County Championship round-up: Nick Compton slips right back into his natural groove

 

Ashes watch

Only Nick Compton can say how much pressure he is feeling after a poor home series against New Zealand prompted a chorus of doubters to question whether the Somerset batsman is the man to open against Australia next month.

Back in the county ranks, he slipped right back into his natural groove, starting slowly against a good Durham attack led by Graham Onions to complete the 20th century of his first-class career at a scoring rate of 49.26 runs per 100 balls, which has been his average, pretty much, for all of his career.

Given that only three other Somerset batsmen have made centuries this season, it is no wonder the Taunton crowd heartily voiced their appreciation.

Bowler of the day

Kent off-spinner Adam Riley's career-best 7 for 150 against Hampshire should not go unmentioned but there is no keeping Gloucestershire's Craig Miles out of the spotlight. Largely unknown when the then injury-hit county called him up against Lancashire in late April, two years on from his solitary previous first-class appearance, as a 16-year-old schoolboy, the tall right-arm seamer is well out of the shadows now.

Today he took 5 for 83 against Glamorgan at Bristol, following 6 for 88 against Lancashire at Liverpool last week and 6 for 99 against Worcestershire the week before that, giving the teenager 25 wickets in five matches.

Batsman of the day

Warwickshire have missed Keith Barker's bowling during the difficult start to their Championship defence, a side strain depriving them of one half of their 107-wicket title-winning strike partnership for five of their first six matches. Barker's batting can be pretty handy, too.

As Warwickshire piled on the runs against desperate Surrey at Guildford, where Tim Ambrose and Varun Chopra extended their fourth-wicket stand to 161 before Jade Dernbach – released by England – had the latter caught at slip for 192, Barker (125) and Ateeq Javid (85) each posted a career best in adding 211 for the seventh wicket. It was Barker's third century in first-class games.

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