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April 26, 2007
Sussex were facing the prospect of a heavy defeat after they were asked to follow on for the first time in almost three years by Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Dale Steyn and Darren Maddy took three wickets each as Sussex slumped to 151 after Steyn had earlier boosted the home side's total with a quick-fire 31. Sussex quickly fell to 14 for 3 before a stand of 85 between Carl Hopkinson and Chris Adams steadied the innings. But Maddy's skiddy medium-pace claimed both and when Matt Prior, named in England's 25-man performance squad, was lbw for 3, Sussex were in real trouble. Unlike last week, when Heath Streak declined to make Lancashire bat again, Maddy quickly stuck Sussex back in. Richard Montgomerie failed for the second time in the day and Maddy again proved to be a golden arm to leave Warwickshire in control
Shane Warne showed he had lost none of his ruthless streak as he declared Hampshire's innings with Nic Pothas 15 short of a century and was immediately rewarded with two quick Surrey wickets at The Oval. However, Hampshire were stopped in their tracks by a mixture of bad light, drizzle and Mark Ramprakash. Warne played his part with the bat during the morning session, striking a breezy 48 before falling to a well-judged catch by Ramprakash on the cover boundary. After the declaration, 20 minutes before lunch, Dimitri Mascarenhas struck with his fourth ball as the in-form Scott Newman feathered a catch to Pothas. Jon Batty fell in similar circumstances before the innings was steadied by the experienced hands of Ramprakash and Mark Butcher who added 119. The light caused problems during the afternoon, preventing the first sighting at the bowling crease of Warne until nearly 6.30pm. In the end he sent down just three overs as Ramprakash eased to another half-century and there was an enticing battle awaiting on the third day.
A painstaking century from Joe Sayers pushed Yorkshire slowly into the lead against their North East rivals Durham at Headingley. It was turgid progress but served Yorkshire's cause well after Younis Khan had been trapped lbw for 42. Sayers' hundred came off 318 deliveries and he has so far batted for more than eight hours. How Durham will be regretting their drop when he had just 3 on the first evening. The main stand came with wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy, who was the most fluent batsmen of the day making 80 off 110 balls. The partnership ended when Brophy stepped on his stumps against Steve Harmison as Durham hit back with a flurry of wickets. Sayers, though, couldn't be shifted and Darren Gough helped add another 50 runs for the eighth wicket.
Wickets continued to tumble at Lord's as Middlesex claimed a first-innings lead of 47 against Northamptonshire. Alan Richardson finished with four scalps as Middlesex claimed a lead of 47, which would have been more without Lance Klusener's 44. Johann van der Wath took his seventh wicket of the match - Nick Compton playing no shot - before a long rain break during the afternoon. When the players returned for a brief session before the close Northamptonshire struck two vital blows to keep the match wide open.
A 98-ball hundred from Craig Spearman was wasted by Gloucestershire as their batting collapsed to hand Nottinghamshire the ascendancy at Bristol. Spearman and Kadeer Ali added 146 in 35 overs for the first wicket, but once Andy Harris broke through the innings fell away. Spearman was removed by Ryan Sidebottom shortly after reaching his ton and Paul Franks took three middle-order wickets. Rain ended the day early but Gloucestershire were facing a sizeable deficit. Earlier, Nottinghamshire had fallen one run short of full batting points as Ashley Noffke claimed six wickets, including Samit Patel for 89.
A captain's innings from Darren Robinson helped pull Leicestershire ahead of Somerset at Grace Road. He added 154 with Australian Jim Allenby after nightwatchman David Masters fell early. Somerset fought back as Robinson and Allenby went in quick succession, but Tom New and Mansoor Amjad formed another solid stand of 117. New, who started the season with runs against Nottinghamshire, supported the more aggressive Amjad who hit 12 fours in his 67. Charl Willoughby eventually removed Amjad, who will soon leave for a Pakistan training camp, but not before Leicestershire gained a narrow lead.
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