Middlesex will need a mere 67 for victory when play resumes on the third day at Kidderminster, after a dramatic final-session collapse in which Worcestershire slid from a comfortable 62 for 2 to a disastrous 122 all out. Ben Smith made 52 but none of his colleagues passed 20 as Dirk Nannes routed all comers with six wickets in 6.1 overs. His first victim was the captain, Vikram Solanki, who was caught behind for 18, whereupon Nannes induced two more edges and detonated Moeen Ali's stumps to reduce Worcestershire to 80 for 6. Smith was the next to go, caught by Andrew Strauss off Shaun Udal, and Udal then claimed Chris Whelan for a fourth-ball duck before Nannes polished off the tail. Earlier, Strauss had shown how batting should be done with 101 from 129 balls, his first century of the season for Middlesex.
After a manic 16-wicket opening day, Gloucestershire's contest against Derbyshire settled into a more measured rhythm, and a fascinating match began to take shape at Derby. First Gloucestershire hauled themselves back into contention from their uncomfortable overnight score of 98 for 6, thanks to 72 from their wicketkeeper Steve Snell, who found vital support from his captain, Jon Lewis (28) in a 69-run stand for the eighth wicket. But by the close, Derbyshire had inched their way back into the ascendancy through the efforts of their own captain, Chris Rogers, who made 74 before falling lbw to Lewis in the final session of the day. By the close they led by 159 with six wickets standing, with Greg Smith and Tom New both unbeaten on 24.
Essex's promotion hopes took a dent on the second day against second-placed Warwickshire at Chelmsford, as Tony Frost produced a painstaking unbeaten 121 from 286 balls to carry his side to a foreboding 277 for 3 in reply to 341. Essex managed to add only eight runs to their overnight 333 for 8, but that scarcely seemed to matter when Darren Masters struck with his second ball of the reply to remove Warwickshire's captain, Darren Maddy, via an edge through to James Foster. It was slow-going for Essex thereafter, however. Naveep Poonia made 37 in a second-wicket stand of 85 with Frost, then it was over to Frost and Jonathan Trott for a third-wicket partnership of 182. Chris Wright eventually prised Trott from the crease for 81, but the victory that Essex need to stay in contention looks increasingly likely to elude them.
Glamorgan seem determined to end a troubled week on a high note as they continued to dominate their dead-rubber contest with Leicestershire at Sophia Gardens. Michael Powell followed on from Gareth Rees's first-day century with a composed 120, which underpinned a formidable first-innings total of 450. Powell eventually became one of four wickets for the spinner, Claude Henderson, but the wicketkeeper Mark Wallace kept the tail wagging with 59 from 106 balls, with support from the soon-to-be-retired Jason Gillespie, who made 34. In reply, Leicestershire's innings never got going. David Harrison claimed 3 for 31 in ten overs, including both openers, and at 66 for 4 embarrassment loomed. Joshua Cobb and Paul Nixon prevented further losses before the close, but they have a long way to go yet to avoid the follow-on.
The ICC World Player of the Year, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, made up for lost time with an unbeaten 130 from 177 balls, as Durham did all they could to force the pace against Sussex in their crucial Championship-chasing encounter at Chester-le-Street. After bad weather washed out the whole of the first day, Durham made good use of an important chance to bat first, and racked up a handy 325 for 4. After Michael Di Venuto and Ben Harmison added 52 for the first wicket, Jason Lewry and Mohammad Sami, with two wickets apiece, chipped away with determination to reduce Durham to 143 for 4, but then Chanderpaul got going and their prospects were transformed. With Gareth Breese proving a vital sidekick with 63 not out from 118 balls, their pair added 182 for the fifth wicket, and crucially, they had not been parted at the close.
Lancashire improved their fortunes on the second day at Liverpool, but not by much. Read Andrew McGlashan's bulletin for more.
Somerset haven't given up on their maiden Championship title, but they'll have to overcome a placid surface to defeat Yorkshire at Scarborough. John Ward was there.