Bichel hurts Middlesex with brisk ton
Paul Wiseman and Graham Onions made useful inroads into Hampshire's strong batting lineup who struggled against Durham on the first day at The Rose Bowl. Choosing to bat, Hampshire lost Michael Brown and John Crawley, both for ducks, before Michael Carberry and Michael Lumb put on 82 for the third wicket. After hitting 10 fours in his 70, Lumb was trapped lbw by Wiseman as Hampshire went to stumps on 160 for 5.
Lancashire moved to 164 for 1 on the opening day against Kent at Old Trafford. Only 50 overs were possible due to the heavy rain affecting large parts of the north of England, but there was enough time for Iain Sutcliffe and Mal Loye to each notch half-centuries. Loye was typically aggressive, crunching nine fours and a six in his 62 while Sutcliffe played the anchor role.
Kabir Ali took three quick wickets for Worcestershire who reduced Warwickshire to 86 for 4 on a damp day at Edgbaston. Rain delayed the start of play by 75 minutes before Ali's new-ball partner, Doug Bollinger bowled Darren Maddy - shouldering arms - for 5. And then Ali struck, removing Ian Westwood, Kumar Sangakkara and Jonathan Trott in quick succession. He ought to have had Jim Troughton caught, too, when he edged him to first slip but the wicketkeeper, Steven Davies, dived in front and spilled it. Half-an-hour after lunch, rain and bad light forced the players off for the day.
There was no play between Yorkshire and Sussex at Headingley due to heavy rain.
Andy Bichel cracked a brilliant 102 from 138 balls to give Essex the upper hand on the opening day against Middlesex at a gloomy Lord's. In ideal bowling conditions, Chris Silverwood and Chaminda Vaas reduced Essex to 55 for 5, before Ryan ten Doeschate and James Middlebrook rescued a sinking ship with a sixth wicket stand of 42. But it was Bichel who transformed the whole feel of the day with his destructive hundred coming from 137 balls and containing three sixes and nine fours. Owing to the slow, damp outfield, his team-mates had earlier struggled to gain full value from their strokes, but Bichel had no such problem and brought up his hundred with a huge six over square-leg. He perished in the following over to Murali Kartik, attempting an equally ambitious shot, but his knock has put Essex in command when all seemed lost.
Andy Caddick rolled back the years with three wickets in 17 balls to help Somerset reduce Gloucestershire to 69 for 4 at Bristol. Caddick, returning to the team after a side strain, began the day with four successive maidens before the rain came down after 7.5 overs. The match resumed at 5.15pm and, with his seventh ball after the break, Caddick had Kadeer Ali caught by Marcus Trescothick low at first slip. Hamish Marshall and Chris Taylor both fell in the same fashion, caught by Trescothick, as Somerset made the most of a shortened day.
Only 18 overs were possible on the opening day at Northampton, but Leicestershire's bowlers made the most of the shortened day to reduce Northamptonshire to 53 for 3 at stumps. That they reached the heady heights of 53 owed much to Riki Wessels who, coming to the crease at 9 for 3, cracked 37 from 46 balls to restore some respectability. David Masters picked up 2 for 24, and Stuart Broad 1 for 24.
There was no play on the opening day at Nottingham between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire due to rain.