County Championship round-up: Somerset held up by Jones' 178

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The Independent Online

Geraint Jones continued his renaissance as a batsman with a career-best 178 to thwart Somerset's attempts to establish a winning position at Canterbury. The former England wicket-keeper, who topped 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the first time in 2009 as Kent returned to the First Division, is on course to do so again, having reached 917 this season after his third hundred of the campaign.

He finished the innings by smashing pace bowler Alfonso Thomas for two sixes in an over that cost 22 runs, before the Somerset player obtained revenge by finally sending Jones on his way with a toe-crunching yorker. It left Somerset, who had won four matches in five before this one to have Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire looking over their shoulders in the title race, with a lead of eight on first innings, which they had extended to 146 at stumps for the loss of three wickets, all to James Tredwell.

Ben Stokes, a 19-year-old all-rounder whom the England selectors have been tracking closely this season, was dismissed on 99 at Basingstoke but helped rescue Durham from 40 for 4 by helping Gordon Muchall add 176 for the fifth wicket in reply to Hampshire's 421 for 5 declared. Durham avoided the follow-on and declared 101 behind, Muchall finishing unbeaten on 140.

Warwickshire failed to secure any batting points but still led Essex by five runs on first innings on day two at Southend, where Australian leg-spinner Bryce McGain took 4 for 33, then gave themselves a chance by reducing Essex to 56 for 4.