Key hundred drives Kent reply
Robert Key struck a fine 169 for Kent who fought back on the second day against Durham at at Chester-le-Street. Key brought up his hundred from 177 balls, stroking 15 fours, and together with Matthew Walker put on 173 for the third wicket. But Liam Plunkett took 3 for 82 to destabilise Kent's middle-order, although the visitors trail by just 46 - importantly, with Andrew Hall unbeaten on 37 going into the third day.
Andrew Flintoff finally made it into the middle after the first day washout at The Rose Bowl but Lancashire were in deep trouble on 31 for 4 once Hampshire's new ball attack made the most of overcast conditions. James Bruce and Stuart Clark took two each as the top order struggled. Mark Chilton's pull was perhaps not the wisest shot given the conditions then Mal Loye slashed to point. Clark won the battle of the Australia World Cup stars when Brad Hodge edged to first slip. A sign of the bowler-friendly environment was Stuart Law's 75-minute 6 although Flintoff did manage two boundaries before the rain arrived once again with just 18 overs bowled.
Surrey made the most of the limited play available at at The Oval removing Warwickshire's last six wickets for 108. Matthew Nicholson led the way, starting with Alex Loudon's wicket with the first ball of the day. He quickly followed this by ending Darren Maddy's fine century (134), caught at extra cover, and later bowled Heath Streak for a useful 21. However, Surrey were stopped in their tracks by a rapid fifty from Dale Steyn who launched into the bowlers in his 46-ball 51. Chris Schofield eventually had Steyn caught at long-on, while Surrey only had time to face three overs before the rain closed in.
Yorkshire continued to pile the pressure on Worcestershire at Headingley with Joe Sayers and Jacques Rudolph registering hundreds which powered Yorkshire to 521 for 7. Sayers, unbeaten on 86 overnight, moved to his second hundreds in consecutive matches at the ground before he fell to Dewald Nel, ending more than 20 hours at the crease on his home ground. Rudolph ensured Yorkshire built on their fine start with a 150-ball century adding 104 for the fifth wicket with Gerard Brophy. It was Rudolph's second hundred in the Championship, following his Kolpak move from South Africa. Tim Bresnan and Darren Gough added useful runs and Nel could be highly satisfied with his 4 for 74 on Championship debut. Gough's declaration left his side enough time to cement their advantage with Matthew Hoggard and Jason Gillespie taking advantage of the new ball.
Just 34 overs were possible on the third day at Northampton, with the home side struggling to 130 for 3 in reply to Somerset's vast 641 for 6. Andy Caddick took all three wickets to fall, removing Stephen Peters, Davey Jacobs and Riki Wessels, though David Sales remained unbeaten on 42.
Derbyshire made short work of Leicestershire's tail on the second day at Derby, before Steve Stubbings led their response with a solid fifty. Paul Nixon could only add a further 10 to his overnight 40 with Leicestershire's final four wickets falling for 57. Derbyshire lost Phil Weston for just 5 and Chris Taylor for 4 but Stubbings and his captain, Simon Katich, led the fightback with an unbroken stand of 84 as the hosts ended the day on 111 for 2, trailing by 98.
A quick-fire 92 from Paul Franks heaved Nottinghamshire to a once unlikely 336 against Middlesex on the second day at Trent Bridge, with the visitors stumbling to 60 for 3 in reply. Tim Murtagh was disciplined and economical, recording the excellent figures of 6 for 87, but Franks took the initiative away from Middlesex in his rollicking 117-ball innings. In reply, Middlesex lost Andrew Strauss for just 4, Billy Godleman for 6 and Owais Shah for a blistering 29. They trail by 276.