Amidst the excitement of England’s second ever World Cup final, the tenth round of the County Championship arrived today, and the first day’s play saw several Ashes hopefuls make runs whilst the spinners enjoyed possibly their best day so far.
Gary Ballance hit a timely century ahead of the upcoming tests as Yorkshire enjoyed the better of the first day against title-chasing Somerset.
His 111 off 212 balls helped guide the White Rose to 282/3 at stumps, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore unbeaten on 77 overnight.
The pair’s partnership of 199 frustrated the division leaders who had chosen to bowl at Headingley, and after a solid opening partnership of 80 removed Adam Lyth (35) and Will Fraine (45) in the space of three overs. It was hard work for the men from Taunton after that and they face the prospect of another day in the field tomorrow (Sunday).
Elsewhere Warwickshire will be pleased with their day’s work at Chelmsford as they dismissed Essex for 245 on the first day. After Nick Browne and Tom Westley fell for just six and eight respectfully, it was Sir Alastair Cook who guided Essex through the first two sessions with a gritty half-century alongside Dan Lawrence who made a more fluent one of his own.
But after the pair were removed in quick succession by Will Rhodes the lower-middle order offered little resistance and it was somewhat thanks to the tail that Essex reached a respectable total. It was Rhodes’s day though, the all-rounder finishing with incredible figures of 14.3-6-17-5, his best in first-class cricket.
Ravi Ashwin was the star at Trent Bridge as Nottinghamshire spun Surrey out for 240. The Indian off-spinner finished with 6-69 as he took care of the reigning champions’ top order, accounting for all of the top four’s wickets as the visitors' batting struggled to get going- only Dean Elgar (59) making a half-century.
Liam Patterson-White continued his impressive start to his first-class career, the left-arm spinner taking 3-62 following on from his five-for on debut at Taunton last week. Samit Patel trapped Scott Borthwick (29) lbw as the spinners accounted for all ten wickets. Surrey though fought back as the hosts began their innings with South African pacer Morne Morkel claiming the wicket of Ben Slater (1) as Notts reached stumps on 20/1.
Meanwhile, Hampshire dominated at the Ageas Bowl as they won the toss and elected to bat. Despite missing top scorer and captain Sam Northeast they racked up the runs and made Kent toil, finishing the day on 340-6. Felix Organ made his maiden first-class hundred- a patient 100 off 235 balls- as he shared a solid opening partnership of 95 with Ian Holland (60) and then one of 166 with Riley Rosseau (92). To their credit Kent dragged themselves back into it in the last hour, dismissing Rosseau, Organ, Gareth Berg and Aneurin Donald in the space of 13 overs. But the visitors face a tough second day, and will be hoping their batting- with eight centuries so far this season, the most of any Division 1 side- will once again be enough.
Lancashire boosted their promotion hopes against fellow promotion hopefuls Sussex at Old Trafford. Glenn Maxwell, fresh from World Cup semi-final disappointment, and young leg-spinner Matt Parkinson took all 10 wickets as Lancs ripped through the men from Hove.
After a strong opening stand of 77 between top scoring Phil Salt (40) and Varun Chopra (32), Sussex collapsed to 127 all out as Maxwell claimed 4-41 and Parkinson his best first-class figures of 6-23. It didn’t get any better for the visitors as Keaton Jennings, unbeaten overnight on 53, and Alex Davies (72) racked up 132 runs for the opening stand.
Left-arm spinner Delroy Rawlins removed Davies in the last hour, but Haseeb Hameed (4*) stood firm and will resume alongside Jennings in the morning as the table toppers look to turn the screw.
A good day for Lancashire was made even better as second-placed Glamorgan endured a horrible first day against Middlesex. Dawid Malan, with perhaps half an eye on an England place, led the way with a brilliant 166 off 194 as Middlesex racked up 384 in the first 84 overs of the day, with supporting knocks by Toby Roland-Jones (57) and Nathan Sowter (54*).
It was the next nine overs that put the visitors firmly in the driving seat though as Tom Helm ripped through Glamorgan’s top order. The seamer returned astonishing figures of 4-0-8-4, leaving the Welshmen reeling on 25/4 at stumps and needing a huge recovery to keep their promotion push moving forward.
And finally, it was Worcestershire who controlled a rain-affected first day as Durham ended on 122-6 at the close of play. Just 40 overs were possible at Chester-Le-Street but it didn’t put the Worcester attack off as they reduced Durham- whose promotion hopes have taken a blow- to 47/6 inside 18 overs. Charlie Morris and Joe Leach took two wickets each, and Ed Barnard and Dillon Pennington one apiece, before a determined 8th wicket partnership of 75 between Ned Eckersley (39*) and Ben Raine (25*) saw Durham recover. However, they will need a much better day tomorrow if they hope to keep the pressure on Sussex and Derbyshire.