Stuart Broad shone with bat and ball to put Nottinghamshire in control against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge after the home side piled up 505. It was Broad's late burst which cemented the Nottinghamshire's hold on the match as he snaffled three wickets in seven balls after a 100-run stand between Daryl Mitchell and Vikram Solanki. After removing Solanki with an edge to second slip Ben Smith pulled his second ball to midwicket and Broad soon added Moeen Ali with a return catch to leave Worcestershire a huge task ahead of them. Earlier Broad and Chris Read added 104 for the seventh wicket with Read reaching his hundred off 161 balls as Worcestershire's injury-hit attack struggled to stem the tide. Broad hit 11 boundaries in his 62-ball 60 as he made the most of a rare county appearance, but his main job was where he really stood out.
An unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 107 between Mark Chilton and Steven Croft put Lancashire into a promising position against Sussex at Hove as they closed on 209 for 4. James Anderson finished with the outstanding figures of 6 for 56 as he and Glen Chapple shared all ten wickets to dismiss Sussex for 289. But Lancashire started poorly in reply as they slipped to 2 for 2 and 31 for 3. Ashwell Prince began the recovery with a compact half century before falling to Luke Wright as the match continued to swing between the two sides, but Chilton and Croft ensured against any further setbacks for Lancashire. Ed Joyce, who started the day on 89, added just a single before he was cleaned up by Anderson and he was fully rewarded for his 32 overs - and ideal warm-up for the international season.
For a full report of Durham against Yorkshire at Chester-le-Street where Ian Blackwell hit 95 click here.
For a full report of Warwickshire's opening day against Hampshire click here.
Essex are scenting a swift victory at Bristol after Gloucestershire ended the second day in tatters on 115 for 9 with 15 wickets falling in the day. The home side led by just 93 with the Essex seamers having made swift work of the batting order as the ball seamed around. It was looking fairly comfortable for Gloucestershire at 51 without loss, but once Ryan ten Doeschate made the opening breakthrough by having Kadeer Ali caught behind, a decision the batsman disagreed with, the tumble was on. Maurice Chambers impressed as he claimed three wickets and David Masters did a swift job on the middle order - including James Franklin, who couldn't bowl due to a hamstring strain, and Ian Saxelby with consecutive balls - to finish day with 3 for 12 off 11 overs. Essex, too, had major batting problems and were set to concede a first-innings deficit as they slid to 109 for 7. But ten Doeschate hit a vital 42 as they edged ahead by 22 runs and in a low-scoring contest every run is vital.
For a full report from the second day between Kent and Northamptonshire where Geraint Jones hit a century click here.
A dramatic day unfolded at Derby with 17 crashing as Derbyshire struggled to 152 for 7 in reply to Surrey's lowly 131. Graham Wagg grabbed a career-best 6 for 35, including a beauty to remove Usman Afzaal, and it could have been if he hadn't needed to leave the field with cramp. This was Surrey's second collapse in a week, but by the end of the day the they were back in contention although Derbyshire had edged ahead by 21 runs. Pedro Collins, recalled in place of Stuart Meaker, claimed four after Jade Dernbach and Andre Nel began the fightback. Surrey had chosen to bat first but were soon in trouble as Wagg blew away the top order which is still missing Mark Ramprakash. When Wagg trapped Chris Jordan lbw the visitors were 58 for 6. To compound Surrey's problems Chris Schofield had to briefly retire hurt after being struck on the knee and without 35 extras they wouldn't have reached 100. However, it was no easier for Derbyshire who hit 88 for 7, a slide that was only stopped by Greg Smith and Wagg as they added 64.
For a full report from the opening day between Middlesex and Glamorgan at Lord's click here.
Ryan ten Doeschate
County Championship Division One
County Championship Division Two
England Domestic Season