County Championship round-up June 30, 2008

Bell's form boosts Warwickshire

Cricinfo staff

Second Division

Warwickshire will be pleased with their efforts on the second day at Edgbaston, preventing Gloucestershire from building too much on their overnight 190 for 2 by dismissing them for 339 and then advancing to 143 for 2. Ian Bell was unbeaten on 95 and while runs have not been too hard to come by in international one-day cricket, he will be pleased to have got a handy first-class score under his belt with the South Africa Test series looming. He came in early after Michael Powell was caught at second slip and then made the lion's share of a 100-run stand with Navdeep Poonia (26). Warwickshire struck early in the morning, removing Marcus North for 10, but it was Hamish Marshall's wicket, caught at midwicket off Neil Carter that was the main prize and although Steven Snell made an unbeaten fifty, the rest of the batting tailed off, Chris Martin ending with 5 for 84. Alex Gidman is in doubt for the rest of the match after dislocating his thumb in practice, although he did bat at No. 7.

Andrew Strauss hasn't made best use of his pre-Test warm-up after another failure for Middlesex. Batting a second time, with his side having conceded a 37-run lead to Northamptonshire at Uxbridge, Strauss was dismissed exactly as he was in the first innings - caught behind off Johann van der Wath. Having dismissed Middlesex for 340 in the first session (Dawid Malan was not out on 132), Northamptonshire rallied through a 122-run second-wicket stand between Stephen Peters (56) and Rob White (126). White was away in a hurry and didn't look back until he was dismissed after scoring his second hundred this season; it came from just 103 balls and contained 19 fours and three sixes. Middlesex did well to cut the visitors down to 377 in the end, but van der Wath quickly left them hurting at 4 for 2 in the two overs possible before close.

On a twisting and turning day at Chelmsford, Essex came out the better - ending with a second-innings lead of 192 on Derbyshire. Ryan ten Doeschate couldn't add to his overnight 118 and Essex's innings ended on 404. Derbyshire had slipped to 120 for 5, but were making a recovery thanks to Greg Smith and James Pipe when proceedings took an unlikely turn, courtesy of Ravi Bopara. Pipe was cruising on 95 when Bopara removed the final four wickets - each batsman getting a duck - and he was left stranded. Bopara, who barely bowled in the one-day series, claimed 4 for 3 from nine balls, having trapped Johnathan Clare and Graham Wagg in front, then finding Jake Needham's edge and bowling Charl Langeveldt. Smith ended with 53 and Wavell Hinds 47 as Derbyshire finally made 270. Alastair Cook again looked in good touch after his first innings 95 before steering a widish delivery outside off stump high into the hands of third slip. He was one of Langeveldt's two wickets as Essex lost three in the final session leaving the visitors with some hope at stumps.

Vikram Solanki's century helped Worcestershire to continue to dominate a match in which Leicestershire are in all kinds of peril at Grace Road. Solanki's hundred came up from 165 balls, with 15 fours and a six then Ben Smith converted his overnight 14 to 74 as Worcestershire ran up 379 and then made handy inroads into Leicestershire's second innings. A three-day finish beckons with the home side four wickets down, still trailing by 21. Kabir Ali struck to remove both openers - Tom New missing a drive and Matthew Boyce trapped lbw - then Steve Magoffin and Simon Jones took one each.

First Division

Durham edged ahead of Yorkshire at Headingley with a 75-run lead by stumps on day two, but Michael Vaughan's return to form would have encouraged the Leeds faithful. Durham had been jolted by Tim Bresnan's double the day before and continued to stumble to 161 for 7 before a stellar rear-guard effort from Phil Mustard and Liam Plunkett, two recent England players trying to force their way back, secured them a lead of 163. Mustard's 92 was a season-high while Plunkett's unbeaten 68 in his first bat of the competition couldn't have been timed better as the pair added a Durham eighth-wicket record of 143 in 34 overs. Yorkshire appeared to have lost the plot when Australian import Callum Thorp reduced them to 13 for 2 but the deficit was chipped away at thanks to a positive third-wicket unbroken partnership between Vaughan (43) and Adam Lyth (33).

Fifties from Matthew Wood and Mark Wagh allowed Nottinghamshire to gain a 44-run lead over Hampshire on the second day's play at The Rose Bowl. From an overnight 13 without loss, Nottinghamshire lost Will Jefferson early but Wood and Wagh - dropped at slip by Michael Lumb on 0 - combined to put on 149. Wood hit 12 boundaries in his 77, only his second half-century of the season, while Wagh picked up his sixth in scoring 66 from 128 balls. Once they were removed by Nantie Hayward Nottinghamshire's middle order slipped up, despite Adam Voges' 49, and it took some solid application from Chris Read and Andre Adamds to ensure a good start wasn't squandered.

Click here for a full report on the second day between Surrey and Kent at The Oval.

Click here for a report on all the action at Hove, where Stuart Law ruled for Lancashire against Sussex.