County Championship round-up, 1st day July 31, 2009

Di Venuto and Smith score centuries for Durham

Cricinfo staff

Division One

Division One leaders, Durham, established a stranglehold on their match against Sussex at Chester-le-Street after a strong performance from their batsmen on the opening day. They lost Mark Stoneman early for 5 - caught off Yasir Arafat - but that wicket was Sussex's only success for a long time as Michael Di Venuto and Will Smith combined for a 235-run partnership for the second wicket. Di Venuto ended the day unbeaten on 141 but Smith was bowled by Corey Collymore for 101 shortly before stumps as Durham reached 264 for 2 at stumps.

Nottinghamshire's bowlers found the going tough at Taunton as a succession of Somerset batsmen got stuck in and led the hosts to 316 for 5 at the end of the first day. Marcus Trescothick, who became the first batsmen past 1000 runs for the season, dominated an opening stand of 45 with Arul Suppiah but was dismissed for 37 off 40 balls when he edged to slip. Suppiah carried on to score 51 and shared a 122-run stand with Justin Langer, who made 79. Somerset had a scare when they lost Suppiah, Langer and Wes Durston in the space of five runs, all to Ryan Sidebottom in a burst after lunch, but Zander de Bruyn and Craig Kieswetter struck half-centuries, in a stand of 108 in 28 overs, to lead their team to a strong position. Sidebottom was easily Nottinghamshire's best bowler as he finished with 3 for 65 to push his claims for an England recall.

Worcestershire's patched up pace struggled to make the most of helpful conditions as local rivals Warwickshire reached 309 at new Road. Richard Jones and Gareth Andrews shared seven wickets, but the visitors' innings was held together by three positive half centuries even if they paid the price for not building on the starts. The in-form Jonathan Trott, talked about as a possible England candidate, hit 67 before edging Jones to the keeper to leave Warwickshire on 160 for 5. Tim Ambrose, crucially dropped on 0 at square leg, and Rikki Clarke then provided the best stand of the innings as they added 116, Ambrose hitting 63 off 72 balls with 13 boundaries and Clarke reaching 50. However, both fell in quick succession - Ambrose caught off Matt Mason and Clarke bowled by Jones - as the last five wickets fell for 33.

Click here for John Ward's report from the first day between Lancashire and Yorkshire at Old Trafford

Division Two

A half-century from No. 11 Steffan Jones lifted Derbyshire from 233 for 9 to 303 on the first day against Kent in Canterbury. Jones is no mug with the bat - he has two first-class hundreds and six half-centuries - and he cracked 53 off 55 balls after Derbyshire had failed to capitalize after winning the toss. Chris Rogers provided a steady start with 53 and Wavell Hinds made 74 but no two batsmen stayed together long enough to forge a substantial partnership. James Tredwell cut through the middle order with 4 for 92 while Amjad Khan and Simon Cook took two apiece to give Kent the advantage before Jones' late resistance in a stand of 70 with Jake Needham. Kent's openers Joe Denly and Robert Key added 49 before Denly fell - pushing outside off stump - to the final ball of the day.

Three Northamptonshire batsmen scored half-centuries but Middlesex's bowlers, Steve Finn and Alan Richardson, took three wickets apiece to restrict the visitors to 288 for 9 at Lord's. The visitors lost five wickets in the final hour to spoil the hard of the top order. Northamptonshire lost Stephen Peters for 13 but Ben Howgego and Rob White added 87 for the second wicket. White made 51 before carving to deep point and a wobble left Northamptonshire on 157 for 4. Alex Wakely and Nicky Boje, however, scored 61 and 55 to steady the innings but another stumble, after Wakely was dismissed by a full ball from Shaun Udal with the score on 254, gave the advantage back to Middlesex.

Leicestershire suffered an early jolt against Surrey at The Oval, when Matthew Boyce was run out 1 by Chris Schofield to the third ball of the day, but the rest of the top-order batsmen weighed in to lead them to 291 for 4 at stumps. Greg Smith, on his first Championship appearance of the season, and Boeta Dippenaar added 139 for the second wicket but there was another period of uncertainty for Leicestershire when both batsmen in a short span. Dippenaar was out for 89 and Smith for 46 - after adding 5 runs in 90 minutes after lunch - both dismissed by Jade Dernbach, leaving the visitors on 153 for 3. HD Ackerman and James Taylor, however, forged another sound partnership too keep Surrey at bay. Ackerman was dismissed for 75 but Taylor remained unbeaten on 53.

A brisk century from Alex Gidman, aided by solid contributions from the other batsmen, led Gloucestershire to a position of strength against Glamorgan in Bristol. Gloucestershire's top-order batsmen gave their team a steady start after getting sent in but they kept falling after getting set. Adam Shantry picked up the openers - Kadeer Ali made 53 - while William Porterfield and Hamish Marshall went for 22 and 43. As a result, Gloucestershire were at 195 for 4 before Gidman converted his start into a substantial score. He added 118 for the fifth wicket with Chris Taylor and remained not out on 122 to steer Gloucestershire to 337 for 5 at stumps.