At Edgbaston, the game oscillated almost at will, as first Warwickshire hobbled towards Essex’s first-innings total, then Essex’s batsmen flipped between flighty and resolute as the shadows stretched towards half past six. And with every evening single, No 11 at the crease, the total Warwickshire were going to have to chase in the morning, grew ever-challenging.
Warwickshire had started the day eight wickets down but Danny Briggs, unbeaten on 66 and striking two sixes, shoehorned 41 more runs out of the tail, leaving them trailing by just 11 runs.
Alastair Cook, enduring a slow start to the season, then fell cheaply after cover-driving with some dash and his departure precipitated a top order collapse, as Tom Westley, Nick Brown, Paul Walter and Ryan ten Doeschate all followed,to leave Essex in trouble on 36 for five.
The bowling was sharp, Olly Stone, who has shaped up over the winter following some fitness work, bowled with real zip backed up by Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Craig Miles, who grabbed four for 62. Dan Lawrence, uneasy at the start but growing increasingly fluent, shepherded the lower-order, passing 50 until running-himself out going for a single which was easy only in his dreams. Simon Harmer, whose batting had been out of sync this season, pushed and scythed his way to an unbeaten 62. His second act comes in the morning, ball in hand, having claimed first innings figures of four for 89.
Surrey collapsed like a stamped-on cardboard box at Lord’s. Rory Burns was caught off the first ball of the day (one of three men to fall that way), and from that point Surrey had no answer to relentless seam bowling, losing seven for 25 in just over an hour. Toby Roland-Jones finished with four for 29, as Middlesex won by 10 wickets. Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb said he “couldn’t be prouder”.
Craig Overton powered Somerset to a nine-wicket victory over Leicestershire, snaffling five for 25, his best Championship bowling figures since 2015. Jack Leach took two wickets in two balls, finishing with three for 43. Tom Lammonby then emerged from his crevice of bad form, finishing unbeaten on 70.
England’s Dom Bess took five wickets to throw Sussex into disarray in their run-chase at Hove, still 99 adrift but only four wickets in hand. Earlier young pup Jack Carson had finished with a career-best five for 85 as Yorkshire’s last-wicket pair of David Willey and Duanne Olivier added 51 crucial runs.
A patient century from Haseeb Hameed, only his second since August 2016, wasn’t enough to save Nottinghamshire from being asked to bat again against Worcestershire. Hameed made an unbeaten 37 as Notts reached 87 without loss at the close but they still trail Worcestershire first innings total of 436 by 73.
Hampshire enforced the follow-on at the Rose Bowl after Gloucestershire failed to meet the target by just one run. In a post-tea collapse they lost five for 37 to Mason Crane and Liam Dawson, including Ryan Higgins for 73. Earlier James Bracey had made 65 before being bowled by Mohammad Abbas, who finished with four for 41.
Durham need 10 wickets on Sunday after declaring their second innings with a lead of 383 over Derbyshire, with unbeaten 50s for Alex Lees and first-innings double centurion David Bedingham. Earlier Chris Rushworth had become Durham’s second highest first-class wicket-taker with six for 58.
After batting like drains in the first innings, Kent, following-on, suddenly found the sunlit uplands, with captain Daniel-Bell Drummond hitting an unbeaten century and Jordan Cox 80. Much frustration for Lancashire, who had bowled Kent out for 169 in their first innings, with four wickets for Tom Bailey.
Fifties from Billy Root and Nick Selman put Glamorgan on the front foot against Northamptonshire, with a lead of 248 on a flat pitch.