Worcestershire vs Somerset, New Road
Things seem pretty even at the end of the day with Somerset finishing a 96-over day with 324 on the board at the cost of nine wickets. Put in to bat by Brett D’Oliveira on an overcast morning, Steven Davies struck a sweet 72 in quick time against his former county. He was preceded by their new overseas played Azhar Ali (37 off 77 balls) negating the new ball with the help of James Hildreth (57 off 99 balls) after the openers fell cheaply.
Skipper Tom Abell was happy to play second fiddle to Davies as he compiled a gritty 70, but fell to the middle-order wobble triggered by English discard, Moeen Ali. Things could’ve been a lot worse for the visitors had it not been for the 53-run eighth wicket stand the Overton brothers put up in very quick time, before Moeen returned to strengthen his comeback case.
Bottom-ranked Worcestershire are desperately on the lookout of a win and present themselves with perhaps their strongest chance in the presence of England returnees.
Brief scores: Somerset 324-9 (Davies 72, Hildreth 57; Moeen 3/56) vs Worcestershire.
Lancashire vs Yorkshire, Old Trafford
In a starkly contrasting follow up to the high scorer the Roses played out a couple of nights ago in the T20 Blast at the same venue, 20 wickets fell on the opening day on Sunday (July 22). One guy who isn’t going to forget this day in a hurry is Jordan Clark. In a dreamy hat-trick, he trapped Joe Root and Kane Williamson LBW before getting Johnny Bairstow to nick behind to the keeper en route his best figures of five for 58 as Yorkshire folded out for 192.
Lancashire started off strongly, with both openers getting off to good starts. From 46 for no loss, they collapsed to 109 all-out, thanks chiefly to Ben Coad, who picked up three wickets in an over to hasten the finish. Their innings included four ducks and four other single-digit scores, with Alex Davies being the only decent contributor with his 51. Lancashire’s hopes were further dashed when Liam Livingstone, the hero from a couple of nights ago injured his wrist while fielding and was unable to bat.
James Anderson too gained vital practice before the all-important Test series against India, sending down 13 overs and accounting for Yorkshire’s top-scorer, Adam Lyth (70). Given how low-scoring the nature of the game has been thus far, this 83-run lead Yorkshire have could be very vital going forward.
Brief scores: Yorkshire 192 (Lyth 70, Joe Root 22; Clark 5-58) lead Lancashire 109 (Davies 51, Keaton Jennings 22; Coad 3-28) by 83 runs.
Nottinghamshire vs Surrey, Trent Bridge
Surrey have Nottinghamshire firmly on the mat after inserting them in to bat on a greenish looking track at Trent Bridge. Skipper Steven Mullaney fell without opening his account in the first over itself to Jade Dernbach. Newly retired Morne Morkel too got into the act with a four-fer to skittle the Notts out for a paltry 210. It reflects the sad take with the bat when the number eleven top scores with 29.
In reply, Surrey opener Mark Stoneman got his season-best score of 86, with Rory Burns strengthening his case for national selection with an unbeaten 97 at stumps. At 233/1, the visitors already have a 13-run-lead with a host of batsmen yet to come in piling on the pressure to a likely point of no return in their quest to stretch the gap as the table leaders.
Brief scores: Surrey 223-1 (Burns 97* Stoneman 86; Ball 1-55) lead Nottinghamshire 210 (Gurney 29; Morkel 4-60) by 13 runs.
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