With just two weeks before the opening Test against West Indies, Michael Vaughan made 72 in his first first-class innings since the middle of last summer but Hampshire finished on top against Yorkshire at The Rose Bowl. Although Vaughan made his mark, striking 11 fours before being run out from mid on, it was Younis Khan who took the batting honours with 106, his first century for Yorkshire. He'd been partly responsible for Vaughan's run out, but stabilised the innings after it tottered on 183 for 5. Adil Rashid, facing his hero Shane Warne, provided valuable support with 54 in a sixth-wicket stand of 99. However, James Bruce and James Tomlinson struck back and Yorkshire's lower order, a valuable source of runs so far, folded with the last five wickets falling for 17 as they ended one run short of another batting point.
The quirks if the fixture list means that Kent and Sussex are facing each other for the second time in two weeks and when Kent fell to 66 for 4 at Canterbury an action replay of the first encounter, when Sussex came out handsome winners, appeared on the cards. However, Matthew Walker and Yasir Arafat, against his former county, stopped the defending champions in their tracks with a sixth-wicket stand of 148. The early damage had been done by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Martin-Jenkins before Kent's recovery was launched by Geraint Jones's 49. But Sussex were hindered when Naved-ul-Hasan strained his stomach muscles after trying to take a return catch off Walker, who was also dropped Chris Nash. Walker took 182 balls over his century before being bowled by Mushtaq Ahmed, on an occasion where the legspinner was unusually expensive. Arafat went to just his second first-class ton from 139 deliveries before the innings was wrapped up by Robin Martin-Jenkins' five-wicket haul. Arafat completed an outstanding all-round day by removing Richard Montgomerie and nightwatchman James Kirtley before stumps.
Surrey's problems continued as they wasted a century opening stand at Old Trafford with Lancashire producing an impressive fightback with the ball. Scott Newman (60) and Jon Batty (70) added 117 and were not broken until Dominic Cork struck after lunch during an aggressive spell of short-pitched bowling. The middle order failed to build on the start as Oliver Newby removed the key wickets of Mark Ramprakash, pushing outside off stump, and Mark Butcher who chopped on. Gary Keedy then wheeled away and shifted the middle-order hitters, Rikki Clarke and James Benning, before wrapping up the tail with only Ali Brown (69) boosting the total. Surrey, though, had time to finish on a high as they removed the struggling Iain Sutcliffe early in Lancashire's reply.
Jim Troughton's second century of the season, a career-best 162, put Warwickshire in a strong position against Worcestershire at New Road. His hundred came off 154 balls, although he was dropped shortly before reaching the mark, and he added 113 for the third wicket with Alex Loudon to settle the side after early problems. The day had started poorly for the visitors as Kabir Ali removed both openers - Darren Maddy was kept scoreless for 26 balls before edging an outswinger - with just three on the board in a tight first spell. Slowly batting became easier and Tim Ambrose cemented Warwickshire's recovery with a 123-ball century, continuing his promising early-season form. Worcestershire's attack lacked bite after they'd lost Doug Bollinger shortly before the start with a side strain to go alongside the already injured Matt Mason.
Alastair Cook continued his prolific start to the season with 136 but Essex were pegged back by Northamptonshire at Northampton. Cook's second Championship century, and third overall for the summer, came off 140 balls. He shared an opening stand of 190 with Mark Pettini (67) as the home side's attack struggled to make an impact with Johan van der Wath able to bowl just three overs. Jason Brown eventually broke through, but Monty Panesar didn't have everything his own way on his return to action after the World Cup. His first spell of six overs cost 41 although he did end Cook's innings, which sparked Essex into their dramatic slump. Steven Crook took four quick wickets with the second new ball with five ducks in the lower order. Four batsmen departed on 289 and the collapse brought 8 for 68.
Simon Katich led from the front with a double century as Derbyshire overcame an early jolt to progress to a healthy 448 for 4 against Somerset at Taunton. He shared an unbroken stand of 241 with Ian Harvey on a ground that has been a batsman's paradise during the early part of the season. For a while early in the day that looked like changing when Derbyshire quickly found themselves 0 for 2 as Andrew Caddick struck twice. The third breakthrough, though, was a while in coming as Katich and Steve Stubbings added 150. Katich was the aggressor and Stubbings edged behind to Craig Kieswetter, the promising wicketkeeping making his Championship debut, after facing 158 balls. Katich reached three figures off 167 balls, and his double of 298, while Ian Harvey joined the list of batsmen to fill their boots in the South West with his second century in two Championship matches. By the close Katich was just eight short of his career-best and the Somerset bowlers were hunting out their groundsman.
Samit Patel struck his second glittering Championship hundred in two innings, and Jason Gallian his second of the season, as Nottinghamshire piled in against a weak Glamorgan attack at Trent Bridge. Gallian was the first to his century and added 136 with David Hussey (81) following the loss of two early wickets. The first strike went to James Harris who, at 16 years and 351 days, became the youngest Glamorgan bowler to take a Championship wicket. After Hussey had been caught behind Patel carried on where he'd left off against Gloucestershire taking 132 balls to register his century in an innings which included two huge sixes over midwicket. Gallian was still going strong at the close and Nottinghamshire already have a full hand of batting points.
Solid contributions from Gloucestershire's top order enabled them to engineer a promising position against Leicestershire at Bristol. Kadeer Ali led the way with 92, adding 134 with Grant Hodnett (67). Ali was trapped lbw eight short of a century then Marcus North took control of the innings with a well constructed 86, including three sixes. Stuart Broad had to wait until late in the day to add his name on the wicket-taker's list but his removal of Chris Taylor and the crucial scalp of North boosted Leicestershire although there is still plenty of work to do. Charl Langeveldt didn't enjoy his first outing, going wicketless through 25 overs.