Essex pile on the runs against Yorkshire
Yorkshire 53 for 2 (McGrath 25*) trail Essex 622 for 8 dec (A Flower 188, Irani 103, Gough 93, Foster 92) by 569 runs
Essex ground Yorkshire into the dirt and then reaped late dividends as they gained complete control at Headingley. Essex's dominance was highlighted as Darren Gough, sent in as a nightwatchman, came within seven runs of registering a century against his former team. His 93 took 104 balls and contained 11 fours and three sixes and he was the dominated partner in a stand of 140 with Andy Flower. Not that Flower was a slouch, he just went about scoring in his own fashion, and eventually fell to Tim Bresnan after facing 426 balls. The torture didn't end their for the Yorkshire attack as James Foster piled in with 92 before his dismissal signalled the declaration from Ronnie Irani. Yorkshire's weary openers - Matthew Wood and Phil Jaques - having chased leather for over five sessions, then fell to Andre Adams in quick succession before Yorkshire could finally retreat to the dressing-room to lick their wounds.
Northamptonshire 408 and 25 for 1 lead Somerset 356 (Blackwell 59, Jayasuriya 55, Wood 53, Brown 6-112) by 77 runs
Jason Brown gave Northants a potentially vital first-innings lead of 52 as he finally got among the wickets after a barren start to the season. Brown, who toured Sri Lanka with England in 2001 and was touted as a contender for a Test spot earlier in his career, had picked up just six wickets this summer until today's haul. He continually chipped away at the Somerset batting and each time a partnership threatened to develop he struck. His key strike was removing Sanath Jayasuriya, who was dangerously poised on 55 and is starting to find his feet in county cricket. Ian Blackwell's big-hitting 59 was also nipped in the bud by Brown before he mopped up the tail. However, some lusty blows from Richard Johnson kept the deficit down to manageable proportions. Gareth Andrew's late removal of Bilal Shafayat means Somerset are not without hope entering the third day.
Leicestershire 5 for 0 trail Derbyshire 251 for 9 dec (di Venuto 76)
Leicestershire took the honours on a turgid opening day at Derby as runs came at less than two and a half an over. All the Leicestershire attack was frugal and the wickets were shared around. Michael Di Venuto - normally a very aggressive batsman - took 196 balls over 76, but the flimsy Derbyshire batting would have completely folded without his contribution. After choosing to bat they subsided to 61 for 4 with David Masters claiming a brace. There were useful contributions from the lower order, especially Graeme Welch who made 42, but they could never break the shackles. The situation could have been better for Leicestershire if Paul Nixon hadn't missed two chances - one off Di Venuto and one off Welch - but neither batsman really cashed in. On a pitch already showing signs of variable bounce Derbyshire took a rare attacking option, late in the day, when they declared to give Leicestershire a couple of overs to face. They survived and Derbyshire's attack will have to be as thrifty as Leicestershire's on the second day.