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July 11, 2009
Stephen Moore continued his fine form with his first Championship hundred of the summer, as Worcestershire set Lancashire a testing 264 to win on the second day at Old Trafford. Lancashire were rolled for 145 at the start of the day, with Matt Mason recording 7 for 39, but thereafter Moore took control on a pitch offering less swing and seam than on the first day. He and Ben Smith added 79 for the third wicket, before Gary Keedy sparked Lancashire into life with two quick wickets, later prompting a brilliant run-out from Steven Croft to remove Steven Davies. By then, however, Moore had posted his fine century, and Mal Loye and Paul Horton negotiated the 13 overs to guide Lancashire to 40 without loss, still needing a further 224 to win.
Alfonso Thomas lifted Somerset to 510 at Taunton with a county-best 70 before the rain arrived to halt a positive Hampshire response at 83 without loss. Thomas and James Hildreth carried their overnight stand to 87 before Hildreth's fine innings was ended for 155 when he chipped to mid-on, but Hampshire struggled to wrap up the innings. David Stiff, who was promoted up the order in Somerset's memorable chase against Yorkshire, made a useful 25 in a 53-run stand with Thomas. However, the Hampshire openers emphasised how good the pitch is for batting as they raced along with a flurry of boundaries - 15 coming in the 14 overs before the rain wiped out the final session.
Leicestershire are within sight of their first win of their Championship season after another Middlesex batting collapse, on the second day at Grace Road. Resuming on 137 for 6 the home side reached the lofty heights of 244, an overall lead of 85, thanks to an innings of great maturity from the much admired 18-year-old Josh Cobb, who was ninth man out for a season's-best 95. In reply, it was a familiar story for Middlesex as Iain O'Brien, who took six in the first innings, bowled Nick Compton with a fine yorker, before Billy Godleman, Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan followed in quick succession. Middlesex were in a hole at 50 for 40, a pit that became even deeper when Jim Allenby removed Dawid Malan and David Nash, leaving the tourists in the hopeless position of 76 for 6, still trailing by nine runs.
Joe Denly and Robert Key gave Kent an ideal platform to their first innings at The Oval as they added an unbroken 152 in reply to Surrey's 386. Denly, who impressed for England Lions against the Australians last week, hit seven boundaries and two sixes - off Murtaza Hussain and Chris Schofield - while Key hit his first Championship half-century of the season in a timely return to form. Key survived a strong shout for a catch at the wicket, while Denly was also let off a very close lbw decision, but the pair cracked 80 runs in boundaries alone to speed Kent's reply. Surrey were given a lower-order boost by Schofield and Hussain who added 56 for the ninth wicket.
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