Strauss shines with 150
Andrew Strauss showed his readiness for the Test series against West Indies, with a sparkling 150, and Phillip Hughes continued his fine form to end unbeaten on 99 when rain ended play at Southgate as Middlesex dominated against Leicestershire. Much had been made of Strauss and Hughes opening together, but Billy Godleman split the international pair when he walked out with Strauss. However, he lasted just five balls before the two star acts came together and their stand was worth 244 in 53 overs. Strauss dominated the partnership with a free-flowing innings which included 22 fours and a six before he edged Wayne White to Paul Nixon. Hughes, who hit 118 against Glamorgan last week, was one short of another hundred when bad light stopped play.
Gloucestershire's lower order offered important resistance against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, with Ian Saxelby unbeaten on 54, after the top order struggled. David Wigley ended with four wickets and was central to the problems experienced by the visitors. He removed Chris Taylor and Alex Gidman in quick succession, both courtesy sharp catches, to reduce Gloucestershire to 136 for 5 before the recovery began through James Franklin. He had 38 when Nicky Boje bowled him and four balls later Boje trapped Jon Lewis lbw. However, Steven Snell (47) formed a useful stand with Saxelby, until Wigley claimed his fourth to end Snell's effort thanks to a good catch at square leg. Saxelby, though, remained firm with his maiden first-class half century.
Only 38 overs were possible on the opening day at Cardiff as Glamorgan reached 79 for 2 against Derbyshire and the ground was giving a thorough test ahead of the opening Ashes encounter. There was plenty of rain for the new drainage system to handle but at one stage the ground staff had trouble getting the new cover off the square. In the play possible Graham Wagg continued his good form with both wickets to fall, but Mark Cosgrove played solidly to end unbeaten on 37.
For a full report from the opening day between Somerset and Durham at Taunton click here.
For a full report from the opening day between Yorkshire and Worcestershire at Headingley click here.