Pothas denies Warwickshire
Division OneThree wickets apiece for Ryan McLaren and James Tredwell wrapped up Kent's innings-and-79-run win against Surrey at Whitgift School. Mark Ramprakash hit 108, but it was always going to be in a losing cause as wickets fell regularly at the other end, and he was last out to Tredwell. Surrey had begun the final day showing some fight as Ramprakash and Ali Brown extended their fourth-wicket stand to 129 before Brown was bowled by Tredwell for 68. McLaren struck twice in two balls to remove Ian Salisbury and the injured Rikki Clarke, leaving the tail to support Ramprakash to his latest hundred - his fifth in the Championship this season. Surrey, though, soon fell to their fourth defeat and remain rooted in the bottom two.
Sussex negotiated two sessions of Muttiah Muralitharan to secure a draw against Lancashire at Hove, although late wickets kept the day alive. Chris Nash and Richard Montgomerie opened with 93, but Muralitharan was a constant threat and removed Nash and Michael Yardy in three balls. James Anderson shifted Montgomerie and Muralitharan then claimed Chris Adams and Murray Goodwin to leave Sussex five down. They'd never entertained a target of 302 after Lancashire batted through the first session. Steven Croft's first Championship half century was the mainstay and Mark Chilton was able to resume his innings, as x-rays ruled out any breaks to his elbow, after he was hit on the third evening.
Nic Pothas' unbeaten 126 guided Hampshire to a draw against Warwickshire at Edgbaston after they'd wobbled to 85 for 4. The seamers made early inroads before Pothas and John Crawley (73) combined to add 121 and put Hampshire on course for safety. Darren Maddy had Crawley caught behind and Naqqash Tahir claimed two in three balls to keep Warwickshire in the hunt for a late dash at a target. But Pothas, who'd brought up three figures off 135 balls, remained steadfast, while Chris Tremlett provided some late shots when the pressure was off.
Division TwoEd Joyce guided Middlesex to a seven-wicket victory against Somerset at Lord's with a run-a-ball 45. Despite the early loss of Nick Compton they needed less than an hour to reach their target of 138 following Chris Silverwood's 6 for 49 yesterday which bowled out Somerset for 339.
There was a thrilling final day at Oakham School, although Nottinghamshire will be rueing a victory chance which they let slip against Leicestershire. Set 377 to win they were on course following an opening stand of 123 between Jason Gallian and Bilal Shafayat and a continuation of David Hussey's prolific form as he hit 79 off 65 balls. Hussey and Mark Wagh (78) had added 126 for the fourth wicket, leaving Nottinghamshire 66 short of their target when both players fell within a run of each other. Nick Walker then struck three times to remove a trio of allrounders who had the hitting power to finish the game and, with two wickets remaining, Nottinghamshire brought down the shutters.
England's batting stocks are extremely healthy, but Ravi Bopara provided further evidence of his ability with an expertly paced, unbeaten 147 as Essex completed a four-wicket win against Glamorgan in the final over at Swansea. David Hemp set Essex 323 in 78 overs, expecting his spinners to be a major threat, but Robert Croft went wicketless and Dean Cosker only collected two. A second-wicket stand of 169 between Bopara and Mark Pettini (79) laid the foundation for the run chase, then James Foster provided another valuable partner in a stand of 61. Bopara's ton came off 153 balls and he remained to the end, sealing the result alongside James Middlebrook, bringing Essex their second win of the season.
Gloucestershire took a strong hold against Northamptonshire on the second day of their match at Gloucester although their batting failed to build on an impressive position. From 352 for 4 the last six wickets fell for 42 once Alex Gidman had been trapped by Lance Klusener for 130. Monty Panesar finally found some success with two late wickets as he put in 35 overs of hard work. The bowler-dominated day continued with Northamptonshire crashing to 91 for 7, promising left-arm spinner Vikram Banerjee claiming three. Panesar showed how his batting has improved by halting the collapse, supporting Klusener for an hour and a half, as the eighth wicket added 51, but the visitors are still facing the follow-on.