Sussex start defence in style
Jacques Rudolph's deal with Yorkshire didn't go down well with the ECB, but they couldn't do much about it. If his debut century against Surrey at The Oval is anything to go by there'll also be plenty of disgruntled bowlers by the end of the season. Yorkshire stumbled to 73 for 4 when Younis Khan fell for 4, in his first innings for the county, but Rudolph set about the recovery. His main partner was Adil Rashid, dropped on 0 by Scott Newman, who provided further proof of his batting ability with 86, as the pair added 190 for the sixth wicket. Rudolph's century took 136 balls, with 20 fours and three sixes, and lower-order contributions from Tim Bresnan and Darren Gough - including one six out of the ground - further boosted the total. For a side that was crumbling a few months ago, Yorkshire's fortunes continue to take an upturn.
Led by Jim Troughton's even 100, Warwickshire handed Lancashire, one of the pre-season favourites, a tough day in the field at Edgbaston. Troughton's 184-ball formed the backbone of the home side's solid effort, following an opening stand of 79 between Ian Westwood and Darren Maddy which blunted the new ball. Maddy, in his first major innings since moving from Leicestershire, contributed 71 before he was caught off Oliver Newby. When Troughton was yorked middle stump by the second new ball, two deliveries after reaching his first century since last May, Alex Loudon steered the innings towards the close and ended within sight of his first Championship century.
The honour of the season's first Championship century went to Michael di Venuto as he waged a lone battle for Durham against newly promoted Worcestershire at New Road. di Venuto carried his bat for 155, reaching his ton off 141 deliveries, with the next highest score being Steve Harmison's 23-ball 30 at No. 11. Durham's top order had been shaken by Doug Bollinger's impressive first spell as overseas player and wickets fell at regular intervals. Worcestershire's innings started brightly with Stephen Moore reaching 46, but late wickets for Callum Thorp and Ottis Gibson leave Durham in control.
Starting life with his third county, Ian Harvey proved he is still a force to be reckoned with in domestic cricket with 120 as Derbyshire took control on the opening day against Essex at Chelmsford. Chris Taylor (55) and Simon Katich, dropped first ball by Ronnie Irani at slip, fell to Danish Kaneria, who was given an early indication of the workload ahead by sending down 39 overs, but Harvey's knock carried the game way from Essex during the final session. He added an unbeaten 120 for the seventh wicket with Jamie Pipe, whose 69 included 12 fours and two sixes.
Leicestershire threw away an ideal start against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, losing eight for 127 after a 124-run opening stand between Darren Robinson (50) and John Maunders (82), who was dropped before lunch by Chris Read. Graeme Swann broke the partnership and the middle order all reached the teens before falling, including HD Ackerman who shouldered arms to an inswinger, on a pitch that remained lively throughout the day. A late flourish from Claude Henderson and RP Singh, the Indian left-armer, added 48 but Paul Franks's third wicket stopped them one run short of a third batting point.