Foster and Wright rout Leicestershire
Sixteen wickets fell on the first day, and now 19 on the second, as Durham and Hampshire hurtled towards a thrilling and high-speed denouement at Basingstoke. By the close of the second day, it was Durham who had snuck into the ascendancy despite being rolled over for 179 in their second innings. That was thanks largely to the efforts of Mark Davies in Hampshire's first innings, who picked up in the morning session where he had left off on Wednesday evening, finishing with figures of 8 for 24 as the hosts were skittled for 96. Dimitri Mascarenhas resisted briefly with five lusty fours in a 24-ball 26, but the other six batsmen from Nos. 5 to 11 managed one run between them. Still, the best place to be in this match is in the field, and Hampshire struck back determinedly through the efforts of James Tomlinson and Imran Tahir, who claimed nine wickets between them to restrict the victory target to a stiff but assailable 240. By the close, their hopes were invested in Sean Ervine, unbeaten on 26. Davies added his ninth wicket of the match but Durham's main man this time around was Callum Thorp, who took 3 for 27 out of a total of 108 for 5.
Sussex's dramatic collapse on the second morning at Hove allowed second-placed Nottinghamshire to reassert their authority, thanks largely to the efforts of Charlie Shreck with the ball, and Bilal Shafayat with the bat. Having been well-placed on 292 for 5 overnight, Sussex's last five wickets tumbled for 21 runs in 11 overs, with Shreck starring in a spell of 4 for 14. Their total of 339 was a distinct disappointment, especially as they squandered valuable batting points in the process, and thereafter it was all about Nottinghamshire's opening batsmen, Will Jefferson and Shafayat, who added 157 for the first wicket. Jefferson brought up his fifty from 78 balls with four fours and two swept sixes off Ollie Rayner, before being dismissed for 80 thanks to a cool leg-side catch from Andrew Hodd. Shafayat ploughed on, however, reaching his second century of the season with a straight six off Will Beer. Though he fell before the close for 118, Nottinghamshire were well placed to capitalise on the platform he had laid.
For the second day running, Lancashire's clash with Surrey was washed out at at Blackpool
Click here for John Ward's second-day report from Scarborough, where Yorkshire are firmly in control against Kent.
James Foster's second hundred of the season, and a career-best 6 for 22 for Chris Wright, powered Essex to a thumping innings-and-74-run victory inside two days at Grace Road, as Leicestershire's batting capitulated for the second day running. When Essex resumed on their overnight 144 for 4, with a slender lead of 37, there was still the prospect of a spirited fightback, but Foster, on 28 not out, scotched such a notion with a superb display. He struck 16 fours in an unbeaten 132, and added 128 for the fifth wicket with Jaik Mickleburgh, who made 60. Essex were all out on the stroke of tea, but their total of 335 was quickly put into context when Leicestershire slumped to 59 for 7 in reply. Wright was the beneficiary of a rash of dreadful strokes, and though Claude Henderson and Nadeem Malik salvaged some pride with 50 and 41 not out respectively, their humiliation was completed when Wright returned to wrap up the tail.
Jonathan Trott boosted Warwickshire's prospects of an immediate return to Division One with a superb 181, as Derbyshire's bowlers were made to toil on the second day at Edgbaston. Trott batted for nearly nine hours, and struck 18 fours in a 363-ball innings, as Warwickshire eventually declared on a hefty 476 for 9. Such a total hadn't seemed on the cards when Charl Langeveldt removed Andre Botha for a duck to leave the home side wobbling on 240 for 6, but Trott found a sterling ally in Ian Salisbury, who made a pugnacious 64, and then the England Under-19 seamer, Chris Woakes, who made 45. By the close, however, Derbyshire had recognised the conditions were good for batting, and their openers had not been separated in an 83-run stand.
Niall O'Brien was teasingly placed on 99 not out at the close of the second day at Wantage Road as Northamptonshire recovered from some early wobbles to reach a steady 213 for 4 in reply to Glamorgan's 287 all out. Johan van der Wath had needed only three balls in the morning session to dismiss Glamorgan's No. 11, Adam Shantry, and so wrap up his five-wicket haul, but that set something of a precedent as Shantry struck back twice in his opening spell to remove Stephen Peters and Rob White for 1 and 8 respectively. Shantry later added a third, Riki Wessels, for 10, while Alex Wharf accounted for David Sales to reduce Northants to a shaky 103 for 4. But O'Brien and Lance Klusener ensured against further mishap, to leave the game delicately poised at the halfway mark.