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July 18, 2008
Kent were left on the brink of a thumping defeat as they closed on 163 for 6 chasing a distant target of 463 at Taunton. Somerset had extended their second innings to 243 for 8, with Justin Langer finishing on 88, when they declared at lunch. Kent, without Robert Key who was absent attending the birth of his son, lost three wickets in an afternoon shorted by rain, and in the final session top scorer Martin van Jaarsveld gloved an attempted hook as the players trotted on and off. With the forecast tomorrow much improved, Somerset could go top, albeit briefly, if the wrap up the game quickly.
Hampshire were also staring defeat in the face after they closed on 127 for 7 in their second innings at Arundel, still 42 runs short of making Sussex bat again. Greg Lamb (54) led some spirited resistance at the end of Hampshire's first innings as their last four wickets added 126, but following-on 163 in arrears, none of their batsmen looked like playing the necessary anchor innings. Ollie Rayner made the most of Mushtaq Ahmed's absence to pick up 4 for 49. The temperature was raised early on when Lamb refused to walk for a catch Chris Adams claimed at slip and the umpires were unable to confirm the catch. Adams simmered for an over before engaging in a row with non striker Nic Pothas, prompting the officials to intervene.
Middlesex struggled to gain a foothold at a dank Uxbridge where the players spent more time in the pavilion that out in the middle. In what action there was, Warwickshire dominated, taking the last seven Middlesex first-innings wickets for 75. Owais Shah top scored with 42 but failed to capitalise on a missed slip catch when 25, while Chris Martin and Darren Maddy shared six wickets. The in-form Ben Scott marshalled a long lower order with determination and was last man out for 37. Following-on 223 behind, Middlesex closed on 20 for 0 after a farcical finish when the players, sat inside for two hours, returned for two overs of spin before all trooping off again for bad light.
Jonathan Clare followed his hundred yesterday with 5 for 52 as Derbyshire remained in charge against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. With poor light bringing an early tea and finish, and with the batting fairly attritional, it was a day for the purists only. Niall O'Brien provided the early impetus with 80, but when he holed out to Nayan Doshi Northamptonshire were 171 for 5, still 314 behind. Lance Klusener and Andrew Hall rebuilt the innings, although Hall was inexplicably dropped off a sitter by Dan Birch at mid-off early on. Both passed fifty, but as the gloom descended, the new ball did for Hall and an over later Clare completed his five-for by pegging back Klusener's leg stump.
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