Somerset’s Division One title hopes suffered what could be a decisive blow after a remarkable Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire finished in the competition’s first tie since 2003.
Chasing just 78 to win on day two at Taunton, the hosts crashed to 77 all out in a thrilling finale, with their last two wickets falling with one run needed for victory.
Those final two dismissals, of Dom Bess and then Jack Leach, took Keshav Maharaj to seven for 37, and match figures of 11 for 102. Leach had earlier completed career-best match figures of 12 for 102 in Lancashire’s second innings of 170.
It leaves second-placed Somerset – who will be awaiting the outcome of the pitch report from ECB Cricket Liaison Officer Dean Cosker with some concern after 25 wickets in the match fell to spin, and 22 fell on the first day – 21 points behind leaders Surrey, with three fixtures left each after this round of matches.
And the table-toppers were firmly on top when bad light brought an early finish to the second day of their clash with Essex at Chelmsford, the home side having been asked to follow on.
It was a good day for Surrey’s veteran all-rounder Rikki Clarke, who posted 56 as the visitors made a first-innings total of 351 before taking four for 28 to help skittle Essex for just 126.
Having been asked to bat again, Essex were 13 without loss when the umpires took the players off the pitch at 4.37pm and play was called off for the day.
Kyle Abbot registered a hat-trick as Hampshire neared victory in their clash with rock-bottom Worcestershire at New Road.
On a day when 24 wickets fell, the home side were set a victory target of 248 and had collapsed to 120 for eight by the close, with Abbott, who finished with figures of 10-1-35-5, accounting for the final three dismissals.
Gary Ballance led Yorkshire’s fightback against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, scoring his second hundred of the season.
Hitting 104, he had partnerships of 95 with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (57 not out) and 78 with Harry Brook (47) as the away side got to 258 for four by stumps, 190 runs adrift.
Nottinghamshire earlier extending their first-innings total to 448 all out had seen Samit Patel (54) and Matt Milnes (43) share a stand of 90.
In Division Two, Durham closed on 224 for seven in their first innings in reply to leaders Warwickshire’s 310 at Edgbaston.
The visitors were rocked by a devastating spell from Olly Stone (five for 43) that saw four wickets fall for 13 runs before Durham captain Paul Collingwood (32 not out) and Barry McCarthy (24 not out) dug deep into the early evening with an unbroken 59-run partnership.
Meanwhile, only 3.1 overs were possible on day two of second-placed Kent’s clash against Northamptonshire at Canterbury due to rain and bad light, with the away side, replying to 137, adding five runs to their overnight 71 for eight.
Eighteen wickets fell on an extraordinary second day of Sussex against Leicestershire at Hove.
Sussex were bowled out for 373, Leicestershire slumped to 49 for nine in reply before a last-wicket stand of 84 between Mohammad Abbas and Callum Parkinson took their side to 133, and the day then ended with Sussex holding an overall lead of 340 on 100 for six.
Another match with plenty of wickets on day two was the contest at Derby, where 21 fell and Derbyshire’s Tony Palladino took seven as bottom side Glamorgan were left facing the prospect of another defeat.
After Palladino was the key man in Glamorgan’s dismissal for 121, taking six for 29, Derbyshire were bowled out for 171.
The visitors then closed on 16 for one – Palladino adding to his haul – as they chased 302 for victory.
At Bristol, 17-year-old Ben Charlesworth starred with bat and ball as Gloucestershire assumed the upper hand against Middlesex.
Charlesworth contributed 77 not out to to the hosts’ first-innings 296 and then took three for 21 as Middlesex got to 182 for seven, with Dawid Malan making 62.