Sayers century puts Yorkshire in command
Joe Sayers' century and substantial contributions from Yorkshire's middle-order batsmen put them in an extremely strong position against Somerset at Taunton as the home side paid for a poor fielding display. Sayers, who was dropped at slip off Andy Caddick when he had 30, scored 152 after losing his opening partner Jacques Rudolph for duck, while Adam Lyth, also given a life, made 71 and Jonathan Bairstow 54 not out to take Yorkshire to 329 for 5, leading by 441 runs heading into the final day. Earlier Matthew Hoggard had Charl Willoughby caught behind to ensure that Somerset made no addition to their overnight score of 326 and secured a 112-run first-innings lead for Yorkshire.
Derbyshire's bowlers limited the damage caused by a first-innings stumble to set up an intriguing final day against Leicestershire at Derby. Derbyshire resumed on the third morning at 188 for 2 and progressed to 207 before Garry Park was caught off George Walker for 72. Iain O'Brien then hit his stride, ripping out six Derbyshire batsmen for 87 runs and helped Leicestershire dismiss the hosts for 365, clinching a handy 47-run lead in the first innings. O'Brien's spell brought 5 for 13 in 23 balls while Tom New continued to impress with six catches. Leicestershire's batsmen failed to capitalise on that slender advantage, though, and they slumped to 92 for 5 before a valuable sixth-wicket partnership worth 51 between Jim Allenby and New. Allenby was eventually dismissed for 52 but New remained unbeaten on 63 to steer Leicestershire to 209 for 7 at stumps, leading by 256 runs with three wickets in hand.
Mark Ramprakash scored the fourth century against his former team to lift Surrey's hopes of a sizeable first-innings lead against Middlesex at Lord's but they were dashed by the left-arm spin of Murali Kartik. Surrey began the day on 186 for 2, trailing Middlesex by 199 runs, and Ramprakash moved on from 64 to 136 before he was lbw to Kartik, who operated for much of the day with a negative leg-stump line. It took his tally against Middlesex since leaving 10 years ago to 1009 runs. Usman Afzaal chipped in with 58 before being caught at deep square-leg, but there were no contributions from the lower-order batsmen as Kartik ran through them to finish with 5 for 65. Surrey eventually managed only 392, ahead only by seven runs. Middlesex's openers, Billy Godleman and Nick Compton, wiped out that deficit and progressed to 38 for 0 at stumps.
Gloucestershire's lower-order batsmen will have to play remarkably in order to pull off a victory - they need 201 more with five wickets in hand - against Kent at Beckenham. Kent began the day on 146 for 6 in their second innings, ahead by only 214 runs, and started badly by losing three quick wickets to slump to 179 for 9, with Steve Kirby completing his five-wicket haul. They were revived, however, by their last pair, Ryan McLaren and Simon Cook who scored 42 and 40 respectively to push the score up to 266, with an overall lead of 332. Azhar Mahmood and James Tredwell consolidated Kent's position by striking regularly to deny Gloucestershire momentum in their chase. Mahmood took 3 for 11 in 11 overs, including the key late scalps of Hamish Marshall caught at slip and Craig Spearman leg before, while Tredwell picked up 2 for 50 off 20 to limit Gloucestershire to 131 for 5 at stumps.