Berg's best puts Middlesex on course
Gareth Berg fell two runs short of a maiden century, but his 98 has given Middlesex a great chance of claiming their first Championship win of the season against Kent at Canterbury. They let a victory chance slip through their fingers against Northamptonshire earlier this week, but already have Kent 49 for 2 chasing a testing 335 in a game where batsmen have struggled. However, it was a more even contest than the opening day after Azhar Mahmood claimed two early wickets to leave Middlesex tottering on 57 for 3. After a 50-run stand between Eoin Morgan and Dawid Malan the visitors were again trouble when Amjad Khan took two in two balls, but Berg came to the rescue as he bettered his highest score for the second innings running. He added 92 with Malan and a useful 48 with Murali Kartik before falling to James Tredwell. Chris Silverwood added vital late runs with 46 off 44 runs (with 40 runs in boundaries) and also provided a timely wicket when he removed Geraint Jones shortly before the close.
An unbeaten 92 from James Franklin and half-centuries from opener Kadeer Ali and Steve Adshead gave Gloucestershire a 19-run lead with four wickets in hand against Essex by the end of the second day at Garon's Park. It wasn't sm ooth sailing throughout, though, as Ali found little support from the rest of the top-order batsmen, anchoring one end with 72 as Gloucestershire slipped to 119 for 4. They were in further trouble when Ali fell - caught behind off Graham Napier - with the score on 170 for 6 but the misfortune of a low total was averted by Franklin and Adshead. They added an unbeaten 149 for the seventh wicket and overhauled Essex's first-innings score of 300.
Claude Henderson produced a marathon spell of left-arm spin to keep Leicestershire on an even keel with Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay. He took 6 for 88 from 38 overs as the home side's top order failed to build on a number of solid starts and by the end of the day their lead was a slender seven with two wickets in hand. The most impressive innings came from William Bragg, who built on his battling effort last week against Gloucestershire, as he reached 80 before lofting Henderson to long on having become tied down. Jamie Dalrymple and Michael Powell carried the total to 213 for 2 before a collapse of 6 for 83 sparked when Dalrymple dragged on against Harry Gurney. Henderson went through the middle order - Mark Wallace was caught in short-leg's midriff as he took evasive action - and Leicestershire had their own hopes of a small lead before Robert Croft and Adam Shantry added an unbeaten 24.
Michael Brown struck his second Championship century of the season as Surrey's top order laid a strong platform against Derbyshire at Whitgift School. But in many ways the significant moment of the day was that Mark Ramprakash didn't reach three figures having eased to 80. Brown and Ramprakash departed in quick succession before the close having added 162 for the second wicket, yet Surrey were still well placed on 308 for 3. Brown, who reached his hundred from 205 balls, fell to Nantie Hayward while Ramprakash was bowled by Tim Groenewald. Hayward also provided the first breakthrough when he removed Jon Batty for 48 to end an opening stand of 113. On recent form, Mark Butcher has retired with the Surrey batting in good heart.
A strong performance from Nottinghamshire's top-order batsmen put them in a commanding position by the end of the second day against Sussex at Horsham. Scott Newman was bowled by Ollie Rayner after an opening partnership of 48 - then swiped his middle stump out of ground, for which he will be reported - but his partner Matthew Wood battled on and had a 132-run association for the second wicket with Mark Wagh. Robin Martin-Jenkins eventually broke the stand, bowling Wagh for 73, but Wood remained unbeaten on 85 and led Nottinghamshire to 231 for 2 at stumps. Earlier in the day, Sussex had resumed their first innings on 309 for 9 but Corey Collymore, who had resisted valiantly on the opening day, lasted only four balls before hitting his stumps for no addition to the overnight total of 309.
For a full report from Warwickshire against Somerset at Edgbaston, where play began on the second day, click here.
Jimmy Adams continued his impressive form as the Hampshire made a solid start against Lancashire at The Rose Bowl before rain moved in to wipe out the second half of the day. Adams finished unbeaten on 82 having shared an opening stand of 64 with Michael Carberry the added a further 58 in former Lancashire batsman John Crawley. Kyle Hogg claimed both wickets when Carberry pulled a catch to square leg and Crawley edged to slip after a 76-ball struggle. Adams, who was struck a painful blow on the hand from Oliver Newby on 49, remained solid through to the close.