County Championship round-up: Warwickshire hope to beat the weather (and Durham) to reclaim their place at top

 

Warwickshire will hope to find a way through the filthy weather to reassert themselves at the top of the County Championship after reducing Durham from 28 for two overnight to 147 for 7 in their second innings at Chester-le-Street.

Durham, held together by the painstaking efforts of former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood, have a lead of 227 going into the final day. The forecast is not promising but should Warwickshire's bowlers make short work of the Durham tail, their batsmen may have an opportunity to displace Nottinghamshire at the top of Division One, at least temporarily.

Durham lost a wicket in the day's seventh over as Gordon Muchall, facing Chris Woakes, miscued a pull to be caught at mid-wicket, after which nightwatchman Jamie Harrison, who survived for 75 minutes to make 23, became a maiden first-class victim for 19-year-old Tom Milnes, edging to Varun Chopra at first slip.

It was one of three catches for Chopra, who took his second when Dale Benkenstein could not avoid a short ball from Woakes, and his third when Phil Mustard drove at an away-swinger from Darren Maddy.

Ben Stokes was dropped at second slip on nine but soon edged Keith Barker to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose. Collingwood needed treatment after being struck on the hand by a ball from Chris Wright but he and Scott Borthwick had added 31 for the eighth wicket when bad light and rain prevented further play.

Only an hour and a half of play was possible at Trent Bridge, although there was time for Nottinghamshire to claim a third bowling point. Ashwell Prince, 63 overnight, could add only 17 before Alex Hales held a routine catch at first slip off Andre Adams.

The wicket was the 600th of the New Zealand-born seamer's first-class career and his 25th in his last three matches against Lancashire. With the match at its halfway point, Lancashire are 272 for 9 with the new ball due.

Time could also work against Middlesex in their bid to establish themselves as title contenders before the Championship goes into temporary hibernation. Only 18 overs were bowled at Lord's, where Joe Denly is unbeaten on 116 after Dawid Malan was out for 51. Middlesex have a lead of 191 but only a day remains.

Stuart Meaker led a Surrey fightback with three wickets during the two brief spells of play possible on the second day against Sussex at Horsham. After bowling out Surrey for 124 on day one, Sussex lost four wickets for nine runs in the six overs that were possible to slump to 90 for 6.

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