The twist to this particular Canterbury tale came after Matthew Fleming (53) and Steve Marsh (51) had extended Kent's lead to 206, whereupon Alan Igglesden showed his fitness for higher things by sweeping through the top order as Derbyshire stumbled to 74 for 6. Cue Allan Warner and a stand of 87 with Mark Vandrau, the 36-year-old seamer ultimately shepherding the visitors to 228 for 9 with an unbeaten 94, a career-best.
Glamorgan and Middlesex, co-tenants of the Championship penthouse, both had a trying time of it. At Bath, Graham Rose returned after being retired hurt by Neil Williams the previous evening, contributing 30 to a Somerset innings that eventually closed at 318, Williams claiming 4 for 71. Middlesex then struggled to 24 for 2 before rain prevented further recreation at the Recreation Ground. Glamorgan, meanwhile, were kept at bay at Colwyn Bay by Wayne Larkins (77) and Phil Bainbridge (71), Durham defying the off-breaks of Robert Croft (4 for 70) to reach 263, 37 behind.
Like his county, Salim Malik has been veering between the sublime and the substandard, but Trent Bridge staged one of his better productions as the Pakistani proceeded to his second century of the season. Mark Ilott vented his Test frustrations on the home attack with a career-best unbeaten 50 as Essex racked up 450 for eight declared, Paul Pollard and Mark Saxelby retorting with an opening stand of 88 as the hosts closed on 174 for 2.
If Lancashire seemed content to trade runs for wickets on an Old Trafford turner, the exchange rate is unlikely to have pleased them. After wicketkeeper Peter Moores (85 not out) had steered Sussex to an imposing 403, Gehan Mendis and Steve Titchard opened up with 127 before Eddie Hemmings demonstrated his recovery from a knee operation in tandem with fellow off-spinner Brad Donelan, the pair sharing nine wickets as the hosts rattled along at five runs an over before subsiding for 280.
Northamptonshire's consistent opening pair, Alan Fordham (63 not out) and Nigel Felton (64), were somewhat less frivolous, adding 141 to wipe out Hampshire's 122-run lead.Reuse content