Mark Ealham's half-century and an important 18 from Greg Smith enabled Nottinghamshire to secure a 90-run lead in their low-scoring encounter with Surrey at Trent Bridge. By the time rain brought a premature end to the proceedings, Surrey had wiped out the deficit but they had lost three wickets in doing so, as they closed on 93 for 3. Scott Newman top-scored with 40, with Rikki Clarke unbeaten on 21 at stumps.
Jon Lewis grabbed four of Sussex's six remaining wickets, but Jason Lewry replied with a brace of his own in a nip-and-tuck encounter at Hove. Resuming on 97 for 4, Sussex lost their overnight stalwart, Richard Montgomerie, for 32, as Lewis cut a swathe through the middle-order. Lewry's late flurry, 23 from 13 balls, including four fours and a six, secured a first-innings total of 191, and his contribution was put into context when Gloucestershire slumped to 85 for 5 in reply. Craig Spearman top-scored with 48 before falling to James Kirtley.
John Maunders and Aftab Habib rescued Leicestershire from the depths of despair with a sixth-wicket stand of 87, but Essex remained well on top by the close of the second day at Grace Road. Resuming on 12 for 2, Leicestershire slumped to 36 for 5, as Tony Palladino and Andre Adams joined Darren Gough among the wicket-takers. With rain in the air, Adams struck a crucial late blow when Maunders fell, caught by James Middlebrook for 46, after a 116-ball stay that included seven fours.
Paul Collingwood failed to add to his overnight 181, but Gareth Breese and Dale Benkenstein contributed a brace of forties to keep Durham's momentum ticking over on a rain-affectedsecond day at Taunton. Only 32 overs were possible, in which time Durham moved along to 462 for 7, with Richard Johnson trapping Liam Plunkett with the last ball of a truncated day.
Yorkshire lost their last seven wickets in 24 frenetic overs on the second morning at Headingley, but seeing as they already had 419 for 3 on the board, it didn't much matter. Phil Jaques added just two runs to his overnight 217, while Ian Harvey and Craig White chipped in with a pair of hard-hitting fifties, but the change of tempo was a sign of things to come for Derbyshire. They lost their first two wickets for 27, and though Michael di Venuto and Jon Moss retaliated with a stand of 99, they had shed seven wickets by the close.