Robbie Joseph continued his outstanding recent form as Kent demolished Lancashire to take full control at Canterbury. Joseph, who bowled impressively in the Friends Provident final and took 5 for 13 in the Pro40 earlier this week, tore through the top order for figures of 5 for 34. After Geraint Jones completed his first century of the season, Joseph was on the mark straight away as he bowled Paul Horton with the first ball of Lancashire's innings. In his next over he removed Mal Loye and when Mark Chilton was trapped by Amjad Khan the visitors were 6 for 3. It didn't get any better as the middle order folded to Joseph and at 37 for 6 a major embarrassment was in the cards. Martin Saggers took out the lower order to leave Lancashire on 79 for 9 before Glen Chapple (44) and Sajid Mahmood (33) put bat to ball in a final-wicket stand of 46. Kent had a lead of 158 but decided not enforce the follow-on. Robert Key failed again, however Joe Denly and Neil Dexter added an unbroken 139 as Kent ended with a lead 303 and plenty more to come.
Mark Ramprakash, who has been reported to the ECB for his opening-day altercation with Murray Goodwin, fell short of back-to-back double centuries, but his 178 has put Surrey in a strong position against Sussex at The Oval. Although they didn't bat quickly enough for full batting points - failing to reach 400 inside 130 overs - their 455 put pressure on Sussex, who lost three wickets before the close. Ramprakash and Jon Batty carried their third-wicket stand to 232, Batty reaching his second century of the season before being trapped lbw by Corey Collymore for 102. Ramprakash began to tire as he passed 150 and found Robin Martin-Jenkins at deep square-leg off Ollie Rayner, but Usman Afzaal (58) and James Benning added a further 78 for the fifth wicket. Rory Hamilton-Brown struck twice in three balls, but Chris Nash provided the surprise package as he finished off the innings with a career-best 3 for 3. Nash, though, failed with the bat as Jade Dernbach made early inroads with the new ball. Stand-in captain Michael Yardy was run-out from short fine-leg for 37 shortly before the close to compound Sussex's problems.
Essex are facing the prospect of finishing the season without Danish Kaneria after he broke a spinning finger against Worcestershire at Colchester. He did the damage failing to hold a tough return catch off Ben Smith in his fifth over and the extent of the injury was revealed after an x-ray. It is a huge blow for Essex, but the remaining bowlers pulled together as a tight game evolved. Half-centuries from Ben Smith and Gareth Batty meant Worcestershire ended on 258, 24 behind Essex's first innings. It was nip-and-tuck throughout the day as Essex claimed wickets each time a partnership was threatening. Before his injury Kaneria struck with his first ball but Smith, after signing a new deal, held the top order together with 74 until becoming one of James Middlebrook's three wickets. Batty provided the lower-order ballast, adding 48 with Gareth Andrew to haul Worcestershire towards parity. Ryan ten Doeschate was left six short of a century as Essex were bowled out at the start of the day, Kabir Ali ending the innings with his sixth wicket.
Leicestershire made cautious progress towards Middlesex's first innings, reaching 184 for 3 by the close at Lord's. Matthew Boyce anchored the reply with 63, adding 94 for the first wicket with Greg Smith. Both openers fell to Murali Kartik - Smith caught at slip, Boyce lbw - and spin will play a key role in the outcome of this match as Shaun Udal claimed the other wicket, having Paul Nixon caught behind from one that bounced. Middlesex managed to extend their first innings beyond four batting points thanks to Ben Scott's 58 and useful knocks from Tim Murtagh and Alan Richardson.
David Sales finished with 148 as Northamptonshire were bowled out one run short of a fourth batting point against Gloucestershire at Bristol . Sales took his overnight stand of 98 with Andrew Hall to 141 before Hall fell to Oliver Newby, who collected 5 for 69 - his first five-wicket haul - towards the end of his loan deal from Lancashire. Sales was eventually removed by Steve Kirby, but Johann Louw boosted the total with 46 although was the last-man out to give Newby his five. Gloucestershire didn't help themselves by dropping three catches, but Kadeer Ali led a steady reply, finishing unbeaten on 63 as William Porterfield and Hamish Marshall were both caught behind. Porterfield was trying to leave the ball then Marshall presented a top-edge to Niall O'Brien off Hall.