Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group's updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

Read the Record Breaker

The Specsavers County Championship got underway again in some typical English summer weather. For those who like a long, lazy spell of leisurely festival cricket, Essex’s trip to Scarborough didn’t provide quite what you might have wanted – except for the away fans who were able to celebrate victory inside two days. Yorkshire’s batting – Adam Lyth (68)  excepted – was overwhelmed by Mohammad Amir, who took five for 18, as they were skittled out for just 113 in 35.2 overs. It still wasn’t easy for Essex, with the top five all reaching double figures and all getting out for fewer than 35. Skipper Ryan ten Doeschate changed all that, and his 88 ensured the away side were on top, all out for 231.
A lead of 118 was decisive, and it required 70 from Jack Leaning to ensure Essex even had to bat again, as Amir and James Porter caused havoc. Amir finished with career-best match figures of ten for 72 as Yorkshire were bowled out for 150, leaving Essex with a target of 33 for victory, which they got for the loss of two wickets. In the race to be the first to 50 wickets, Simon Harmer pipped Porter to the landmark when he had Jack Brooks caught by Adam Wheater in the 35th over; Porter followed suit just 15 overs later. After nine games, Essex are 41 points clear at the top of the table, having won six matches and lost none.
Lancashire and Hampshire are their nearest rivals (though Hampshire have played a game more), and the two sides met at Southampton where they played out a draw. The visitors made just 149 in their first innings, with Mason Crane picking up three for 27. England spinner Liam Dawson showed what he could do with the bat, making 75, as the hosts replied with a score of 224. Kyle Jarvis took six for 61, his best figures for Lancashire. Trailing by 75 runs, a quickfire 97 in 92 balls from Alex Davies, combined with a resolute 77 off 219 from Haseeb Hameed, ensured Lancashire could bat out the rest of the rain-reduced match, finishing on 314 for five.
Surrey are fourth, 12 points further back, and they drew in another rain-affected match at Taunton. Steven Davies made 142, his best score for the county, as Somerset piled up a total of 436. Dominic Bess made a career-best 55. In reply, Surrey scored 345, with Mark Stoneman’s 67 taking him past 1000 runs for the fifth time in his career, and he was rewarded with an England call-up to replace Keaton Jennings at the top of the order in the first Test against West Indies. Bess took five for 101 – his fifth five-wicket haul in just seven matches – the 20-year-old looks a very bright prospect indeed. And that was all there was time for.
Champions Middlesex were surprisingly beaten by bottom-placed Warwickshire by 190 runs at Lord’s. This came after the visitors were rolled over for just 126 in their first innings. Nathan Sowter made his debut for the hosts, but bowled just one over and then made a two-ball duck in the first innings. James Franklin’s 55 was the most notable innings in Middlesex’s reply of 161. The Australian version of Ryan Sidebottom made his debut for Warwickshire (his last first-class game coming back in March 2013) and took four for 29.
With fifties from Jonathan Trott, Matthew Lamb (a career-best 71), Chris Woakes and Keith Barker, the away side made it up to 361, setting a target of 327, despite a career-best four for 75 from Ryan Higgins. Sowter took his first wicket – Sidebottom – and then made the top score in Middlesex’s run chase. The fact that it was only 37 (off 23 balls) shows why the home side made just 136, with the wickets shared among the Warwickshire attack. Despite the win, Warwickshire remain 31 points behind Middlesex, with Somerset in second-last place.
At Derby, Nottinghamshire enhanced their position at the top of the Second Division with an emphatic victory by an innings and 61 runs. Brett Hutton, on his return to the first team, took five for 52 as the hosts were dismissed for 220. Then it was the Alex Hales show, as the in-form batsman blasted a run-a-ball 218 that featured 158 runs in boundaries (38 fours and a six), helping his side to 508 for nine declared. Hutton was again the main threat, taking five for 74 to give him match figures of ten for 126. His four five-fers have come in two matches. But perhaps the most significant moment came on the final afternoon when Chris Read caught out opposite number Gary Wilson to take him up to a Nottinghamshire record-breaking 968 dismissals for the county, beating the record set by Thomas Oates back in 1925.  Derbyshire were eventually all out for 227, and Notts moved 35 points clear at the top of the table with four games to play.
Worcestershire are still second despite losing at home to Sussex by nine wickets. Angus Robson, on his Sussex debut, made a duck, but 118 from Chris Nash and lower-order fifties from Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer saw the visitors up to 430 all out. On his debut, Patrick Brown accounted for Archer as his first victim. Jordan was Sussex’s most successful bowler, taking four for 77, but it was Harry Finch who had the most notable performance, taking a county record-equalling five catches in the field – the first to achieve this feat for Sussex since Javed Miandad in 1976. All out for 268, Worcestershire were forced to follow on and performed even worse, making just 170. Archer’s three wickets in the second innings took him up to 49 for the summer, just one behind the leading pair. Sussex are now 17 points behind their rivals, with a game in hand.
But two points ahead of Sussex are Northamptonshire after their draw with Gloucestershire at Northampton. The home side made 343 all out, with Simon Kerrigan and Atif Sheikh both making their debuts for the county. George Drissell made his debut for Gloucestershire but didn’t pick up a wicket in the first innings. Richard Gleeson took a career-best five for 46 to help dismiss the visitors for 265, and things could have got interesting as the hosts followed up their 78-run lead by tumbling to 50 for five, but the game ended then – another victim of the weather.
At the bottom of the table, another rain-affected match saw Durham move above Leicestershire after they made 525 for eight declared at Grace Road. Cameron Steel and Tom Latham (124) put on 234 for the first wicket, but Steel went on to make a mammoth career-best 224. Neil Dexter took five 71. The hosts made 124 for four in reply.
The West Indians’ second tour match also ended in a draw after they were bowled out for 265 at Canterbury. Sean Dickson’s innings of 142 helped Kent to 331 for nine declared in reply, and Zak Crawley made 62 on his debut. The West Indians were 132 for four when the game finished.