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April 27, 2007
Warwickshire sped to a crushing innings-and-34-run victory over defending champions Sussex before lunch on the third day at Edgbaston. It was Sussex's first innings defeat for three years and continues a poor record in Birmingham where they haven't won a Championship match since 1982. They never looked like saving the game, or even taking it into the final day, after the slide started in the fourth over of the morning when James Anyon nipped one back into Murray Goodwin. Anyon also ended Carl Hopkinson's fighting half-century through an edge to slip and Sussex's fate was confirmed when Chris Adams tickled down the leg side. The last six wickets tumbled for 41 as Naqqash Tahir did the damage with four wickets, handing Darren Maddy an impressive start to his reign as Warwickshire captain.
Matthew Hoggard inspired Yorkshire to a rapid demolition of Durham at Headingley as he claimed 5 for 32, including a burst of three in five balls. Facing a deficit of 140, Durham were quickly in tatters losing five wickets before lunch to Hoggard and Darren Gough. Hoggard bowled Michael di Venuto with his first ball then had Dale Benkenstein taken a second slip before Ben Harmison and Will Smith both dragged on while trying to leave the ball. After a brief rally from Phil Mustard and Gareth Breese, Tim Bresnan struck twice and an innings defeat was looming. The last three wickets showed up the efforts of the frontline batsmen, adding 91 with Graham Onions hitting 41 off 33 balls and Steve Harmison 23 off 10 as they employed the long handle and evaded fielders. However, Yorkshire needed less than seven overs to reach their target before tea. Earlier, Joe Sayers carried his bat as his marathon innings finished unbeaten on 149 and his 10 not out in the run chase meant he was on the field throughout the match. Gough reached a lively fifty and Harmison's 37 overs of hard work was rewarded with a six-wicket haul as he gained lifted from a good length. However, after the go-slow nature of Yorkshire's innings the match hurtled towards a finish.
Surrey are facing a final day battle for survival after Shane Warne's five-wickets continued Hampshire's dominance at The Oval. Warne broke through early when he had Mark Butcher caught off a top-edged sweep for 50. Ali Brown followed quickly, padding up, and the innings rapidly fell away. Mark Ramprakash watched on, completing a century to follow the one he scored last time he faced Warne - again at The Oval in the 2001 Ashes. Warne, though, had few problems removing the tail, but despite a lead of 278 decided not to enforce the follow-on. A dispirited Surrey side were then flayed at nearly five-an-over with Michael Brown making an unbeaten 115 off 135 balls. Warne declared at tea, leaving Surrey a massive target of 503 and a very similar situation to last week's match against Yorkshire. James Bruce struck early, but Surrey were making strong progress with Ramprakash and Jon Batty adding 92. Moments before the close, though, Shaun Udal made the key breakthrough having Ramprakash stumped down the leg-side for 43.
Glamorgan were forced to follow-on against Essex at Chelmsford as Danish Kaneria spun a web with seven wickets although he was held up by an extraordinary innings from nightwatchman Huw Waters. After coming in late on the second evening Waters - first-class average 4.36 - batted for 297 minutes and faced 265 balls. After running out Matthew Elliott for 95 early in the day he managed just two boundaries while most of the scoring came from the other end, particularly Michael Powell's 64. Waters was eventually undone by some extra bounce, caught behind of Kaneria, who again earned every penny of his fee as he sent down more than 46 overs. His haul enabled Ronnie Irani to put Glamorgan back in, but they will fancy their chances of surviving the final day on a surface where wickets have been hard to come by.
A shifting encounter at Grace Road is heading Somerset's way as they set Leicestershire 349 to win. It was virtually even at the start of play but a stand of 175 between Neil Edwards and Justin Langer pulled Somerset away following the early loss of Marcus Trescothick. Langer was racing towards another century before falling to RP Singh, who took two more wickets to claw back some ground. However, Cameron White bolstered the middle order, adding 62 with Ian Blackwell, as the lead grew towards 300. Leicestershire's spinners, Claude Henderson and Mansoor Amjad, worked through the lower order to end with three apiece. Andrew Caddick's double strike before the close leaves Somerset well placed to take the honours.
Samit Patel showed his full range of shots with a century that drove Nottinghamshire into a strong position against Gloucestershire, who were made to pay for some shoddy fielding at Bristol. After falling 11 short of a ton in the first innings he rode his luck second time around, being dropped four times, but reached three figures off 164 balls. It was a much-needed innings from Patel after Nottinghamshire had stumbled to 24 for 3 with Ashley Noffke again in the wickets. He added 176 with David Hussey (77) - who was also put down - as the led grew steadily during the afternoon. Chris Read added 43 before Hussey set Gloucestershire 405 for victory. Nottinghamshire's first innings advantage had been limited to 71 as Jon Lewis clubbed 42.
A gritty, unbeaten 103 from David Nash - his second century in consecutive Championship innings - enabled Middlesex to build a commanding lead of 409 against Northamptonshire at Lord's. Nash's innings, spanning 226 balls, was worth considerably more than his hundred on a batting paradise at Taunton last week. It was a day of steady accumulation and, in a contest where both first innings had been dominated by the bowlers, Middlesex did well to carve out such a large advantage after being 138 for 5. Ben Hutton made a laborious 37, while Billy Godleman again played his part with 40 in a sixth-wicket stand of 58. Tim Murtagh provided some impetus, with a 57-ball 34, and it was his partnership with Nash which turned the match decisively in Middlesex's favour. Chris Silverwood biffed a useful 30 and Middlesex ended on a high when Alan Richardson removed Stephen Peters with the final ball of the day.
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A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches