County Championship round-up, 3rd day April 20, 2007

Mushtaq bowls Sussex to the brink of victory

Cricinfo staff

Division One



Mushtaq Ahmed removed Joe Denly as Sussex closed in on victory against Kent © Getty Images
The defending champions Sussex are on the brink of taking their first scalp of the season at Hove. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mushtaq Ahmed, who took 10 for 219, did the bulk of the damage to the Kent innings, but the last pair put on 86 to make Sussex bat again. The home side now need 55 runs to win. Earlier, Rana (75) made just his ninth first-class half century and James Kirtley (51) to help Surrey rack up 510

Yorkshire will find out if they've given themselves enough time to bowl out Surrey after choosing not to enforce the follow-on during a curious third day at The Oval. Yorkshire ended Surrey's first innings just before lunch with a lead of 250, but decided not to bat again, and then Craig White and Joe Sayers took nearly 20 overs to get into the groove of declaration batting despite facing a toothless Surrey pace attack. Eventually the batsmen cut loose, White's century making it four for the visitors (the first time Surrey have conceded four tons in their Championship history) yet Darren Gough called his men in only just before the close - a huge lead of 516. Surrey lost just one wicket before stumps, Jon Batty, as they reached 47 for 1.

He knows that Surrey's batting is their strong suit - but this total is way beyond them - and they certainly looked ominous this morning as Mark Ramprakash completed his 92nd first-class hundred with a straight-flick six before feathering through off Jason Gillespie. Rikki Clarke, with commanding sweeps, and Azhar Mahmood, with lusty blows, boosted Surrey's total - although nothing to rival Yorkshire's earlier lower-order dominance. Enter Matthew Hoggard who struck with his first ball, a gentle loosener that Mahmood poked tamely to Gerard Brophy. Gough then beat Clarke and Jimmy Ormond for pace in successive balls and triggered a slip-slide away to 344.

Lancashire's lower order repaired some of the damage Warwickshire had inflicted on their first wave at Edgbaston, with Paul Horton (77) and Luke Sutton (111) sharing a comfortable fifth-wicket stand of 146 to lift them to 330. Sutton reached his third Championship ton for Lancashire, with a glorious cover drive, while Horton looked well set before an edge through off his flat-footed drive. The new ball then did the damage, Dale Steyn finding extra bounce to get Glenn Chapple. Kyle Hogg chopped on, Oliver Newby was taken at second slip, then Dominic Cork swiped as he tried to get to the follow-on. Warwickshire decided not to enforce it, though, as they didn't want to bat last, but started very slowly, with 17 runs in 11 overs. Newby bagged two in an over, then Gary Keedy troubled the middle order, grabbing Ian Westwood who popped to short leg. Alex Loudon's leading edge flew to point, while Jim Troughton taken at leg slip and Heath Streak was caught off the bat-pad at silly point. By the close, questions were being asked of Warwickshire's tactics.

Steve Harmison bowled Durham towards victory against Worcestershire at New Road with a four-wicket haul to knock over the top order. Dale Benkenstein moved on to his hundred and Gareth Breese his fifty as Durham carried on where they'd left off the night before, eventually reaching 416. Stephen Moore fell for a duck (4 for 1) but then Phil Jaques and Vikram Solanki shared a second-wicket stand of 127, although chipping away at their 539-run deficit was like taking toothpicks to etch away at a mountain. Six wickets, one a run-out, the other four to Harmison (who now has seven this match) and one to Graham Onions, left Worcestershire wobbling and Durham will back themselves to complete the job tomorrow.

Division Two



Graeme Swann's 46 boosted Nottinghamshire to 500 against Leicestershire © Getty Images

Graeme Swann cracked a quick-fire 46 from 50 balls to extend Nottinghamshire's lead and further dominate their match against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge. Paul Franks (32 from 42) was similarly aggressive as Notts were dismissed for 500 in the 130th over to give them a 199-run lead. In their second innings Leicestershire slipped to 94 for 4 before HD Ackerman (112) and Tom New (57*), the young wicketkeeper, added a morale-boosting 174 for the fifth wicket. New remained unbeaten but Leicestershire's lead only amounts to 67 going into the final day, with five second-innings wickets left in hand.

Nine months ago, Justin Langer recorded his first triple-hundred of a long career, playing for Somerset against Surrey. And on the third day of their opening match of the season, he's done it again - remaining unbeaten on 303 as Somerset firstly matched Middlesex's sizeable 600 for 4 before bettering it to take an 83-run lead at Taunton. Langer was joined by James Hildreth (116) who helped put on 242 for the third wicket, and Cameron White, his fellow Australian who smacked 114. With the pitch showing little sign of wear, Langer might well look to dominate the attack tomorrow morning - and even improve upon his top score of 342 last year. It is surely headed towards a draw.

Ronnie Irani surged on from his overnight 83, launching 21 fours and a six in his 144 but, his innings apart, Essex's middle and lower order fell away against Derbyshire who took a first innings lead of 144 at Chelmsford. Once James Foster fell for 61, Derbyshire capitalised to remove the last six Essex batsmen for just 86. Ryan ten Doeschate nipped out Steve Stubbings for 9 but Chris Taylor (89) and his captain Simon Katich extended Derbyshire's lead to 284 at stumps.

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