Nottinghamshire seamers take control
A disciplined bowling performance from Nottinghamshire gave them the opening-day honours against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge after the visitors had made a solid start. Jacques Rudolph and Joe Sayers began with a painstaking opening stand of 72 in 32 overs, but Nottinghamshire shared the wickets around during the next two sessions. Darren Pattinson broke through shortly after lunch when Rudolph shouldered arms and Charlie Shreck removed Anthony McGrath, caught in the gully, for a duck. Paul Franks struck in consecutive overs to remove Sayers, who was dropped on 37 and 40, for a 162-ball 53 and Gerard Brophy without scoring and Yorkshire were tottering on 132 for 5. Jonny Bairstow battled hard for 49 until being pinned lbw by Mark Ealham and Shreck collected two more to leave Nottinghamshire handily placed to push for the win they desperately need to maintain a title challenge.
Click here to read George Dobell's report of Warwickshire's match against Worcestershire at Edgbaston, where Jonathan Trott produced a masterclass in testing conditions.
Lancashire were bowled out for 236 by Sussex, click here to read John Ward's report.
Durham were frustrated in their bid to close in further on the title when the third day against Somerset was abandoned without a ball bowled at Chester-le-Street. Heavy rain lashed the ground overnight during the early morning and the groundstaff were always fighting a losing battle before further rain arrived. Durham will now need quick wickets on the final day, with Somerset currently 58 behind, to try and force a victory.
Middlesex captain Shaun Udal was knocked unconscious on a day full of drama against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Facing Johan van der Wath in the fifth over of the day Udal was struck on the back of the day as he tried to avoid a bouncer. He was treated on the pitch for half an hour before leaving. Seventeen wickets fell in all as Middlesex's batsmen undid all the hard work of Gareth Berg by slipping to 17 for 3 at stumps, having earlier gained a slender 12-run lead . David Lucas had Nick Compton (5) and Dan Housego (0) caught behind while Johan van der Wath broke through the nightwatchman Steve Finn's defences to leave the visitors leading by just 29 runs. None of this discredits Berg's performance earlier in the day, however, in picking up his second five-wicket haul. All the Middlesex seamers made good use of helpful conditions with Tim Murtagh and Finn removing the top four, leaving Northamptonshire tottering on 40 for 4. Nicky Boje, who extended his contract with the club today, dropped anchor with a turgidly useful 51 while Rob White (47), Andrew Hall (38) and van der Wath (31) helped them rebuild. Berg ran through the tail as Middlesex gained a first-innings lead, and an all-too-brief period of initiative which Northamptonshire grasped back impressively in the last hour of play.
Leicestershire's lower order pulled them out of real trouble against Glamorgan with Wayne White and Claude Henderson helped turn the innings around from 95 for 7 at Grace Road . White hit 68, his maiden half century, and added 120 with Henderson for the eighth wicket before chopping on a cut, then Henderson followed that with a 52-run alliance alongside Iain O'Brien, who has returned after New Zealand's tour of Sri Lanka. Henderson was unbeaten on 71, passing fifty from 96 deliveries at the close but lost O'Brien in the final over of the day. The early damage had been done by Garnett Kruger and James Harris as they sent the home side crashing from 57 for 1 as they lost six for 38 in 13 overs and there was plenty of work for both seamers.
The Surrey batting crumbled at Bristol as they fell for 183 and were firmly on the back foot as Gloucestershire moved to 224 for 3 in reply with an unbroken136-run stand between Alex Gidman and Hamish Marshall. Surrey were comfortable placed on 96 for 1 overnight, but lost Arun Harinath early to Steve Kirby with Marshall taking a sharp catch at slip and it was downhill from there. Ian Saxelby and James Franklin struck regular blows while Kirby also nipped out Stewart Walters. Anthony Ireland contributed with two lower-order scalps before a final wicket stand 33 lifted Surrey to 183, but they had lost their last nine wickets for 87. Gloucestershire eased to 77 in reply before Alex Tudor struck two swift blows and when Tom Linley swiftly dismissed William Porterfield Surrey were fighting back. However, Gidman and Marshall forged a strong partnership as Gloucestershire took the lead before the close.
Derbyshire took control against Kent with a fine opening stand between Chris Rogers and Wayne Madsen. Mark Pennell watched the action.