Day Two of the final round of the County Championship fixtures set up the final title run-in perfectly. Middlesex put themselves in a strong position against Yorkshire, while Somerset took control against Nottinghamshire to put themselves back in the title race.
Roland-Jones strikes as Bresnan and Hodd offer resistance
On the second day at Lord's, Yorkshire started the day in the driving seat. Having bowled out Middlesex for just 270 on Day One, a first innings lead appeared inevitable. It wasn't to be however, and a top order collapse threatened to end Yorkshire's title hunt.
Toby Roland-Jones stole the show early with the ball. Roland-Jones struck three times in quick succession. The paceman removed Alex Lees, Gary Ballance and Andrew Gale for ducks. Roland-Jones returned later in the innings to take his fourth wicket as he claimed the wicket of the fighting Andy Hodd.
It's still tight but Middlesex still appear to be the title favourites as they need to simply win in order to take the Championship title to London. Their good start was halted however after a big partnership flourished between Tim Bresnan and Hodd.
The two added 116 runs for the fifth wicket before Hodd was trapped LBW by Roland-Jones having fought his way to 64. Bresnan didn't fall and he ended the day unbeaten on 72. Bresnan had shared a brief partnership with David Willey, the England man scoring a quick 22 before being trapped in front by Tim Murtagh. Bresnan then ended the day sharing the crease with Azeem Rafiq, who finished on 20*.
Somerset look to secure victory over Notts
Somerset will only win the title if Yorkshire and Middlesex draw and Somerset secure at least 23 points or if Yorkshire beat Middlesex but fail to match the number of points Somerset score. They may have complex permutations but at the minute only Somerset appear to have a nailed-on victory.
Somerset may have suffered a momentous lower order collapse yesterday but today it was Nottinghamshire's turn to suffer the struggle. The Notts batting order was blown away by some high class spin, courtesy of Jack Leach and Dominic Bess.
Bess had been one of the few Somerset lower order to fight yesterday as he scored 42. He then followed up his batting success with heroics with the ball as he took 5-43 from 22.5 overs. He was ably backed up by Leach, who was unlucky to have missed out on a touring spot for England against Bangladesh. Leach took 3-42 from 21 overs.
Somerset then managed to follow up their bowling performance with a strong start to their second innings. Tim Abell fell cheaply, adding just 10 to the score. Marcus Trescothick secured the innings as he scored 39 from the top of the order. Chris Rogers and Ryan Davies then built Somerset's lead as the home side ended the day on 105-2, a lead of 322 with eight wickets remaining.
Hampshire build case for survival
Hampshire are still fighting for survival and victory over Durham is essential to their hopes. They ended the day with Durham still trailing by 169 runs with just three wickets remaining.
Hampshire's bowlers did excellent work early on in the day, Durham had bowled out Hampshire's lower order quickly before the top order batsmen will have been regretting being in so early in the day. Brad Wheal took advantage of the conditions as he took three wickets whilst Liam Dawson continued his good form with the bat with two wickets.
Ben Stokes offered resistance, the all-rounded grounded out a half-century before finally being removed as he was caught off the bowling of Wheal. Graham Clark also passed fifty before Dawson accounted for his wicket. Michael Richardson was the last batsmen in the Durham order to pass fifty, he ended the day not out.
Elsewhere in Division One, Warwickshire fought back against Lancashire as they bowled out the Red Rose for just 152. Warwickshire, who are not yet guaranteed safety, were lead expertly by Keith Barker. The paceman took 4-30 from 20.5 overs and he was ably backed up with support from Chris Wright and Jeetan Patel, who both took two wickets.