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August 31, 2007
Durham swept to a convincing five-wicket win over Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street, chasing down the required 276 runs inside 70 overs. Worcestershire, who resumed the day on 330 for 8 with Gareth Batty the last recognised batsman at the crease, did well to set Durham such a sizeable target. Resuming on his overnight 27, Batty launched a bristling counterattack and cracked 11 fours and two sixes in his 72. But a target of 276 was never likely to trouble Durham, and in spite of losing Shivnarine Chanderpaul and four other wickets, Gordon Muchall saw them home with an unbeaten 64.
Surrey built on their solidly laid foundations on the first day, reaching a daunting 556, before taking two cheap Hampshire wickets to put them in control of their match at the Rose Bowl. Mark Ramprakash eventually fell for 188 while Mark Butcher notched a round hundred to end the pair's brilliant 225-run stand. James Benning flayed 42 from 37 balls, and useful contributions from Surrey's lower-order chivvied their total past 550. To end an excellent day, Michael Carberry was dismissed for a duck before Chris Schofield trapped Michael Brown lbw for 22, leaving Hampshire limping on 47 for 2.
Lancashire and Kent each took 10 points on the final day at Canterbury, as their match ended in a tame draw. Set an unlikely 430 to win, Lancashire crawled to 150 for 2 at tea, ending their hopes of pushing for a win. Their victory charge was also affected by the retirement of Stuart Law who, shortly after passing 1000 runs for the season, was rapped on his finger by Martin Saggers. Paul Horton made a calm 69 while Steve Croft was left unbeaten on 59.
A resilient 132 from Ryan ten Doeschate dug Essex out of a sizeable hole to help his side set Derbyshire 402 to win on the second day at Derby. With a first innings lead of 133 under their belts, Essex's batsmen stumbled to Tom Lungley (3 for 58) who reduced the visitors to 57 for 5. However, ten Doeschate was in defiant form, smacking 15 fours and three sixes in his 153-ball hundred and enjoyed a seventh-wicket stand of 122 with Andy Bichel who carved a bristling 74. Bichel then struck two early blows, removing Phil Weston (15) and his countryman Michael Dighton to leave Derbyshire wobbling on 104 for 3, requiring a further 298 runs to win.
Kadeer Ali, Craig Spearman and Hamish Marshall each struck hundreds to put Gloucestershire firmly in control of their match against Leicestershire at Leicester. Spearman and Ali put on 201 for the opening stand before David Masters had Spearman caught behind. But Ali strode on, stroking 20 fours before he fell six short of a career best - also to Masters. Gloucestershire's greedy day continued with Marshall (123) and a pair of fifties from Alex Gidman (59) and Chris Taylor (61), to take the visitors to 558 for 7 at stumps: a lead of 329.
Middlesex almost matched Nottinghamshire's 473, falling one run short, on the third day at Lord's in a match heading towards a draw. Neither Ed Smith or Eoin Morgan, the two overnight batsmen, could build on their promising innings, both falling in the early overs. But Middlesex's lower-order chipped and chivvied - all eleven reaching double figures - before they were bowled out for 472. Andre Adams picked up 4 for 127. In reply, Nottinghamshire moved to 96 for 1.
A fine bowling performance from Somerset has put them in control of their match against Glamorgan at Taunton. Resuming on 55 for 1, Glamorgan immediately lost their young wicketkeeper, William Bragg, as Charl Willoughby (3 for 65), Andy Caddick (3 for 64) and Steffan Jones (3 for 45) chipped away to dismiss them for 233. Somerset lost their top three in their second innings, but James Hildreth (56*) steadied the ship and the hosts lead by 332 going into the third day.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough