The fledgling England pace bowler Steve Finn took career-best figures of 9 for 37 as Worcestershire were dismissed for 119 in their second innings against Middlesex in the Second Division of the County Championship at New Road.
The 21-year-old produced the best analysis by a Middlesex bowler for 40 years, and picked up match figures of 14 for 106, to leave the visitors requiring 281 to win.
It was a rousing comeback by Middlesex, who had themselves been dismissed for a meagre 126 in their first innings with another young English paceman, Richard Jones, returning career-best figures of 6 for 37.
Jones had been impressing the right people, claiming the wicket of Andrew Strauss cheaply on Friday night, but the England captain managed to survive the closing stages yesterday as his side reached 12 for 1.
The spectre of match-rigging hung over Chelmsford yesterday as Essex entertained Hampshire, but it was yet another tiro English pace bowler who shined early on. Essex, newly promoted to the First Division, were dismissed for 345 with David Griffiths returning figures of 5 for 85. In reply, Hampshire reached 234 for 5 with opener Jimmy Adams remaining unbeaten on 113 off 245 balls.
Elsewhere in the First Division, Yorkshire eked out a first-innings lead of 57 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston thanks to the tenacity of Adil Rashid (44) down the order. The home side knocked off the deficit to close on 84 for 1 with Ian Bell on 41 not out.
In the Second Division, the Australian batsman Chris Rogers scored his fourth double-century for Derbyshire – and his third in the space of four Championship matches – in a total of 451 against Surrey at The Oval.
The home side then struggled to 185 for 5 but Mark Ramprakash(63no) looked in fine form at the start of the new season and may well add to his century of centuries.
At Grace Road, Leicestershire took their first-innings total to 395 and then left Northamptonshire in deep trouble on 179 for 9, the South African slow left-armer Claude Henderson grabbing 6 for 19. And at the Swalec, Sussex were 65 for 1 in the second innings, 158 runs ahead of Glamorgan.