Cricket: Vaughan century ends his lean run

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A CENTURY from Michael Vaughan helped Yorkshire on their way against Essex on the opening day of their County Championship match at Chelmsford and ended a lean spell for the opening batsman. Vaughan reached his first hundred of the season, ably assisted by David Byas, Matthew Wood and Craig White, but Essex refused to let the visitors amass a huge total.

Three wickets from the veteran spinner Peter Such kept the home side in touch and stopped Vaughan and Wood turning their landmarks into even bigger personal triumphs. Vaughan's well-crafted hundred was the result of more than four hours determined batting interspersed with some fine offside strokes.

The opener offered a sharp slip catch to Stuart Law when he was on 29 but the chance went to ground off the bowling of Jamie Grove, and Vaughan did not look back until he was in three figures. He nudged Such for a single to mid-wicket to bring up his hundred but the Essex spinner claimed his wicket before Vaughan could add another run.

Law went some way towards making amends for the earlier miss when Vaughan lobbed him a simple catch at short mid-on and the Australian gratefully accepted it. Vaughan's 100 came off 199 balls and included 15 fours, after he had lost his opening partner, Greg Blewett, inside four overs.

Somerset's Peter Bowler and Mike Burns made the Leicestershire bowlers toil after the visitors won the toss at Taunton. Thirteen years after becoming the first Leicestershire player to hit a century on his debut, Bowler emerged from a lean spell of Championship form to hit an unbeaten 131.

Burns contributed 106 not out - his maiden first-class century - to an unbroken stand of 221, a Somerset record for the fourth wicket against Leicestershire. The home side closed on 334 for 3.

Leicestershire handed their opponents a flying start when Chris Lewis was no-balled nine times in his initial three-over spell with the new ball at a time when bowling conditions were at their best. Bowler and captain Jamie Cox capitalised by taking the score past 50 in 7.1 overs.

The classy left-hander David Hemp was unbeaten with 139, his first century of the season, as Warwickshire made 305 for 6 on the first day against Worcestershire at Edgbaston.