Butcher and Wiseman star in draws
Durham's lower order denied Lancashire victory at Chester-le-Street with Ottis Gibson hitting 54 and Paul Wiseman making a 92-ball 7. Lancashire had chipped away at the top order, Dominic Cork taking the first two wickets, and Muttiah Muralitharan claimed the key scalp of Dale Benkenstein then Phil Mustard as the visitors appeared set for their second win of the season. But Gibson had other ideas and didn't go about saving the match in traditional style, striking nine fours and a six in his 80-ball innings. He fell with the overs running out, lbw to Muralitharan, and James Anderson removed Mark Davies, but Graham Onions survived three balls. Wiseman was left to block out Muralitharan's final over; with every man around the bat he was Durham's hero.
James Tredwell's maiden first-class century in 44 games defied Yorkshire at Tunbridge Wells to make sure Kent saved the game after following on. Rob Key and Martin van Jaarsveld gave Kent a strong platform, with a second-wicket stand of 162, but then a cluster of wickets gave Yorkshire hope of finishing the job. Broken hand or not, Gough brought himself on as sixth-change trying to break the final few partnerships, but while he dismissed Geraint Jones for 15 that was to be the last victim for Kent. Tredwell, who reached 116 not out, then combined with Andrew Hall to take them way past parity. Hall struck 63 not out in an unbroken stand of 140 which earned Kent a share of the spoils.
Worcestershire were left wondering how on earth Surrey managed to escape with the draw, after they were well on course for victory at New Road. At 126 for 5 in the middle of the afternoon, and with Mark Ramprakash in the hutch, Surrey were floundering. Still miles adrift of Worcestershire's 701, they lost four more wickets throughout proceedings, but crucially not the fifth. Mark Butcher was their saviour, his painstaking 29 not out compiled during three hours and coming from 142 balls. Matt Nicholson helped to repel the attack with him, making 20 not out from 67 deliveries. It was some dogged resistance, but their bowling attack, smashed around by Worcestershire, continues to provide concern.
Sussex's season continued to take an upward curve with a convincing 166-run win against Hampshire at Arundel. Starting the day on 133 for 2, Hampshire faced a huge task and it became even tougher when Michael Lumb fell early to Naved-ul-Hasan. Michael Carberry (53) added 82 with John Crawley, who faced 174 balls for 44, until both fell in quick succession. Robin Martin-Jenkins ended stubborn resistance from the middle order and the final wicket fell to Mushtaq Ahmed, his ninth of the match.
At one point today Northamptonshire looked in danger of making a habit of close run-chases from big targets. Earlier this week, they nearly defeated Gloucestershire, but lost their bottle towards the end. At Chelmsford, they briefly threatened to hunt down 408, but Danish Kaneria's five wickets prised them out 41 runs short. The overnight pairing of Stephen Peters (93) and David Sales (67) put on 134 for the third wicket before Kaneria dismissed Sales, then Peters fell to James Middlebrook on the same score, 223. While Lance Klusener contributed a typically brisk 25, when he fell on 263 for 5, Essex had done most of the hard work.