The First Division leaders Sussex took advantage of the wobbly performance thus far of Lancashire - their nearest challengers - by building up a commanding first day total against the bottom side Middlesex at Southgate.
Chris Adams, the Sussex captain, was partly to thank, hitting 101 not out as the visitors made 374 for 5 but Murray Goodwin, with 69, and Michael Yardy, who made 97, also take the plaudits after coming together with the score 15 for 2 after Chris Silverwood's early double strike. The England hopeful Matt Prior chipped in with a lively 43.
Also in the top flight Australia's Jason Gillespie took four wickets as Yorkshire saw off Warwickshire for 201 at Scarborough. Only Heath Streak grafted, with 68 not out, lifting his side from 122 for 9. Yorkshire lost Craig White and Anthony McGrath to reach 116 for 2.
At the top of the Second Division, Surrey's excellent season ran headlong into Australia's Justin Langer who hit a brilliant 234 not out from 279 balls at Guildford for Somerset, as they closed on 442 for 2. It is the final Championship match for Langer - who hit 31 fours and two sixes - before he heads home and Surrey's attack, including Anil Kumble, their new overseas player who went for 100, had no answer. Langer shared an opening stand of 227 with Neil Edwards, who made 77.
At Chelmsford, Essex, hoping to prosper from any Surrey slip, failed to dislodge Glamorgan's Mike Powell who led his side to 312 for 5 with 157 not out. Essex had their visitors on 40 for 3 after wickets from Andy Bichel and Darren Gough but failed to take advantage.
The seam bowler Stuart Broad, who has been interesting the England selectors, took four wickets for Leicestershire although Hassan Adnan (117) and James Pipe (87 not out) led Derbyshire to 355 for 8.Reuse content