County Championship round-up: Century for Malan as leaders made to work hard

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The Independent Online

Most cricket fans believe it was madness to schedule the pivotal second Test between England and South Africa in the middle of the Olympics, and most cricket fans were caught completely by surprise that another round of county championship matches got under way yesterday.

Some of those supporters, who had shown Einstein-like powers to make sense of the fixture list, will have made their way down to Uxbridge to see Middlesex take on league leaders Warwickshire, who seem to be in a two-way fight with Nottinghamshire for the title. They saw Dawid Malan hit a century for Middlesex but in-form Chris Woakes took two wickets in two balls and it was just about honours even at the end of day one.

At Liverpool, Ashwell Prince hit a half-century for Lancashire on a rain-affected first day against Somerset, but all-rounder Peter Trego made inroads into their brittle batting. At Hove, Australian paceman Steve Magoffin was again in the wickets as Sussex made short work of the Worcestershire batting.

Down in the Second Division, Yorkshire were skittled for 249 by Northants despite Phil Jaques making 75 while Gloucestershire reduced Glamorgan to 64 for 6 at Swansea before the rain came. Essex made a good start against Leicestershire on another rain-affected first day.