As England's new-look pace attack starred at Lord's, another player trying to force his way back was making a statement as Sajid Mahmood claimed the first 10-wicket match haul to help Lancashire to a convincing 10-wicket victory against Worcestershire at New Road. Mahmood provided the catalyst to remove the home side's second innings as they fell away from 223 for 3 to 301 all out after Tom Smith had trapped his namesake, Ben, lbw to break a stand of 98 for the fourth wicket. Mahmood removed Steven Davies with the new ball as the wicketkeeper got a leading edge to cover and claimed the key scalp of top-scorer Moeen Ali for 80 thanks to a smart catch at midwicket by Glen Chapple. Mahmood swept through the lower order to leave a target of 122 and despite losing four top-order scalps Lancashire eased home in under 34 overs for their second win of the season. For Worcestershire it was their third defeat and leaves them bottom of the table with plenty of problems but, for a day at least, Lancashire sit in top spot.
Andy Hodd cracked his third first-class hundred as Sussex made 363, reducing their first-innings deficit to 17 against Durham on the third day at Hove. Yet with just one day to go, barring a Durham collapse tomorrow morning, it seems likely this match is heading towards a draw. In their second innings, Durham were soon reduced to 67 for 2 before Michael di Venuto and Gordon Muchall both notched fifties to extend their lead to 181 at stumps.
For a full report from Nottinghamshire against Somerset at Trent Bridge click here.
The new drainage at The Oval lived up to expectations as play started only an hour late despite heavy rain, and when it did another big hundred from Phillip Hughes - his eighth in his last 17 innings - steered Middlesex to a first-innings lead of 57 over Surrey . Hughes eventually fell for 195, three short of his career best, trying to slog Jade Dernbach, but hopes that would end the bowlers' hard slog were dashed as Dawid Malan (86) helped them reach 445. Scott Newman fell in the first over for 2, but Surrey erased the arrears as they closed on 60 for 1.
Leicestershire's brittle middle-order again let them down as they closed on 243 for 6, only 17 runs ahead of Gloucestershire at Bristol. Their bowlers had polished off Gloucestershire's last three wickets in the morning with little fuss, and then 260 in arrears, Matthew Boyce (85), and Tom New (41) put on 127 for the first wicket. But when Steve Kirby had New caught behind - one of four catches for Steve Snell - the familiar slide ensued as six wickets fell for 116. Boeta Dippenaar (52) fought hard but without any real support, and two late wickets from Jon Lewis all but guaranteed, weather permitting, a home win tomorrow.
Geraint Jones and Martin van Jaarsveld both cracked hundreds as Kent reached 361 for 3 on the third day against Glamorgan at Canterbury, taking a lead of 336 runs. Glamorgan made a good start to the day when Sam Northeast was stumped off Robert Croft without adding to his overnight 15, while Rob Key was caught behind off Adam Shantry for just 13. But thereafter the Kent pair dominated with a third-wicket stand of 309. Jones's second hundred of the season ended on 133 when he was caught by Jamie Dalrymple off David Harrison, but van Jaarsveld remained unbeaten on 174 at stumps.
Essex face a second successive defeat at Wantage Road where Northamptonshire, who closed on 16 for 0, need another 160 to win. Only a gutsy 84 from James Foster gave Essex a fighting chance after they had been reduced to 78 for 3, and he should have gone before he had scored but Andrew Hall spilt a sharp return catch. Steve Crook, who finished with 5 for 71, had Foster caught at slip off his gloves, and while Graham Napier (16), Chris Wright (16*) and Danish Kaneria all got starts, the last four wickets only added 41. Rob White and Niall O'Brien had few problems in the half hour they faced before the close.
Martin van Jaarsveld
County Championship Division Two
County Championship Division One