Tremlett and Warne revive Hampshire's ambition
Chris Tremlett and Shane Warne prevented Durham from climbing to the summit of Division One while reviving Hampshire's own title ambitions. Durham made a promising start chasing their target of 254 at the Rose Bowl , Michael Di Venuto following his first-innings century with a 66-ball fifty in an opening stand of 83 with Will Smith. After Tremlett had Di Venuto caught by John Crawley, Warne entered the fray to take five of the next six wickets, four of which were lbw, making his match figures 11 for 116. Warne also chipped in with two catches as Tremlett returned to run through the tail. His 4 for 47, along with the first innings 3 for 63 and 62 not out, completed a fine all-round game for Tremlett and served as a useful reminder to the national selectors ahead of the England one-day squad announcement on Friday.
Lancashire earned their second win of the season to keep their title hopes alive, thanks to a second Kent collapse in as many days. Muttiah Muralitharan again proved the match winner at Old Trafford, taking his second four-wicket haul of the match and reducing Kent from a position of relative comfort, at 153 for 3, to 190 all out. A century stand from Martin Van Jaarsveld and Darren Stevens gave Kent hope of a draw, but the turning point came when Stevens was run out for 55 and Geraint Jones was bowled by his former England colleague James Anderson. It was then time for Muralitharan and Gary Keedy to mop up the tail. Lancashire needed 17 balls to make their 12-run target, despite losing both openers to Simon Cook.
Yorkshire stayed on top of Division One after a rather tepid draw with Sussex, who moved into second, at Headingley . Resuming on 129 for 3, the home team added 155 from 55 overs before declaring on 284 for 6, leaving Adil Rashid stranded on 49 not out. With a target of 283 to win the match, Sussex reached 57 for 2 after 22 overs. Yorkshire, however, were more concerned with rattling through the overs to avoid a penalty, and in the final session they raced through 5.2 overs in eight minutes, Younis Khan taking a remarkable 35 seconds to bowl one of them.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire reached an inevitable draw at Edgbaston after the match was truncated by rain. Worcestershire's main task on the last day was to boost their over rate as Gareth Batty and Vikram Solanki rushed through 18 overs in 45 minutes."They weren't ideal tactics for people coming to watch," admitted Worcestershire's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, "but it was crucial to us. We were going to lose two points."
Owais Shah completed another hundred at Lord's as Middlesex safely steered their way to a draw, maintaining their unbeaten Championship record, against Essex. They resumed on 198 for 2 in their follow-on, and even though Andy Bichel had Ed Joyce caught behind without adding to his overnight score, a selection of players discarded by England all did the job for their county. Shah was James Foster's second catch of the day when Danish Kaneria dismissed him for 131, but contributions from Ed Smith and Jamie Dalrymple took Middlesex to 360 for 6 and the declaration brought an end to the match. The draw means that both teams enter the three-week break from the Championship still in touching distance of the top two.
Only 18 overs were possible on the final day between Northants and Leicestershire, which was enough time for Lance Klusener to reach fifty for the 37th time in his career, but was not nearly enough to force anything close to a result. The bad weather was no help for either side as both teams fell further behind the pace-setters in Division Two with any hope of promotion fading fast. Klusener became David Masters' seventh victim in the match before play was abandoned at Northampton with Northants 171 for 7, 291 runs ahead after a hopeful declaration by the Leicester captain Darren Robinson.
Despite the best efforts of Nottinghamshire's Mark Wagh and Samit Patel with the bat, and Charlie Shreck with the ball, the loss of the first two days made a draw at Nottingham almost inevitable. Derbyshire's bowlers were flayed to all parts in the morning as the overnight pair added 98 runs in 14 overs to set a target of 195. Early inroads were made by Shreck, who took 2 for 16 from his nine overs to go with his seven-wicket haul in the first innings, but the Derbyshire captain Simon Katich was beginning to make things look interesting. He hit an unbeaten 50 from 61 balls in adding 70 with Travis Birt, who contributed 16. At 95 for 3 though, the light faded and with it the chance of an exciting finish.