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May 24, 2006
Sussex blew away a feeble Durham by an innings and 80 runs as Naved-ul-Hasan and Mushtaq Ahmed wrecked havoc for the second time in the match. Durham had eased to 47 without loss, cutting into their deficit of 119, before Mushtaq came into the attack and snaffled three wickets in four balls against a hapless top order. Naved-ul-Hasan ripped out the middle order before the pair shared the last two wickets, aptly finishing with five apiece in the innings and 19 in the match. Durham's collapse overshadowed a promising performance from Steve Harmison who found disconcerting bounce to take four wickets but he could do little to help his team at the end.
Lancashire's decision to bowl at Old Trafford was justified with seven wickets but Nottinghamshire refused to buckle completely. At 81 for 4, with David Hussey dismissed by Gary Keedy, Notts were on the brink of collapse, but Chris Read chose to channel his aggression into a counter-attacking half-century after his outburst at Hove two weeks ago. His 77-ball 53 steadied the innings before Oliver Newby claimed him and Stephen Fleming in quick succession.
Ed Smith cracked his first century of the season as Middlesex took the honours over Warwickshire. His 150-ball ton built on a solid start from him and Ben Hutton and he added a highly productive 133 with Owais Shah who struck a fluent 73. Heath Streak hit back with two blows, but Smith remained firm against a strengthened Warwickshire attack that included Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand left-arm spinner.
Hampshire's top order struggled in the limited play possible against Kent at The Rose Bowl. They fell to 3 for 2 early on as Andrew Hall and Simon Cook struck, then Michael Carberry also fell to Hall minutes before rain forced the players off. When they returned John Crawley and Dominic Thornely began a recovery before the part-time medium pace of Darren Stevens struck with more rain looming. That was virtually the final action of the day and Crawley carries Hampshire's hopes of a reasonable total.
Varun Chopra reached a half-century on debut against Gloucestershire to lead Essex's reply on the second day at Chelmsford. Chopra put on a solid opening stand of 69 with Mark Pettini, with the pair weathering a new-ball onslaught from Steve Kirby and Carl Greenidge who found some movement early on and induced the occasional edge. Pettini eventually fell for 33, the first of a trio of quick wickets as Essex slipped to 85 for 3, but Chopra stood firm and ended the day 20 short of a century. In the morning, Ian Harvey continued to take apart the Essex attack as Gloucestershire added a further hundred runs to their overnight score to end with 396.
Glamorgan's batting suffered another slump as Worcestershire took charge of their meeting. From their overnight 133 for 3 they fell to 190 for 9 with Kabir Ali, Zaheer Khan, and Nadeem Malik doing most of the damage. Only a stubborn last-wicket stand of 49 between Mark Wallace and Andrew Davies lifted then to a batting point. David Harrison grabbed an early strike in reply but Phil Jaques was ominously poised when bad light ended play.
Richard Johnson struck twice for Somerset in the 42.1 overs that were possible against Leicestershire on the first day at Taunton. By the close Dinesh Mongia had steadied the Leicestershire ship, which was leaking wickets steadily, and moved them on to 132 for 4.
Northants made a sluggish start to their game against Derbyshire, reaching 130 for 4 from the 59 overs possible among the showers. Having crawled to 78 for 2, Northants then stumbled to 110 for 4 as Ian Hunter grabbed two quick wickets, removing Bilal Shafayat for 18 and then bowling David Sales for a two-ball duck.
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