There may be a long, hot summer in prospect but there was little evidence of it yesterday, when the latest round of Championship matches began under familiar grey skies and ball dominated bat almost everywhere.
Somerset, skittled for 69 by Durham last week, tumbled for 138 at Trent Bridge, where the strength of Nottinghamshire's bowling resources was underlined, in the continued absence of Charlie Shreck and Darren Pattinson, by Luke Fletcher.
The 20-year-old fast bowler registered the best figures of his fledgling career, dismissing Marcus Trescothick and James Hildreth among others to finish with 4 for 38. Nottinghamshire lost their first three wickets for 37 in reply.
Meanwhile, at New Road, it was the veteran Glenn Chapple who held sway, the 35-year-old Lancashire captain taking 6 for 34 as Worcestershire crumbled for 167 after electing to bat first. Saj Mahmood claimed 4 for 65, although three of his wickets were in the tail. Lancashire then stumbled to 73 for 4 before Mark Chilton and Steven Croft put them back on course for a lead.
At Bristol, Leicestershire, put in by Gloucestershire, managed to reach 83 without losing a wicket only to be all out for 133, the Zimbabwean-born seamer Anthony Ireland taking 6 for 31. But then the home side lost their first three wickets for 20.
Runs from Wayne Parnell (90) and Sam Northeast (87) gave Kent's scorecard against Glamorgan a more respectable look, but Essex could muster only a modest 221 against Northamptonshire, for whom the former South African Test bowler Andrew Hall took 5 for 29.
At least it was business as usual for Mark Ramprakash, who returned from his two-match ban for dissent to finish the day unbeaten on 126 as Surrey, who won the toss, reached 290 for 5 against Middlesex at The Oval.Reuse content