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July 31, 2008
Stephen Moore and Vikram Solanki utterly dominated the second day against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, batting through among the rain, to end with unbeaten centuries in a second-wicket stand so far worth a mighty 301. By the curtailed close, with only 56.3 overs of the second day, Moore was on 120 and Solanki 179 from 161 balls in what was the highest second-wicket partnership in Worcestershire's history, beating the 300 between Philip Weston and Graeme Hick against India in 1996. The pair also brought up personal milestones - Solanki passing 13,000 first-class runs and Moore reaching 1000 runs for the season - as they carried on flawlessly on a decent batting surface. Worcestershire now lead by 42 runs with nine wickets remaining.
Glamorgan fought back on the second to leave their game against Essex delicately poised at Garon Park. The visitors wrapped up the Essex innings for the addition of another 67 runs after the batting side resumed on 139 for 5 - level with Glamorgan's first effort. Essex captain Mark Pettini (21) was unable to add to his overnight score before he was caught at short mid-off in the first over of the morning. The last two wickets added 47 as Glamorgan regretted dropping Graham Napier on 0 at square leg off a skier following an attempted pull. Glamorgan's second innings suggested the wicket had flattened out from the opening day as they reached 252 for 5 at the close with consistent contributions down the order. Robert Croft was unexpectedly promoted to open as a pinch-hitter to take advantage of the new ball but he soon edged through off Napier. Conventional opening pair Richard Grant (75) and Gareth Rees (62) then put on 120 for the second wicket before a flurry of wickets gave Essex the ascendancy once more. Michael Powell (36 not out) and Mark Wallace (26 not out) added an unbeaten 62 for the sixth wicket to leave Glamorgan 185 runs in front on a slightly truncated day owing to rain which lopped off seven overs.
HD Ackerman's agonising 199 boosted Leicestershire to a strong 432. The side were helped by Tom Smith - the on-loan Lancashire player registering his maiden Championship fifty from 28 matches - and Claude Henderson, who was unbeaten on 53. Ian Salisbury took the final three wickets to end with a haul of 5 for 87. Darren Maddy and Navdeep Poonia began the reply for Warwickshire when play was called off for the day at Grace Road.
There was no play on Thursday between Northamptonshire and Derbyshire at Chesterfield because of rain.
The leaders Nottinghamshire slipped to 114 for 4 in reply to Durham's 266, with Bilal Shafayat carrying their hopes through an unbeaten fifty at Trent Bridge. Only 32 overs were played, but it was enough for Steve Harmison to claim two wickets after being left out of the Test team, including Matt Wood in the 3.4 overs of the morning session. Callum Thorp and Dale Benkenstein also make inroads to leave the match finely balanced.
Solid innings from Zander de Bruyn and Marcus Trescothick launched a positive reply for Somerset after Sussex reached 419 at Horsham. Justin Langer could only manage 15 before being removed by Robin Martin-Jenkins but the second-wicket pair continued undaunted until Jason Lewry broke the stand when it was worth 141. Trescothick departed not long afterwards, another victim for Martin-Jenkins, falling eight short of his century and Peter Trego fell shortly before the close to Luke Wright.
Yasir Arafat took six wickets to finish off Hampshire for 367, but Joe Denly and Rob Key responded well with an opening stand of 110, Kent ending up on 241 for 3 at Canterbury. Key was dropped on 33 at slip and Denly was given two lives, on 24 at mid-off and 28 in the slips. Both batsmen will have been frustrated to miss out on their centuries after being given second chances, while Imran Tahir had two victims in his pocket. Hampshire's last five wickets fell for 40 and that could prove crucial in the final outcome.
Only 13.3 overs were possible at Headingley, where Yorkshire added 30 runs without any loss before play was called off at 1.40pm. They still trail Surrey by 124 runs but crucially have all ten wickets remaining in their first innings and are well placed to erase the deficit.
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