Leaders Yorkshire struggle on opening day
Anthony McGrath's 72 and a resolute 42 from Adil Rashid bailed Yorkshire out of deep water against Surrey on the first day at Headingley as their team-mates struggled against the spin of Harbhajan Singh. But it was Matthew Nicholson, the former Australia fast bowler, who made the early inroads, dismissing Joe Sayers and Craig White in quick succession before Rikki Clarke snared the big wickets of Younis Khan (29) and Jacques Rudolph (4). After patiently nudging his way to 72, McGrath fell to Harbhajan who picked up three wickets for one run in the space of 24 balls. The Championship leaders struggled to 203 for 8 at stumps.
A magnificent 112 from Dale Benkenstein rescued Durham from a perilous 29 for 5 to leave them in the promising position of 245 for 7 at stumps on the first day against Hampshire at Chester-le-Street. Dimitri Mascarenhas showed the sort of form he lacked during his first few matches for England, in the recently concluded one-day series against West Indies, grabbing the first four wickets. But Benkenstein found an ally in Ben Harmison, brother of Steve, with whom he put on 156 for the sixth wicket. Harmison fell shortly before the close for a dogged 66, trapped lbw by Michael Carberry, but importantly Benkenstein remained unbeaten going into the second day.
Martin van Jaarsveld anchored Kent's first innings against Warwickshire with a fighting 67 on the first day at Canterbury. Warwickshire, who were asked to field, eventually broke through Kent's openers and removed Robert Key for 25. Their bowlers continued to plug away, dismissing Joe Denly for 36, James Tredwell for 11 and Darren Stevens for 6. But van Jaarsveld was defiant, cracking 11 fours in his fifty to guide Kent through to 195 for 4 at the close.
Derbyshire's seamers reduced Glamorgan to 69 for 3 on a soggy and shortened day at Derby. Jimmy Maher and Gareth Rees got Glamorgan off to a steady, if rather turgid start, putting on 29 for the first wicket before Graham Wagg trapped Maher in front for 16. Ryan Watkins and Ben Wright both fell in quick succession, but Rees remained unbeaten on a fighting 25 before rain cut the day short after 33 overs.
Ravi Bopara struck a fluent 69 to guide Essex to 155 for 2 on a reduced first day against Somerset at Taunton. Varun Chopra and Mark Pettini put on a useful 59 for the first wicket for Essex after they were put in before Charl Willoughby trapped Chopra leg-before on 44. Pettini and Bopara then put on a brisk 93 for the second wicket, giving the game a much needed hurry-up, with Bopara smacking ten fours and a six until falling to Andy Caddick.
The first day between Leicestershire and Middlesex at Grace Road was washed out without a ball bowled.