After victories for Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, Somerset moved into a strong position to maintain their place in a thrilling three-way race for the County Championship after Marcus Trescothick scored an extraordinary double hundred against Essex at Colchester yesterday.
The captain and former England opener dominated Somerset's second innings, which gave his side a lead of 431 with more than two days left when they declared at 367 for 8.
In 10 overs before the close, Essex lost Jaik Mickleburgh, caught behind off Charl Willoughby, and need to score another 394 to win.
James Hildreth scored 59 in a fourth-wicket stand of 157 and Murali Kartik hit 52 off 59 balls in an unbroken last-wicket partnership of 127. Somerset will expect their bowlers to secure another win and move back into second place above Yorkshire.
The Kent medium pacer Darren Stevens was causing more problems for Lancashire at Canterbury by winning lbw verdicts against Tom Smith and Paul Horton. Lancashire secured a narrow first-innings lead after bowling Kent out for 249 earlier, when captain Glen Chapple and left-arm spinner Gary Keedy took four wickets each. They were 103 for 3 at the close for a lead of 120.
In the Second Division, defeat for Glamorgan against Middlesex in Cardiff means Sussex are in a strong position to regain first place after piling up 576 for 3 declared against Derbyshire at Horsham, to build a first-innings lead of 310. Derbyshire were 27 for 2 in their second innings.Reuse content