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May 25, 2007
Three solid hundreds put Kent in an imposing position on the third day against Hampshire at Canterbury, with the visitors requiring another 443 to win. Robert Key brought up another hundred, falling for 120, after Martin van Jaarsveld (109) went early in the day and Darren Stevens (105) continued the flow of runs as Kent declared on 553 for 8. Hampshire remained intact at stumps, but have a tough and tense final day in store if they are to escape with a draw.
Ottis Gibson produced a strong all-round display and England hopeful Graham Onions was again the wickets to put Durham on course for victory against Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street. The visitors stumbled to a lead of 130 with one wicket remaining as Gibson and Onions shared seven victims. After slipped to 17 for 3, Anthony McGrath (62) and Jacques Rudolph (79) began a fightback, but after hitting 11 boundaries McGrath was snapped up by former New Zealand offspinner Paul Wiseman. Jacques Rudolph was eighth out, Gibson's fourth wicket, as the tail was left to try and drag out the lead. Gibson's earlier contribution with the bat of 71 was vital in extending Durham's lead to 88. At 322 for 6 parity was on the cards, but Gibson's 74-ball innings enabled the last four wickets to add 159.
Mushtaq Ahmed claimed 5 for 22 as Sussex plunged Worcestershire into the mire at New Road. Andy Hodd's 72 bolstered Sussex's first innings as they enjoyed two good days on the bounce - a rarity this season so far. With Hodd, Luke Wright smashed a quickfire 55 as the visitors declared on 512 for 8. Mushtaq then turned on the style and ran through Worcestershire's middle-order as the last seven wickets fell for 22 in 43 balls. Only Stephen Moore, with 47, offered any resistance. Worcestershire followed on and survived the one over possible, before bad light forced the players into the pavilion.
Nottinghamshire extended their lead at the top of the Division Two table with a crushing innings-and-112-run victory over Essex at Trent Bridge. Declaring on their enormous overnight total of 664 for 7, Nottinghamshire's bowlers soon had the Essex top-order in trouble, Mark Pettini falling to Mark Ealham off the 13th ball. And Ealham wasn't finished either, also dismissing Varun Chopra and Tim Phillips to leave Essex stuttering on 43 for 5. As Nottinghamshire scented victory, their fields became more attacking and gave Ryan ten Doeschate room to play his shots - which he did, stroking 14 fours in his fine 102. But he was only delaying the inevitable and, after cutting Paul Franks to Ealham in the gully, Essex's resolve was beaten.
Derbyshire collapsed against Johann van der Wath and David Wigley as Northamptonshire were left closing in on victory at Northampton. Steve Stubbings' century, and a third-wicket stand of 143 with Simon Katich, had lifted Derbyshire to 240 for 2, a narrow lead after trailing by 205. Rob White then snared Katich to open the floodgates as van der Wath and Wigley took over. The last eight wickets fell for 43 with Phil Weston unable to bat after picking up a rib injury. Northants were left chasing 79, but were handed an early jolt losing three wickets before the close although should still complete victory on the final day.
Two excellent hundreds from Grant Hodnett and Marcus North stabilised Gloucestershire's second innings, but their lead only amounts to 95 going into the final day against Somerset at Taunton. Hodnett was first to fall when he was run out for 108, ending a fine opening stand of 165 with Kadeer Ali. But North was in fine touch, clipping 14 boundaries in his unbeaten 101 to hand Gloucestershire a slim lead with six wickets remaining.
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