County Championship round-up

Benkenstein rescues champions as bowlers dominate

Cricinfo staff

May 6, 2009

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Division One


Mark Ramprakash completes yet another hundred, Surrey v Middlesex, The Oval, May 6, 2009
Mark Ramprakash reaches yet another hundred for Surrey at The Oval ... and keeps his average against his old side, Middlesex, in three figures © PA Photos
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Dale Benkenstein continued his impressive form as he cracked 136 to help Durham fight back from 104 for 5 to close on 318 for 7 against Sussex at Hove. Sussex's bowlers made the best of testing conditions early on, and 84 for 3 at lunch soon became something more serious for the champions as two wickets fell straight after the resumption. But Liam Plunkett (65*) and Benkenstein, who scored 181 last week against Somerset, added 148 for the seventh wicket, before Benkenstein fell in the closing overs.

Worcestershire's batting woes continued as they were bundled out for 167 by Lancashire at New Road. Glen Chapple took 6 for 34 and Sajid Mahmood claimed 4 for 65 as the home side folded in less than two sessions. The pace pair reduced Worcestershire 36 for 4 with the new ball as Chapple removed both openers - Stephen Moore caught at short leg first ball and Daryl Mitchell lbw - and Mahmood had Vikram Solanki caught down the leg side. Moeen Ali and Steven Davies began a recover as they added 88 for the fifth wicket, but when Ali was caught behind off Chapple the innings folded and the last six wickets fell for 43. Lancashire didn't find batting much easier as Chris Whelan claimed the top three, but Mark Chilton and Steven Croft steadied the innings with a positive stand of 68 before Croft was trapped lbw by Matt Mason. Chilton reached the close unbeaten on 51 as the visitors moved into a five-run advantage.

For a full report of Warwickshire against Yorkshire at Edgbaston click here.

For a full report from Nottinghamshire against Somerset at Trent Bridge click here.

Division Two

While events at Lord's dominated the headlines, a few miles to the south the lowest of low-key London derbies was taking place, and a Mark Ramprakash hundred gave Surrey the edge against Middlesex as they closed on 290 for 5 at The Oval. Ramprakash rarely fails to perform well against the county he left under a cloud - he averages a tad over 100 against them - and his unbeaten 126 held together Surrey, whose batting so far this summer has been as suspect as Ricky Hatton's chin. With Usman Afzaal (82) he posted 143 for the third wicket, but late wickets from Tim Murtagh and Alan Richardson ensured Middlesex ended the day on a high.

Kent's finances might be a more parlous state than Ireland's, but their members briefly forgot their county's woes as two 19-year-olds bailed their side out against Glamorgan at Canterbury. But for 87 from Sam Northeast and 90 from Wayne Parnell, Kent would have got nowhere near their final total of 282. Northeast, who was only called up when Joe Denly fell ill with a migraine, held together the top of the innings after Kent crashed from 63 for 0 to 84 for 5, and made the most of being dropped off the third ball of the day. One of those to fall in the collapse, Darren Stevens, was later found to have fractured a finger on his left hand after being struck by a lifter from Garnet Kruger and will be out for a month. When Northeast went caught behind, James Tredwell (59) and Parnell added 151 before Parnell's dismissal - to sharp return catch by Robert Croft, heralded the loss of the last four wickets for no runs in nine deliveries. However, Parnell wasn't quite finished as he had Gareth Rees caught in the slips, Glamorgan closing on 27 for 1.

Wickets tumbled at Bristol where Leicestershire were bowled out for 133 and Gloucestershire limped to 75 for 4 by the close. Former Zimbabwe international Anthony Ireland, only drafted in because of injury, did the bulk of the damage with 6 for 31 as Leicestershire, who were 83 for 0, lost all their wickets for 50 runs after the ball had been changed for going out of shape. Gloucestershire soon found themselves wobbling on 20 for 3 before staging a slight recovery. Alex Wyatt, making his Championship debut, impressed with 2 for 22.

Essex also lost their bearings after making a good start against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, slipping from 94 for 0 to 221 all out. Former South Africa seamer Andrew Hall, who came on third change, took 5 for 29 in two spells, triggering the collapse and then polishing off the tail. Northants reached 63 for 1 by the end, losing Niall O'Brien to the last ball of the day when he got a leading edge off Graham Napier to mid-off.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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