Bicknell's all-round prowess leaves Essex floundering

The defending champions and current First Division leaders, Surrey, remain in control of their County Championship match with Essex at Chelmsford after the second day.

The defending champions and current First Division leaders, Surrey, remain in control of their County Championship match with Essex at Chelmsford after the second day.

Essex's main tormentor was Martin Bicknell. The Surrey all-rounder hit a career-high of 141 for the visitors, before taking 4 for 67 from 19 overs with the ball.

Jonathan Dakin, who took a return catch from his own bowling to dismiss Bicknell, top scored for the home side with 59 from a total of 252.

Surrey then survived 3.4 overs before the close, adding seven runs to take their overall lead to 131 with all 10 second innings wickets remaining.

Simon Cook took advantage of helpful conditions to undermine Leicestershire's struggle for first-innings parity against Middlesex at Grace Road.

The seamer's figures of 4 for 33 were the most significant contribution as the hosts stumbled to 136 for 8 in reply to Middlesex's 201 on a second day robbed of 66 overs by rain and bad light.

Cook, back in action after two matches out with a hamstring injury, was denied a hat-trick after dismissing the Leicestershire captain Phil DeFreitas and David Masters in successive balls, David Brignull surviving the delivery.

Nottinghamshire made a good start in their chase of a massive 619 for 7 declared against Sussex at Horsham, reaching 85 for 1 at the close. Sussex were 330 for 5 overnight and piled on the runs yesterday, Matt Prior and Kevin Innes sharing a stand of 157 for the seventh wicket.

Prior made 133 before eventually becoming the third victim of Steve Elworthy, while Innes reached his century (103 not out) before the declaration came.

In the Second Division, the long-serving pace bowler Mike Smith took 5 for 70 at New Road to maintain a 100 per cent record for Gloucestershire's attack in the County Championship this season.

The Second Division leaders banked three bowling points for the sixth game in a row by dismissing Worcestershire for 175, and then made 66 for 3 before rain and bad light wiped out the final session.

Smith, a key figure in his county's success in one-day competitions in recent seasons, claimed five wickets in a championship innings for only the second time

Fourteen wickets fell on the second day at Durham where the home side were 89 ahead with 10 second-innings wickets remaining.

After moving from 296 for 6 to post a total of 317 all out, Durham dismissed Derbyshire for 244, Michael Di Venuto eventually last man out for a superb 150. Jon Lewis and Michael Gough saw Durham to the close without any further losses.

Hampshire were firmly in control at Southampton after reducing Somerset to 123 for 7. Chasing a total of 308, Jamie Cox remaining unbeaten on 127, Somerset were quickly in trouble with Nixon McLean taking the first three wickets for just six runs against his former county. John Crawley and Robin Smith went without scoring before Gareth Andrew got in on the act with three for 30.

No play at all was possible at Headingley with Yorkshire 190 for 9 after the first day's action against Glamorgan. Rain prevented a resumption of Yorkshire's first innings at Headingley where the home scorer John Potter recorded this month as the wettest May since 1994.

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