Hunter gathers for Derbyshire
Ian Hunter claimed career-best figures of 5 for 46 as Derbyshire secured a handy first-innings lead of 132 against Essex at Chelmsford. After resuming on 29 for 0 overnight, Essex were bowled out for 194 in 69 overs with James Foster top-scoring in tricky conditions with 40 from 67 balls. After a 50-run opening stand, Hunter claimed the quick wickets of Jason Gallian and Jaik Mickleburgh to destabilise the innings, and returned for a second spell as Essex slipped from a steady 140 for 4 to 151 for 8 and in danger of the follow-on. Foster, who was dropped as Derbyshire missed three catches, kept the tail afloat for a while in partnership with David Masters (20), and Essex would finished the day on a relative high when Masters returned with the early wicket of Steve Stubbings, caught in the slips, in Derbyshire's second innings.
After being stranded on 95 not out for the whole of a rain-abandoned second day, Andrew Hall duly ticked off his first century of the season as Northamptonshire took command against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Hall made 124 in a total of 387, whereupon Johan van der Wath and David Lucas routed the top-order with a devastating new-ball burst. From the depths of 19 for 5, Leicestershire rallied, however, with Jim Allenby digging in for an unbeaten 50, with Sam Cliff providing stoical support from No. 10 with 25 not out. At the close Leicestershire had reached 150 for 8, still 88 short of saving the follow-on an facing a final-day battle to survive.
No play was possible on the third day at The Oval, as Surrey remained in a precarious position on 18 for 3 in their first innings.