Cricket: County Championship: Murali takes seven again

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The Independent Online
MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN produced the best figures by a Lancashire bowler for 35 years as he mesmerised Warwickshire for the second time in two days. The Sri Lankan off-spinner added 7 for 66 yesterday to his first-innings 7 for 44, and the match aggregate of 14 for 110 was the best since Brian Statham's 15 for 108.

Yet with Warwickshire on 190 for 9, 263 ahead, he could still finish on the losing side, especially if Lancashire bat as badly as they did in collapsing to 144.

At Basingstoke, the former Yorkshire player Peter Hartley undermined his old country side with figures of 8 for 65 to give Hampshire a first- innings lead of 14 after bowling out the visitors for 192. Hampshire then subsided to 59 for 8 before recovering to 111 without further loss.

Surrey's Mark Butcher played with the Leicestershire bowling at Grace Road to post a career-best score and the highest in the Championship this season.

The opener finished the second day unbeaten on 253 - beating Justin Langer's 241 for Middlesex - out of his side's total of 469 for 7, in reply to the home side's 272, for a lead of 197. Butcher has occupied the crease for 493 minutes, with his 385-ball knock including 30 fours and two sixes.

Glamorgan are facing an innings defeat at Cardiff after being bowled out for 108 in their first innings, with Tim Bloomfield taking 5 for 36 as they chased Middlesex's daunting 462 for 9 declared. Paul Weekes top scored with an unbeaten 140, and was ably assisted by the Middlesex tail as Angus Fraser made 56 and Phil Tufnell 48.

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