While England finally show some decent form in the World Cup, albeit a match too late, the domestic season has got off to a bang. In unusually warm weather for the start of the season, there were runs galore and some highly impressive performances.
Parochial, I know, but I’m going to start with Yorkshire’s win over Surrey. Runs galore in the first three innings, with Rudolph, Bresnan, Gillespie, Newman, Ramprakash (of course!) and White all hitting tons. However, Yorkshire’s bowling was the difference, with Rashid, Gough and Hoggard proving too much for Surrey to handle and the Tykes ran out comfortable winners.
Sussex also took maximum points as Mushtaq started where he left off last season with ten wickets against Kent. The Sussex batting relied heavily on Richard Montgomerie’s 175, with Naved and Kirtley also chipping in with useful 50s.
The other winners were Durham, where Steve Harmison took eight wickets as Worcester were put to the sword. Hundreds for Di Venuto in the first innings and Blenkenstein in the second, whereas the Worcester batting was disappointing, with only Jacques showing much resistance.
The match between Warwickshire and Lancashire ended in a draw. Warwicks started on top, with Loudon and Troughton scoring hundreds, Sutton doing the same in reply as Lancs were 150 runs behind on first innings. Tight bowing in the Warwicks second inning meant that the didn’t leave enough time to worry Lance, for whom Mal Loye hit a hundred as the match petered out.
Notts were the only winners, against Leicestershire, on the back of a great all round bowling performance and centuries for Gallian and Hussey. Only Ackerman offered much resistance as Notts got home by nine wickets.
Runs galore at Taunton, with Middlesex declaring on 600 for 4 (hundreds for Shah, Godleman and Nash). Somerset then made 850 for 7 (another triple hundred for Langer, with tons for Hildeth, White and Trego). Middlesex saw the game out with little fuss (and a hundred for Ed Smith). It could be a hard year for the Somerset bowlers at home, for whom Andy Caddick has signed a contract extension – he may be regretting that if they don’t get a bit more life into the pitch.
A high scoring draw at Chelmsford too, where Derbyshire were on top for most of the game. Hundreds for Harvey, Pipe and Cook, but the declaration didn’t leave enough time for a result and Essex secured a comfortable draw.
With the World Cup on, there are a few England contenders on show.
On the batting side, Ali Cook hit another century for Essex, while Owais Shah scored had two good innings, 193 and 72 not out on a batsman’s paradise at Taunton. Relatively speaking, Marcus Trescothick should be disappointed in “only” getting 70.
On the wicket-keeping side, Chris Read was run out in the 30s in his only innings, gaining ground on Matt Prior, who scored 14 and Steve Davies who got 14 and 6, but losing out to James Foster who scored 61. Geraint Jones (if he is still a contender) was out in single figures in both innings.
The bowling does look promising, with Hoggard and Harmison both bowling aggressively and getting wickets. Coming on the back off his performance in the Sussex-MCC match, stories about the demise of Steve Harmison may have been premature.
Player of the Week
Sorry, but it’s a Yorkie. Some great batting performances this week, but the award goes to an all-round performance. For scoring 86 (in a stand of 190 with Jacques Rudolph) and taking seven wickets, my first player of the week is Adil Rashid.