Pietersen builds on Tomlinson's efforts
Hampshire took complete control against bottom-side Somerset at Taunton after bowling them out for 126 and then racing to 194 for 3 by the close. Somerset were put in on a damp pitch and the move proved inspired as James Tomlinson took 6 for 12 in 4.2 overs to leave them at 23 for 6. Craig Kieswetter (32) and Ben Phillips (39) helped the home side scramble into three figures before Tomlinson returned to help polish off the tail, finishing with a career-best 8 for 46. Hampshire looked as if they would also struggle as both openers fell cheaply, but thereafter Kevin Pietersen and John Crawley dominated with a third-wicket stand of 190. Pietersen was at his imperious best, bringing up his fifty off 58 balls and his hundred off 158; he was caught behind after reaching three figures, but Crawley remained unbeaten on 78.
Championship leaders Nottinghamshire hit back after being bowled out for 202 by Kent at Trent Bridge, Ryan Sidebottom grabbing three wickets in 19 balls to reduce the visitors to 33 for 4 in reply at the close. Nottinghamshire did not bat well against a ball that seamed considerably, losing all ten wickets to catches, with Darren Stevens (3 for 42) and Martin Saggers (3 for 54) reaping the rewards. Adam Voges (43) and Samit Patel (39) dug deep in an attritional afternoon session, but the tail offered little and the last five wickets fell for 59. But Sidebottom gave a timely reminder to Geoff Miller, the chief selector, who was watching from the stands, with his late burst.
Essex fought back well against Middlesex at Chelmsford thanks to James Middlebrook's first five-wicket haul since 2004. He took 5 for 59 as Middlesex, who had been coasting on 192 for 2, were pegged back to close on 263 for 7. Middlesex were stuck in on a green pitch but Andrew Strauss (88) and Billy Godleman (29) put on 85 for the first wicket with no alarms until Middlebrook struck twice in successive overs. Strauss and Ed Joyce (66) added 107 for the third wicket but the dismissal of Strauss, caught behind cutting, triggered a last-session slide during which Joyce fell leg before to Ryan ten Doeschate.
Only an eighth-wicket stand of 81 between Jonathan Clare (66) and Tom Lungley (50) spared Derbyshire's blushes after they had crumbled to 128 for 7 against Warwickshire in Derby. Winning the toss on a pitch which offered bounce to the bowlers, Derbyshire reached 47 for 0 before losing seven wickets for 81. Lungley and Clare, who was dropped on 30, both reached maiden first-class half-centuries, and even when Lungley was removed by Darren Maddy, Charl Langeveldt (24) hung round to further frustrate the bowlers. Derbyshire were finally dismissed for 270 and Warwickshire reached 14 for 0 in reply.