Law keeps Lancashire in touch
Stuart Law put his pair last week against Nottinghamshire behind him to keep Lancashire in contention against Sussex at Hove with his fourth century of the season. Law was at the crease early as Lancashire's openers departed to the new ball and they were wobbling again at 145 for 4. However, Law was joined by Gareth Cross and the pair counter-attacked for the sixth wicket with an unbroken stand of 101. Cross was especially aggressive and scored at more than a run-a-ball during the early part of his innings. Earlier, Luke Wright had extended Sussex's total over 400 despite the efforts of Dominic Cork in returning to the bowling crease after injuring a finger on the opening day.
Another century from John Crawley, his fifth of the season, put Hampshire in a strong position over Kent at Canterbury. There was no play before lunch as the rain over the south-east of England took a while to shift. When the players appeared Michael Carberry fell in the first over, against his former county, but after that Kent struggled for wickets. James Adams was a rock at the other end to Crawley, taking 131 balls over 38 before falling to Darren Stevens after a stand lasting 44 overs.
Despite the loss of the entire second day to rain the Durham's clash against Nottinghamshire at Chester-le-Street is heading for a result as 25 wickets tumbled. Early in the day Phil Mustard was Charlie Shreck's fifth wicket but Callum Thorp's 61 pushed Durham up to 195. That total took on much larger proportions as Nottinghamshire fell from 59 for 2, losing eight for 80. Graham Onions removed four of the top five and only two batsmen passed 30. However, Durham found it no easier second time around as they suffered an equally rapid demise to 83 for 8. But Onions and Neil Killeen added vital late runs and Nottinghamshire's target was made to look even more testing when they lost a late wicket on a manic day.
Essex built a commanding position over Somerset at Garon's Park as Alex Tudor and Darren Gough followed Andrew Caddick's lead from the first day and rolled back the years. Tudor, who has been beset by injuries since his move to Essex, completed a five-wicket haul as Somerset crumbled for 133. Gough provided excellent support, adding to his two wickets from the previous evening, as Essex gained a lead of 119. Neil Edwards almost carried his bat, but was the last man out to Gough for a painstaking 44. Andy Flower then played the major innings as Essex extended their lead with a 64-ball 60.
Glamorgan are facing a sizeable first-innings deficit against Worcestershire at Colwyn Bay despite the efforts of Alex Wharf. It was a tough day all round for Glamorgan, who had to endure a frustrating morning as Daryl Mitchell - with his first career century - and Nadeem Malik added 83 for the last wicket. Glamorgan then lost wickets at regular intervals and slipped to 162 for 6. Wharf, though, put bat to ball in forthright style push his side past the follow-on target. Zaheer Khan and Gareth Batty shared six wickets for Worcestershire.
John Maunders hit a career-best 178 not out, his first Championship ton of the season, as Leicestershire moved into a healthy lead over Gloucestershire at Cheltenham. Maunders shared a second-wicket stand of 108 with HD Ackerman which out Leicestershire on course to overhaul Gloucestershire's total. Paul Nixon also reached his first century of the season and his stand with Maunders - eventually worth 223 - drove their team into the lead with just three wickets down and it was extended beyond three figures before the close.
Scott Newman and Mark Ramprakash filled their boots as Surrey powered into a formidable position at The Oval against Northamptonshire. Newman reached his first Championship century of the season and, passed 1000 runs for the campaign. There was plenty more on offer, too, when he skied Jason Brown to mid off and his frustration was clear. Ramprakash just went about the day in his own measured style after Jon Batty was lbw to a low full toss. However, twice in two balls he lost his composure, only to watch Ben Phillips drop consecutive catches at mid off. But for the most part he was effortless as he cracked the ball all around the ground for his seventh century of the summer. Mark Butcher eased to his own half century in a pressure-free situation as the sun finally appeared after a dull, cool day but it won't have brightened Northamptonshire's mood.