Five-star Croft spins Glamorgan to crushing win
Robert Croft spun Glamorgan to a walloping 220-run defeat by bowling out Essex for a lowly 78 at Garon Park. Croft took his first five-wicket haul of the season after Glamorgan played themselves back into the game yesterday, ending with 5 for 6 from 8.1 overs. At one stage he had 5 for 2 in 24 balls, having been brought on with Essex already in trouble at 50 for 5. The fast bowlers had knocked over the top order earlier. On came Croft, whose five wickets all came from catches. James Foster was caught at short square leg, then Graham Napier was taken at leg slip for a golden duck. Tim Phillips pushed an edge to first slip, David Masters was next, finding short mid-wicket, and finally Chris Wright fell in the same fashion.
Vikram Solanki continued his glorious innings to end with 270, the third-highest score at Cheltenham in its 136-year history, with Worcestershire now well-set to defeat Gloucestershire. Solanki moved on from his overnight 179 but was happy to leave Steven Davies on 99 as he declared at tea on 672 for 7. Gloucestershire closed on 128 for 4 after losing Steven Snell and Hamish Marshall early, and Kadeer Ali and Alex Gidman just before the close. North is still there on 70.
Jamie Pipe helped Derbyshire avoid the follow-on at Chesterfield despite a broken finger, as he batted bravely for 17 overs against Northamptonshire. His side certainly needed him after they had stumbled to 124 for 4, needing 250 to avoid being potentially asked to bat again. Greg Smith and Jonathan Clare also made their contributions count in a stand worth 97 which forced Derbyshire to safety. Northamptonshire's tail succumbed to Graham Wagg and the hostile pace of Charl Langeveldt, to leave them 399.
Leicestershire built on a strong second day as Nadeem Malik stamped his mark against Warwickshire with five wickets, forcing them to follow on at Grace Road. Warwickshire were all out for 267 in their first innings and then moved to 19 without loss by stumps. It was Malik's third five-for for the season and he used the swinging conditions well, while also finding some lift.
Yorkshire strengthened their grip against Surrey, with Adil Rashid and Deon Kruis firing them to a lead of 210 at Headingley. They also picked up maximum batting points as they closed on 414 for 9, no mean feat having slipped to 257 for 6 and then 282 for 7. Rashid reached 67, while Kruis brought up his first Championship fifty in the final over, ending a good day in which he had picked up a career-best 5 for 47. Yorkshire will be grateful, too, for the efforts of their groundsman, Andy Fogarty, who set about drying the pitch after a thunderstorm - at 5.15am. Now it could be time for them to register their first win after three losses in a row.
Unless the Nottinghamshire attack can make quick inroads into the Durham line-up on the final day, the match looks to be heading to a draw after much of the first two days at Trent Bridge were washed out. Durham ended with a lead of 70 on the third day, with two wickets down having started the second innings two runs behind Nottinghamshire. The home side were grateful to Bilal Shafayat who reached 100, his seventh first-class century, and even more so when they lost 4 for 22 to stumble to 199 for 8.
Michael Yardy and Matt Prior manoeuvred Sussex into a fine position against Somerset, their fifties lifting their side to a lead of 335 with five wickets remaining at Horsham. It was Prior's eighth fifty in 15 Championship innings, while Chris Adams was unbeaten on 43 at the close. Sussex are now handily placed to bid for their third win in a row. Somerset earlier lost their final six wickets for 95 as Robin Martin-Jenkins ended with three and Corey Collymore was also in the wickets.
Fifties for Sean Ervine and Nic Pothas rescued Hampshire from a wobble to set up an interesting final day at Canterbury. Azhar Mahmood had an excellent day, ripping out the top order having earlier lifted Kent with 73, but Hampshire were indebted to Ervine and Pothas who have given them a lead of 183 with four wickets remaining. The early session could prove crucial tomorrow. Earlier, Imran Tahir's fine form continued with five wickets, while James Tomlinson took four to dismiss Kent for 369 and leave the sides virtually level pegging.