County Championship round-up September 9, 2005

Kent's title ambitions fading fast

Cricinfo staff

Division One

Points Table

James Anderson: three wickets at Chelmsford © Getty Images
Kent's title hopes took another dent at Lord's as Middlesex extended their first innings to 550 for 9, a lead of 164, in the 65 overs that were bowled before storms brought an end to play at 3.30pm. It seems hard to see how Kent could force a result on the final day, and that could signal an end to their realistic challenge.

Division Two

Points Table

Yorkshire's promotion bid was boosted on a stop-start day at Headingley as they bowled Worcestershire out for 211, leaving them a target of 203. Although they lost Matthew Wood and Joe Sayers early, Yorkshire closed on 89 for 2, needing another 114 for victory, with Anthony McGrath, whose superb 173 not out in the first innings put them in charge, unbeaten on 42.

India's Murali Kartik, summoned from Lancashire League cricket at Ramsbottom, had a dream debut for second-placed Lancashire, taking 5 for 93 as Essex were bowled out for 267 at Chelmsford. James Anderson showed the England selectors what they had missed with three early wickets - the third, which clipped the top of James Middlebrook's off stump, resulted in Warren Hegg being taken to hospital with a fractured thumb. But Lancashire slid to 139 for 4 at the close.

At Taunton, Northamptonshire took a firm grip, extending their first innings to 574 thanks to a hundred from David Sales (154) and useful contributions from Steven Crook (91), Damien Wright (71) and Johann Louw (64). Somerset reached 163 for 4, still 15 in arrears.

Leicestershire gained the upper hand in the Midlands basement battle, grinding their way to 552 for 6 before reducing Derbyshire to 62 for 3 at the close. HD Ackerman was the star of the Leicestershire innings with a patient 125, while Dinesh Mongia chipped in with 71 and Paul Nixon an unbeaten 50. Derbyshire, however, are on course for their first winless Championship campaign since 1924.