Bell leaves Sussex under pressure
England team-mates Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott combined to lift Warwickshire to a first-innings lead against Sussex at Hove. Bell hit 104, adding 92 for the fourth wicket with Trott, to put a check on Sussex's battle to stay on level terms as they struggle to pull away from relegation while the visitors closed in on safety. Warwickshire had begun on an uncertain 15 for 2, but Bell and Ian Westwood added 110 for the third wicket before Westwood was trapped lbw by Dwayne Smith for 57. Then the England duo came together and worked hard against an attack that was dominated by spin from Piyush Chawla and Ollie Rayner. Bell, who was always fluent, reached his hundred from 192 balls, but soon edged Chawla to slip and the legspinner also snapped up Trott for 56. But Sussex were thwarted in their hunt for further breakthroughs as Tim Ambrose and Jim Troughton added an unbroken 63.
Marcus Trescothick's magnificent summer continued unabated with his eighth Championship hundred of the season as Somerset replied in strong fashion to Lancashire's 344 on the second day at Taunton. It has yet to be 100% confirmed if Trescothick will travel with Somerset to India for the Champions League Twenty20, but the one topic not up for debate is his current form. Lancashire's last five managed only another 47 as Charl Willoughby picked up 5 for 109, including Paul Horton for a superb 173. In reply, Trescothick and Arul Suppiah scorched 193 for the opening wicket, though Suppiah fell five short of his fourth Championship hundred of the summer. Saj Mahmood broke through to bowl Trescothick for 102 and James Hildreth for 5, while Suppiah was knocked over by Glen Chapple. At stumps Somerset trailed by 78.
Durham charged remorselessly towards the title as they pounded Nottinghamshire into the dirt at Chester-le-Street. Dale Benkenstein and Shivnarine Chanderpaul each reached their centuries, adding 203 in 57 overs, as Durham piled up a record total of 648 for 5 before calling time. Admission is free for the next two days and the champagne is on ice. Click here for John Ward's report.
Worcestershire's relegation was confirmed against Hampshire at New Road. George Dobell watched the action.
Kent amassed the second-highest total in their history as Darren Stevens' equal career-best 208 led them to a massive 652 for 7 declared against Middlesex at Uxbridge. Justin Kemp also contributed 138 and Kent further tightened their vice-like grip as the home side slumped to 109 for 4 at the close. Stevens and Kemp went on the rampage as they added 228 in 48 overs against a forlorn attack in flat conditions. Kemp reached his hundred from 141 balls and Stevens his double off 249. When Middlesex were finally put out of their misery with the ball, it continued with the bat. Spin was on early and James Tredwell removed Adam London and grabbed Dawid Malan, both with arm-balls. Azhar Mahmood claimed the other two to leave Kent well on their way towards victory and another day closer to promotion.
Northamptonshire took control against Surrey at The Oval with centuries from Riki Wessels and Niall O'Brien. Click here for Andrew McGlashan's report.
Gareth Rees, with his second century of the season, and Danish Kaneria's seven wickets shared the honours on the opening day as Glamorgan faced Essex at Cardiff. Both teams still have a chance of promotion if results go their way and it was a tightly contested day on a surface already taking spin. Kaneria bowled 34.2 overs and took 7 for 111 as Essex chipped away. Rees and Mark Cosgrove, back as Glamorgan's overseas player, opened with a stand of 98 at five-an-over before Graham Napier broke through. William Bragg was soon lbw and Kaneria struck when partnerships began to take hold. Mike Powell fell for 21 and Jamie Dalrymple made 44, but Glamorgan slipped to 240 for 6 and were wasting the opportunity to bat first. However, Rees brought up his ton from 195 balls and Robert Croft helped him put on a valuable 52 only for Essex to hit back again late in the day.