County Championship round-up September 13, 2006

Lancashire frustrated by plodding Durham

Cricinfo staff

Division One

First day

Jimmy Maher strikes out on his way to 95 © Getty Images
Lancashire's Championship ambition suffered a dent on the opening day at Old Trafford as a slow and low pitch hindered their efforts to bowl out Durham who set about grinding out a first-innings total. The opening pair, Jimmy Maher and Gary Scott, went along at two per over in the front session, Scott benefiting from a tough chance shelled by Luke Sutton behind the stumps. Other than that there were precious few alarms for the batsmen. Lancashire eventually made the breakthrough when Gary Keedy trapped Scott for a painstaking 53 off 158 balls. But Lancashire were unable to make further rapid incisions. Gary Park, a young Kolpak player, increased the tempo before falling to Tom Smith for 45 and Maher then fell five runs short of a hardworking century when he was caught behind off Glen Chapple. Lancashire were given a late boost by dismissing Dale Benkenstein shortly before stumps but they have only 22 more overs to gain their remaining two bowling points.

A series of consistent performances from the Kent top order manoeuvred them into a promising position on the opening day against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Joe Denly, the 20-year-old opener who replaced David Fulton in the starting eleven, led the way with an impressive 86 from 105 deliveries. He added 132 for the second wicket with Martin van Jaarsveld, who continued his fine form with 79. Warwickshire fought back by removing van Jaarsveld and Matthew Walker during the afternoon session but a timely return to form by Geraint Jones, who made his first half-century since being dropped by England, and Darren Stevens's 61, put Kent on target for maximum batting points.

Craig White led a spirited Yorkshire fightback on the opening day against Nottinghamshire at Headingley with a fine captain's innings of 141 not out. Yorkshire had slumped to 42 for 3 against the new ball but White found an able ally in Adil Rashid who confirmed it's not only legspin at which he can excel. Rashid helped White to add 130 for the fourth wicket and struck a Championship-best 63, his maiden first-class century, before another slump brought Nottinghamshire back into the match. Graeme Swann grabbed two middle-order wickets but none of the bowlers could shift White, who brought up his ton off 241 balls and will be relying on some support from the final two wickets to extend Yorkshire's innings beyond 300 on the second day. Yorkshire had to do without Matthew Hoggard who withdrew from the game shortly before the start after pulling up with a side strain.

Division Two

Second day

Somerset batted themselves into a strong position on the second day against Northamptonshire at Taunton thanks to a fine century for James Hildreth in an otherwise quiet season for him. They built on the solid work of the overnight pair of Arul Suppiah and Sam Spurway, who was acting as nightwatchman. The pair batted through the morning before Rob White made the breakthrough with his occasional legspin and Suppiah was run out two short of a deserved ton. Hildreth, though, took the innings under his wing and added 94 with Ian Blackwell in his first Championship innings of the season. Blackwell showed no ill effects off his shoulder injury and slammed 43 off 35 balls, while Hildreth moved to his century off just 94 deliveries as Somerset closed with a healthy advantage.