Bad light brightens Somerset's day
Marcus Trescothick and Craig Wieswetter were again to the fore for Somerset on the final day against Hampshire, but it was the dreary weather which eventually saved the visitors from defeat at The Rose Bowl. Following-on, Somerset resumed on 50 without loss but Arul Suppiah was soon bowled by Dominic Cork, while Justin Langer (32) departed to Imran Tahir. Trescothick, who crashed 118 in the first innings, added yet another fifty to help stabilise a wobbling Somerset innings. He is now just six runs short of 1600 for the Championship season, far and away the highest run-scorer. But when he fell to Danny Briggs for 73, Somerset still trailed by three runs, making Kieswetter's second fifty of the match all the more vital. He followed his 94 in the first innings with 70, and although Somerset were dismissed for 294, they held a crucial lead of 139 before bad light and rain put paid to Hampshire's chances of knocking them off quickly.
Middlesex's season of woe took a turn for the better as Gareth Berg's five wickets helped them towards a convincing 180-run win over Gloucestershire at Lord's, their second victory of the Championship season. Gloucestershire were set an unlikely 406 to win, and lost Chris Taylor early for 25. Berg then struck twice in two balls, dismissing Kadeer Ali followed by Steve Adshead, cleaned up first ball. James Franklin was the mainstay for Gloucestershire, stroking an unbeaten 80, and he was well supported by Richard Dawson (35) for nearly 22 overs, but Berg cleaned up the tail to record career-best figures of 5 for 55, bringing rare cheer and an even rarer win to Lord's.
Kent took complete control of their match against Surrey at Canterbury and look set to top Division Two, after a commanding third day performance. Geraint Jones moved from 102 to a career-best 156, putting on 183 with Darren Stevens who cracked 112. Jones was mostly untroubled until a lapse in concentration cost him his wicket, while Stevens suffered a tortuous period in the nineties where he could have fallen several times, most memorably when he offered a slip catch to Stewart Walters who couldn't cling on. Neither for that matter could Pedro Collins who dropped a dolly at mid-off off Tim Linley, and Surrey's day got even worse when they conceded five runs after Walters picked up Jon Batty's discarded wicketkeeping glove to collect the incoming throw. Surrey suffered further in their second innings, both openers falling within five balls of each other, as James Tredwell picked up three of the five to fall. They lead by 54 with effectively four wickets remaining, as Mark Ramprakash was yesterday ruled out of the remainder of the season with a broken thumb.