Excellent Essex consign Surrey to first defeat
Essex put in a tremendous performance to consign Surrey to their first defeat and keep their own hopes alive. Under Mark Butcher and Mark Ramprakash, Surrey were cruising to their target of 249, but the pair fell in successive overs, and Azhar Mahmood the next to change the complexion of the innings. Ramprakash followed up yesterday's Championship hundred with 77 from 88 balls at Whitgift School - but again he couldn't do it alone. Ryan ten Doeschate's long-hop did for Butcher, then Danish Kaneria picked off Ramprakash next over - a tame dismissal popped back to the bowler - before the next over ten Doeschate trapped Mahmood with one which cut back. "We fought back nicely today," beamed Nel. Alastair Cook made 125 from 139 balls, showing his critics that he can play the one-day game and he was Man of the Match with a fine innings. Essex now need to win their next two games.
Kent kept themselves firmly in the hunt, routing Sussex at Hove to climb to the top of the table. Andrew Hall's century - 123 from 131 balls - was the backbone of Kent's 264 which soon seemed ample as the home side slid to 31 for 3, and then 85 for 6. Yasir Arafat was the pick, with 3 for 20 from 8 overs of hostile pace, while Matt Prior's 76 from 72 balls - the only score past 20 - was always going to be in vain. James Kirtley's 5 for 46 also proved to be in a losing cause.
A day after saving Hampshire's bacon in the four-day game, Nic Pothas was helping them again - this time to victory, against lowly Glamorgan at Swansea. Pothas struck an unbeaten half-century to sit alongside Michael Lumb's 66 as Hampshire piled on 283. The bowlers then blew Glamorgan away, Stuart Clark and Chris Tremlett knocking over the top order, and Shaun Udal mopping up as Hampshire won by 137 runs.
Justin Langer's century helped Somerset create an unreachable target for Middlesex at Lord's. Langer shared in two century stands - putting on 115 with Peter Trego (75) and 138 with Cameron White (61) - on his way to 145 from 149 balls. Trego then did the honours with the ball, with a treble strike to leave them 22 for 3, a position from which they could not recover.
Nottinghamshire's win against Leicestershire helped them leap Warwickshire to second in the table at Oakham. They were indebted to their captain Stephen Fleming, whose century lifted them to 299, with good support, too, from Mark Wagh, who made 81. Leicestershire made game chase, with John Maunders and HD Ackerman sharing an opening stand of 93 , but Gareth Clough's four wickets held off the threat.
Warwickshire slipped to third at New Road, despite piling up 301 through centuries from Darren Maddy and Kumar Sangakkara. But Phil Jaques and Vikram Solanki put on 223 for the first wicket to set Worcestershire up for their eight-wicket win. Jaques fell for 102, but Solanki continued to 144 not out, and he was helped then by Ben Smith who made 44.
Derbyshire made short work of Scotland in the basement clash at Raeburn Place. Graham Wagg and Greg Smith wrecked Scotland's innings, taking seven wickets between them to skittle the home side for 102. It didn't take long for Derbyshire to knock the runs off, though they lost four wickets making their target.
Durham are sitting pretty at the top of the north division after beating Yorkshire soundly at Headingley. Scott Styris just missed out on a century, making 98, but his efforts boosted the visitors to 266, which proved insurmountable, Ottis Gibson dismissing the top three to leave them reeling at 3 for 48.