mark Ealham (50*) and David Alleyne (61*) put on an unbeaten 113 for the sixth wicket to keep the champions in the hunt, and they resume needing another 187 to win.
Leicestershire wrapped up an eight-wicket victory over Essex at Chelmsford. After following-on 175 in arrears, Essex resumed on 72 for 1 but never looked like threatening an upset despite a dogged stand of 47 between the Flower brothers. When both fell before lunch, the die was cast and Claude Henderson (5 for 69) wrapped up the innings. Essex's frustration was all the greater because six of their top seven passed 20 but only one went on to fifty.
Monty Panesar's hopes of playing in the first Test were boosted by his 5 for 32 as Northamptonshire cruised to an innings-and-46-run win over Somerset at Northampton. Somerset were struggling after conceding a first-innings deficit of 191, and after reaching 44 for 1 then lost their remaining wickets for 101.
At Cardiff, an exciting final day is in prospect asGlamorgan, chasing 213 to beat Derbyshire, closed on 16 for 2. Dean Cosker (4 for 78) and Robert Croft (4 for 51) shared the spoils after Ian Hunter grabbed four quick wickets to bring the Glamorgan first-innings to a swift conclusion. But a poor forecast for tomorrow could be the deciding factor.