Croft secures dramatic win for Glamorgan
Essex's spinners Danish Kaneria and Tim Phillips took nine wickets between them to dismiss Surrey cheaply and set up a nine-wicket win at Colchester. Surrey were in a tricky position at the start of the final day, trailing by 111 runs in the second innings with eight wickets in hand. Mark Ramprakash resisted for 156 minutes, scoring 62 before he was caught behind while pushing forward to Kaneria. Ramprakash, though, was unhappy with the decision and had exchanges with some Essex players before walking off. His dismissal left Surrey on 135 for 7, and their hopes of saving the game all but disappeared. Chris Schofield and Stuart Meaker provided brief resistance but once Kaneria, whose figures of 6 for 50 were his best for the season, pinned Schofield lbw it was only a matter of time. Surrey were dismissed for 190, leaving Essex with only 74 to chase. Tom Westley made short work of the target, hitting 45 off 44 balls as Essex completed victory in the 13th over.
A defiant, unbeaten 97 from James Franklin wasn't enough for Gloucestershire as Leicestershire held on for a 44-run victory at Grace Road. The visitors appeared to have little chance when they resumed on 133 for 5 and soon lost Stephen Adshead, bowled by Wayne White, for 18. However, Franklin and Richard Dawson (49) combined in a stand of 98 in 36 overs to haul Gloucestershire back into the contest until James Benning made the crucial breakthrough. Ian Saxelby also hung around to take the total past 300, then Claude Henderson struck and Jon Lewis quickly fell to Jigar Naik with 60 runs still required. No. 11 Steve Kirby hung around for 24 scoreless deliveries, but Naik finally ended the resistance when he bowled Kirby with a well-flighted delivery to lift Leicestershire off the foot of the table.
A whopping 22 wickets fell on the third day at Swansea - 19 to spinners - and, in the end, it was Robert Croft's 5 for 65, and not Shaun Udal's 6 for 36, that proved decisive as Glamorgan beat Middlesex by 23 runs. Middlesex began the day on 166 for 8 in their first innings, which promptly folded for 169, conceding a lead of 55. That lead was to prove invaluable, though, for Glamorgan because they crumbled for 135 in their second innings. Tim Murtagh and Steven Finn got rid off the openers and the rest was accounted for by spin: Murali Kartik taking two and Udal the other six. Glamorgan were 82 for 8 at one stage before Croft (22) and Adam Shantry (21) lifted them past 100. The collapse left Middlesex needing 191 on a tough pitch and their batsmen weren't up to it. Dawid Malan top-scored with 47 but no one else got past 20 as the Glamorgan spinners, Croft and Dean Cosker (3 for 35), sliced through the line-up, taking eight wickets between them to dismiss Middlesex for 167.
Mark Wagh's unbeaten century - his third of the season - ensured that Nottinghamshire fought out a draw against Hampshire at Trent Bridge. Nottinghamshire began their follow-on at the start of the final day, trailing by 247 runs, and a few early wickets would have opened the door for a Hampshire victory. They lost two - Scott Newman caught behind in the first over, and Matthew Wodd was trapped lbw by Dimitri Mascarenhas - before Wagh began his resistance. He batted 249 balls, hit 20 fours and remained not out on 136, receiving support from Samit Patel (48) and Ali Brown (37 not out). Nottinghamshire reached 271 for 4 before the teams agreed to the draw. The hosts took ten points from the match while Hampshire gained 12.
Mal Loye and VVS Laxman ensured Lancashire comfortably secured a draw in their Roses match against Yorkshire at Headingley. Adil Rashid extended his career-best effort to 157 as the lead grew to 153. Tim Bresnan removed Steven Croft for 15 to a loose pull, but it remained hard work for the bowlers. However, Yorkshire did miss a couple of chances when Paul Horton was dropped in the slips and Loye was put down at midwicket. Horton eventually fell to Rashid for 28 before Loye and Laxman composed their unbeaten stand of 131 which took Lancashire back ahead and to safety. The eleven points Yorkshire take keep them in with a chance of avoiding relegation.
The final day at Taunton followed a predictable path as the Somerset batsmen gorged themselves on a batting paradise, although not quite to the extent that Sussex managed. Arul Suppiah and Craig Kieswetter helped themselves to hundreds and Peter Trego entertained with a rapid 67. Marcus Trescothick would have fancied a ton for himself when play started but fell for 73 to a miscued pull and the bowlers had their best period of the match as Dwayne Smith removed James Hildreth for 11 and Zander de Bruyn fell for 3 to a fine catch at wide mid-on. However, the match returned to type as Suppiah reached his hundred from 232 balls before being trapped lbw by Ollie Rayner. Kieswetter and Trego then scored at a healthy rate as they added 131 in 22 overs. Something must be done about the Taunton pitch.