Trescothick and Di Venuto double up
Michael Di Venuto again showed what he brings to Durham with a double century against Kent at Chester-le-Street as he carried his bat for the second time in the season. His unbeaten 204 pushed Durham to full batting points in less than 87 overs. After Yasir Arafat removed Will Smith and Paul Collingwood in the same over Durham's innings was built around a third-wicket stand of 181 between Di Venuto and Kyle Coetzer (74). Kent fought back through James Tredwell and Ryan McLaren and at 296 for 7 had a chance to wrap up the innings. However, Liam Plunkett (35) gave another demonstration of his batting credentials, adding 63 with Di Venuto, as Durham regained the momentum. Steve Harmison offered supported in a final-wicket stand of 40, pushing Durham above 400, as Tredwell and McLaren took four wickets apiece.
Darren Maddy continued to excel in the Warwickshire captaincy role with his second century in four days as they formed a solid platform against Surrey at The Oval. His unbeaten 133, a first Championship ton since 2004, was more than half Surrey's total for the day but he was provided with useful support by Ian Westwood, Jonathan Trott, who was bowled off a no-ball first delivery, and Jim Troughton. However, Ian Bell missed out when he played round a straight one from Neil Saker for 9. Maddy, though, couldn't be shifted as he reached his hundred off 113 balls and when rain brought an early end to the day before tea 106 of his runs had come in boundaries including 24 off one Rikki Clarke over. Surrey's attack again struggled to make an impact despite Matthew Nicholson's first Championship appearance of the season. Saker, who impressed against Lancashire last week, was the main wicket-taker although his three wickets did come at a cost.
Craig White fell three runs short of a century but Yorkshire were in a strong position against Worcestershire when the rain arrived at Headingley. White and Joe Sayers, dropped early by Ben Smith at slip, batted through most of the first two sessions as Worcestershire's patched-up attack, including Scotland seamer Dewald Nel, were made to toil. Roger Sillence eventually made the breakthrough when White was caught behind for 97, but Sayers was again showing his appetite for the long innings. In his last match on the ground he made an unbeaten 149 and has now batted for more than 14 hours on home turf without being dismissed.
Rain prevented any play on the opening day between Hampshire and Lancashire at The Rose Bowl. The umpires had numerous inspections and made their decision during the afternoon. It meant England trio Andrew Flintoff, James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood were left kicking their heels, but Kevin Pietersen was already ruled out of the match after picking up a calf strain.
In the one match which started on Tuesday, Marcus Trescothick converted his opening day century into a career-best 284, leading Somerset to an imposing 641 for 6 against Northamptonshire at Northampton. Unbeaten on 185 overnight, Trescothick soon reached his double seven overs into the day off 306 balls and passed his previous best of 219 - made against South Africa at The Oval in 2003 - as the home side struggled to make an impression. He was within sight of a triple hundred until falling to a catch in the covers off Lance Klusener shortly before lunch, but there was no let-up from Somerset. James Hildreth, who added 227 with Trescothick, moved his own century off 131 balls before Ian Blackwell tore into a tiring attack. Blackwell launched 11 fours and four sixes in a 47-ball assault, then the rain arrived to help Northamptonshire escape further punishment.
Derbyshire's seam attack rifled through the Leicestershire top order at Derby but Paul Nixon and Mansoor Amjad managed to stop the slide until rain arrived mid-way through the afternoon. Left-arm seamer Graham Wagg removed the top three under overcast skies including Darren Robinson who batted 25 overs for 19. Alongside Tom Lungley's removal of HD Ackerman for 1 - edging one which climbed on him - the innings stumbled to 46 for 4. Jim Allenby played his shots but when he and John Sadler fell in quick succession a capitulation was on the cards. However, Nixon has twice bailed Leicestershire out in tight one-day situations over the weekend and brought his form into the four-day game. Alongside Amjad, who recently returned from Pakistan's training camp, they added an unbeaten 69. Ireland seamer Boyd Rankin made the Derbyshire starting XI and extracted lift form the service although went wicketless.
Middlesex shaded the opening proceedings against Nottinghamshire on a truncated day at Trent Bridge with Bilal Shafayat holding firm against some impressive bowling from Tim Murtagh. Richard Johnson bagged the first breakthrough, Jason Gallian edging behind shortly after being dropped by Murali Kartik, but Murtagh made the main inroads. He had Mark Wagh caught behind trying to leave the ball and then broke a threatening stand of 79 between Shafayat and David Hussey before removing the in-form Samit Patel second ball. Shafayat, normally a dashing strokemaker, was forced to play a much more watchful role and faced 176 balls, but it was a vital contribution for his team, as he and Chris Read negotiated the period before play was curtailed.