A full round of matches with little interference from the weather and wicketkeepers go run crazy.
Starting with my two tips for relegation as Lancashire hosted Sussex. The visitors were soon struggling, despite 90 for Ed Joyce as James Anderson took 6 wickets to restrict them to 289. Lancs then recovered somewhat from a poor start to their innings, with Mark Chilton, now in the middle order, getting 89, to reach 299; Luke Wright taking five wickets. Anderson and Gary Keedy then took five wickets a piece as Sussex crumbled to 167, leaving Lancs requiring 158 to win, which they made for the loss of two wickets, Ashwell Prince contributing an unbeaten 91. A winning start for new Lancs coach Peter Moores against his old club.
At Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire batted first against Worcestershire, racking up 500, with Chris Read making a ton and Samit Patel and Adam Voges both getting into the 90s. Worcester missed avoiding the follow on by 2 runs as they made 354. Steve Davies matched Read’s hundred, but Stuart Broad’s five wickets did the damage. Second time round Worcester weren’t as successful, making just 146 to lose by an innings and 6 runs.
At the Riverside, Durham began the defence of their title against Yorkshire and were soon in trouble at 129 for 5, until Ian Blackwell and Phil Mustard both scored 90s to get the home side to 362. Yorkshire’s innings went to other way, collapsing from 247 for 4 to 272 all out with Steve Harmison taking four wickets. A century from Mike DiVenuto then helped to extend Durham’s lead to 393 as they declared on 303 for 5. The early loss of Jacques Rudolph meant that chasing the target was never a viable option and Yorkshire batted out for the draw, finishing on 193 for 7, Graham Onions taking five of the wickets.
Finally, Hampshire visited Warwickshire and were indebted to an unbeaten ton from Nic Pothas as they reached 379. At 120 for 4, the Bears were struggling. However, a stand of 335 between Jim Troughton (223) and Tim Ambrose (153), with Rikki Clarke then scoring a rapid 112 took Warwicks to 630 for 8. However, they were then not able to bowl Hants out for a second time, as the visitors finished on 301 for 6, Pothas making an unbeaten 65.
Northamptonshire made 355 as they visited Kent, with Nicky Boje falling two runs short of his ton. Kent’s reply of 417 was based around tons for Geraint Jones and Martin van Jaarsveld. Steven Peters then made a ton for Northants as they reached 348 for 7 as the game petered out into a draw.
Ryan ten Doeschate took five wickets as Essex restricted Gloucestershire to 155. However, Essex were only good for a small first innings lead as they were bowled out for 177. Gloucester then did worse second time round, making 119, leaving Essex the task of scoring 99 to win, which they did for the loss of just three wickets.
Graham Wagg took six wickets as Surrey were skittled for just 131 away to Derbyshire. Pedro Collins then took 5-fer as Derby made 274 in reply, Greg Smith making an unbeaten 94. Scott Newman’s ton led Surrey to a more substantial total second time round, making 360 and leaving Derby needing 218 to win. They reached this for the loss of five wickets and are the early pacesetters in Division 2.
Finally this week to Lords where Marks Cosgrove and Wallace both hit tons as Glamorgan made 505. Australian opener Philip Hughes then hit a ton for Middlesex as the home side declared on 414 for 8. Jamie Dalrymple then hit an unbeaten 112 on his old home ground as Glamorgan declared on 278 for 8. However, despite an early wobble, the pitch was too good to force a result and Middlesex finished on 94 for 3 and the game was drawn
England Player Watch
From all accounts Michael Vaughan got a rough decision to end on 24 in his first innings and made a defensive 20 as Yorkshire batted out for a draw. Ian Bell’s stellar start to the season hit a stumble as he made 29. Rob Key made 2 for Kent.
On the wicketkeeping front there were tons for Steven Davies, Chris Read, Tim Ambrose, Geraint Jones, Mark Wallace and Nic Pothas, while Phil Mustard made 95. Matt Prior made just 4 in two innings but remains the man in possession. . That was four more than James Foster managed, who remains the man most likely to challenge Prior for the keeping spot.
Eleven wickets for James Anderson as Lancs beat Sussex, for whom Luke Wright took a 5-fer. Saj Mahmood went wicketless, though. Stuart Broad also took a 5-fer and seven wickets in the match to go with a quick-fire 60 while batting. Graeme Swann also picked up five wickets in the match. Steve Harmison took five of the Yorkshire wickets to fall, including that of Michael Vaughan (possibly fortuitously). His Durham colleague Graham Onions took a 5-fer as they pressed for victory, while Matthew Hoggard picked up six wickets, Adil Rashid four and Tim Bresnan 3 to go with his 60 runs in the match. Monty Panesar picked up a couple of wickets against Kent.
Player of the Week
Last week this was straight forward. It’s not this week. The award almost went to wicketkeepers in general, who seemed to dominate the scoring this week. Jim Troughton also deserves a mention for his double century as does Stuart Broad for his all round performance. However, this week’s Player of the Week is Broad’s new ball partner for England, with eleven wickets as Lancs beat Sussex, James Anderson