May 30, 2003

Habib presses home Essex's advantage

Frizzell County Championship Division One

Nottinghamshire v Essex at Nottingham

After the extraordinary events of yesterday, Aftab Habib restored some sort of normality to proceedings at Trent Bridge with a dashing 152 to put Essex firmly on top. Habib came to the crease with Essex in some trouble at 47 for 4 - not quite as bad as 7 for 4 though - but he and Andy Flower, who's slowly blooming back to his best - started the rescue-act. And when Flower was out for 32, James Foster continued the good work for Essex, as he and Habib added 178 for the sixth wicket. Foster, who is developing into a handy wicketkeeper-batsman - England selectors take note - blasted 14 fours and one six before he fell 15 short of what would have been a second first-class century. But Habib had no troubles notching up the 19th ton of his career, including 26 fours, before being trapped lbw to the part-time offspin of Kevin Pietersen. And then the more recognisable bowler, Stuart MacGill, wrapped up the tail as Essex ended their second innings with a lead of 483. Jon Dakin and Scott Brant then didn't find things so easy second time round, as Notts put their first innings nightmare behind them to reach a far more respectable 58 for 1, but still 425 behind.

Kent v Lancashire at Canterbury

Gary Keedy spun Lancashire into a strong position against Kent at Canterbury by taking 5 for 99. Four of those wickets were bowled, including Greg Blewett for a duck, and when he dismissed Matthew Walker for 11, Kent were reeling at 91 for 5. However, another young wicketkeeper enjoying a good season with the batting gloves, Geraint Jones, came to rescue with a quickfire 92, and with the help of Mark Ealham (43), Kent recovered to 267 all out - just 80 behind Lancashire. And then Kent threatened to finish the day in pole position when Ben Trott and Martin Saggers struck early to remove both openers with only 19 on the board, but Mal Loye (52*) and Stuart Law (28*) weathered the early storm to make sure Lancashire took the day's honours.

Mushtaq Ahmed hits out against Surrey at The Oval

Surrey v Sussex at The Oval

Another impressive display from the Surrey bowlers in the sun at The Oval today, plus yet another wag from their tail - well, if you can call it that - put Surrey firmly in control over Sussex. Resuming on 401 for 8, Ian Salisbury and Saqlain Mushtaq added a further 78 runs between them as Surrey were eventually all out for 480 - the sixth time they have passed 350 this season. And after James Ormond (who finished with 4 for 81) struck twice early in Sussex's reply, another bullying display from Surrey was on the cards. However, Sussex did show some resistance as Murray Goodwin (60), Tim Ambrose (75) and Robin Martin-Jenkins (61) all rolled up their sleeves and showed they weren't scared of Adam Hollioake and his gang by giving them a taste of their own medicine. And with the help of a cameo 41 from 43 balls from Mushtaq Ahmed, Sussex clambered to 307 all out. But Hollioake then chose not to enforce the follow-on as Surrey reached 22 for 0 from the last 10 overs of the day to lead by 195 runs.

Frizzell County Championship Division Two

Derbyshire v Worcestershire at Derby

Worcestershire's South African contingent helped to set up a likely second consecutive win after a day of bowling domination over Derbyshire. When Michael Di Venuto and Andrew Gait were cruising along at 83 for no loss in reply to Worcestershire's 374, no-one in the Derbyshire camp could have been expecting what was follow. It wasn't quite on the same scale as the avalanche at Trent Bridge yesterday, but losing 16 wickets in one day is still a disaster. After Matthew Mason picked up the first three Derbyshire wickets, Nantie Hayward (4 for 53) and Andrew Hall (3 for 28) then ripped through the middle-order and tail, as Derbyshire crashed to 179 all out. Ben Smith then duly enforced the follow-on, and it didn't get much better for them second time around. This time Kabir Ali was the hero with the ball, taking 3 for 60 as Derbyshire finished a day they'll want to forget on 185 for 6 - still 10 behind.

Yorkshire v Durham at Leeds

After Chris Silverwood promptly wrapped up the Durham innings this morning - including Jonathan Lewis for 124 - his mind must have been on watching the rest of the day from the comfort of the Yorkshire balcony, admiring his fellow team-mates' batting prowess - but it didn't quite work out that way, thanks to Durham's Liam Plunkett. After a steady start to Yorkshire's innings, in which Michael Lumb starred with a patient 105 and Yuvraj Singh scored his first Championship fifty, Plunkett blew away the middle-order (including four England internationals) at an alarmingly quick rate. Indeed, if it wasn't for Lumb, who was last man out, Yorkshire would have been in deeper trouble than their 220 all out. With a lead of 60, it was Lewis again who led the way in Durham's second innings with 43 not out, as they finished the day on top at 99 for 3.

Northamptonshire v Glamorgan at Northampton

Two late wickets from Ben Phillips tilted the match in Northamptonshire's favour in an otherwise closely-fought battle. Rob White and Mark Powell earlier top-scored with 55 each as Northants were bowled out for 262 - only seven runs behind Glamorgan's first innings. Michael Kasprowicz took 3 for 77, including dangerman Phil Jaques for a duck and Jeffrey Cook for a golden duck, and David Harrison also starred with 4 for 64. But it was Phillips who finished the day with a smile as he removed Mike Powell and Dean Cosker near the close to leave Glamorgan needing a big day with the bat tomorrow on 71 for 4.