John Crawley obviously had some runs stored up in his locker. Having completed his first first-class century since 2002, he was not content to stop there. The former England batsman went on to 301 not out, a career-best score, off 442 balls with 35 fours and two sixes, allowing Hampshire to declare on 641 for 4 in their bid to close the gap on the Second Division leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Crawley is no stranger to marathon innings: 272 on his Hampshire debut in 2002, at Lancashire 280 in 2001 and 281 not out way back in 1994, even 286 for England A at Port Elizabeth in 1993-94. But this was the first time he had reached a triple-century.
A couple of seasons ago he would have been knocking on the selectorial door but with the likes of Andrew Strauss and Robert Key establishing themselves, the 33-year-old's hopes of adding to his tally of 37 Test caps must have faded.
Another of England's old guard was puffing his chest out at Grace Road as Essex completed their first win of the season at the 10th attempt, the former England spearheard Darren Gough picking up 4 for 89 in a rare appearance in the four-day game.
But Essex were made to work hard for for the spoils by Leicestershire. Chasing 398 to win, they were in trouble on 145 for 5 overnight. John Sadler, like Gough formerly of the Broad Acres, fell lbw to him on 95. But the lower-order chipped in to edge the home side ever closer to the target until last man Charlie Dagnall was pinned in front by Gough to leave them 48 runs adrift.
Last month Owais Shah was relieved of the Middlesex captaincy, which had been entrusted to him in Strauss's absence on international duty. While Strauss was lording it again on his home ground, Shah made 140 not out against Worcestershire in the First Division at New Road.
The visitors resumed on 260 for 3, 45 runs in arrears, and Jamie Dalrymple, with 84, helped to add 154 for the fifth wicket. Shah hit 14 fours and two sixes in his 258-ball stay as Middlesex reached 525 and a lead of 220. Gareth Batty wheeled away tirelessly with his off-spin to return 6 for 141.
On the second day at Hove, Kent were dismissed for 330 by the champions Sussex, who replied strongly with 316 for 4, Tony Cottey scoring an unbeaten 97, Murray Goodwin 55 and Chris Adams 57.
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