Kent are on course for a final-day victory against Lancashire at Canterbury after Robbie Joseph removed their top order for a second time. After claiming 5 for 34 on the second day, Joseph reduced the visitors to 18 for 3 with three wickets in four balls. After removing Paul Horton, fending a lifter to slip, he had Mal Loye caught behind and two deliveries later trapped Faf du Plessis lbw. Mark Chilton and Steven Croft stopped the slide with a stand of 125, but Croft fell to Ryan McLaren shortly before the close with Lancashire still nowhere near their huge target of 476. The lead was set up by Joe Denly's 118, his second century of the season, as Kent made comfortable progress through the first half of the day. Denly added 152 with Neil Dexter (75) and 101 with Martin van Jaarsveld (50) as Lancashire's toil continued.
Robin Martin-Jenkins' 71 helped Sussex avoid the follow-on during the third day against Surrey at The Oval. Martin-Jenkins and Jason Lewry put on a vital 57 for the final wicket after Murray Goodwin and Carl Hopkinson had both reached fifties but failed to go on to three figures. Martin-Jenkins stroked his ninth four to bring up a fine fifty while Lewry drove elegantly through the covers to deny Surrey the follow-on threat. Martin-Jenkins wasn't finished there: he had Scott Newman caught behind for 5 before Lewry trapped Stewart Walters lbw as Surrey went to stumps on 77 for 2, leading by 204.
Click here for John Ward's report of the fourth day between Hampshire and Somerset at The Rose Bowl.
James Foster hit his first Championship hundred of the season as Essex grafted a dominating lead of 346 over Worcestershire on the third day at Colchester. Foster, who cracked 55 in Essex's first innings, was in terrific form and given excellent support from Ryan ten Doeschate with whom he put on 96 for the fifth wicket. Worcestershire were without the services of Matt Mason who injured his shoulder after bowling just one over, while Kabir Ali's sore back also ruled him out of the attack. The bulk of the bowling was therefore left to Imran Alif, the 24-year-old seamer, and Gareth Batty, but Foster played attractively to bring up a 183-ball hundred as Essex closed on 322 for 8. Meanwhile, it was confirmed Danish Kaneria will miss the rest of the season for Essex after breaking a finger.
The 18-year-old Josh Cobb cracked his maiden first-class hundred as Leicestershire compiled 475 for 5 on the third day against Middlesex at Lord's. The home side took just two wickets all day, both to Alan Richardson, before Cobb and HD Ackerman took charge in a brutal sixth-wicket stand that was unbeaten on 266 at stumps - a record stand for Leicestershire against Middlesex. During his unbeaten 190 Ackerman became the fourth batsman this season to pass 1000 runs, bringing up his hundred from 188 balls as Middlesex rung the changes without effect. Cobb, who only turned 18 last week, struck 11 fours and two sixes in his maiden century which came from 255 balls, and Leicestershire have a chance to force an unlikely victory on the final day.
Kadeer Ali stroked a career-best 161 as Gloucestershire's match against Northamptonshire drifted towards a draw on the final day at Bristol. Gloucestershire began the day on 129 for 2 but, on such a slow and low pitch that was made for batting, there was scant chance of Northamptonshire's bowlers wittling the home side out cheaply. And Ali prospered, putting on 107 with Marcus North who made an attractive 64 in his final appearance before returning to Australia. Ali moved to his first hundred of the season from 224 balls, and after being dropped on 141, he went on to reach his highest first-class score as Gloucestershire declared on 401 for 6.
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County Championship Division Two