Awesome Trego secures mammoth chase
Peter Trego hit a thrilling 54-ball century as Somerset staged a remarkable run chase to beat Yorkshire by four wickets at Taunton. Set 476 in 90 overs, Trego's breathtaking display built on the earlier fine work of Arul Suppiah, who made a career-best 131 and added 187 for the first wicket Marcus Trescothick, and such was the brilliance of Somerset's pursuit they had 4.3 overs in hand at the end. It was the second highest Championship chase and eighth highest in first-class cricket.
Their timing was also proved spot on because almost as the winning run was made the rain arrived. There was some surprise when Yorkshire batted on for 20 minutes at the start of play, but they clearly knew the ground's reputation. Trescothick and Suppiah blazed away in fine style until Trescothick was bowled four short of his ton as he went to leave Matthew Hoggard. Yorkshire chipped away - Azeem Rafiq having Suppiah caught at midwicket - but Somerset's intentions were clear when David Stiff was promoted to No. 4 and clubbed a career-best 49 off 32 balls.
Justin Langer then played the anchor role while Trego exploded. He smashed nine sixes and at one stages scored 42 off 11 deliveries as Yorkshire were made to look helpless. When Langer was caught behind, Yorkshire still hand a chance but Trego was accompanied by Zander de Bruyn as the target was overhauled.
Azhar Mahmood and James Tredwell continued their impressive double act to bowl Kent to a 76-run victory against Gloucestershire at Beckenham. The home side were briefly made to sweat as Jon Lewis (61) and James Franklin (41) added 57 for the ninth wicket to eat away at the target, but there was too much left for them to do. Gloucestershire began the day on 131 for 5 need another 201 for an unlikely victory and soon lost three more wickets. Nightwatchman Vikram Banerjee fell in unlucky fashion when his back-foot drive against Tredwell flew off silly point and was caught at slip. Mahmood then trapped Steven Snell in front and Simon Cook claimed his sole wicket for the innings when Gemaal Hussain caught in the slips. Lewis and Franklin combined with good effect but their stand was ended when Geraint Jones plucked out a fine catch leaving Mahmood to wrap up the match with his fifth wicket.
Surrey flirted with defeat after against Middlesex but Mark Ramprakash completed a fine match by easing his side's nerves with an unbeaten 49 as he and Chris Jordan survived through to the end at Lord's. Steven Finn struck twice during an impressive new-ball spell and the Surrey middle order was spun out by Murali Kartik and Shaun Udal as they slipped to 55 for 5 on a surface now taking turn. With 19 overs to go Middlesex fancied their chances, but couldn't break through Ramprakash's defiance and another flat Lord's surface. Nick Compton hit an even 100 as he and Owais Shah added 120 for the second wicket to build the lead during the first part of the day and it was a strong return to form with Compton. However, in hindsight the home side may wish they'd been a little more adventurous with their declaration.
A potentially intriguing final day between Leicestershire and Derbyshire ended in damp disappointment as rain prevented any play at Derby. Both sides would have fancied their chances of victory with Leicestershire 256 ahead and having three wickets in hand, but the thunderstorms moving across the country spoilt those plans.