Sussex power towards vital win
Chris Adams struck a belligerent 156 for Sussex who finally declared on an impressive 531 for 6 against Durham at Hove. The visitors then capitulated in their reply - Mushtaq Ahmed picked up 6 for 64, and Jason Lewry 4 for 55 - as Sussex dismissed them for just 150. Phil Mustard top-scored with 58 but there was scant little from his team-mates. Their day didn't improve when they followed on, either, with Yasir Arafat and Mushtaq picking up two wickets as Durham stare down the barrel, still trailing by 339 runs.
Simon Cook made the most of his role as nightwatchman with 71 as Kent and Yorkshire battled out a tight day, reduced by rain, at Headingley. Cook and Robert Key added 80 for the second wicket and then when Cook fell, Martin van Jaarsveld stroked an unbeaten 59. Yorkshire hit back as Deon Kruis took two wickets and Adil Rashid impressed again with two wickets in two balls, which included trapping Dwayne Bravo lbw for a duck.
On a stop-start second day at Southampton, Hampshire struggled against Warwickshire who were finally bowled out for 401. In reply Hampshire were indebted to James Adams at the top of the order who batted very patiently while Paul Harris, the South Africa slow-left-armer, took two wickets to stymie Hampshire's progress. The home side finished some 275 runs behind with seven wickets remaining.
Owais Shah followed up his century in the Pro40 with an unbeaten 73 as Middlesex made a decent start on a slow, and truncated, opening day against Lancashire at Old Trafford. Ed Smith was removed early, trapped lbw by Kyle Hogg, and Middlesex's progress was turgid on a slow and low surface. Nick Compton took 87 balls to reach double figures before eventually falling just after lunch to Hogg. Shah and Ed Joyce upped the tempo with a third-wicket stand of 58 before Joyce fell to Glen Chapple. Shah was progressing comfortably when rain forced an early tea and didn't allow any more play.
No play was possible between Somerset and Glamorgan at Taunton as heavy rain moved through the South West of England.
A magnificent third-wicket partnership of 170 between Mark Pettini and Ravinder Bopara gave Essex a first innings lead over Surrey on the second day at Colchester. Resuming on 32 for 2 the pair steadied Essex with Bopara the more aggressive of the two, smashing 12 fours and a six - but they both fell in the nineties to give Surrey some hope. James Foster continued their fine efforts, though, in a cautious half-century and received excellent support from James Middlebrook. Essex lead by 69 runs with four wickets remaining.
Rain prevented much play at Leicester between Leicestershire and Worcestershire. Gareth Batty fell two short of a fine hundred as the visitors declared on an imposing 456 for 8. In reply, the home side moved to 40 without loss.
Just 30.4 overs were possible on the opening day between Derbyshire and Gloucestershire at Derby. The home side made a fine start, reducing Gloucestershire to 5 for 2 and they claimed their first bowling point when Steffan Jones shifted Phil Weston moments before the rain arrived. Jon Lewis made his way the ground after being omitted at The Oval but his services have not been needed yet.