Langer cracks 76 after early Middlesex slump

The Middlesex captain, Justin Langer, continued his excellent run of form with an unbeaten 76 on a rain-hit opening day of the County Championship Second Division match with Gloucestershire at Bristol yesterday.

The Middlesex captain, Justin Langer, continued his excellent run of form with an unbeaten 76 on a rain-hit opening day of the County Championship Second Division match with Gloucestershire at Bristol yesterday.

The Australian, who hit centuries in his previous two games, pulled Middlesex round from 24 for 3 in the 12th over to 151 for 5 at tea, when heavy rain ended play.

It was the second interruption of the day, with 75 minutes of the morning session also lost to rain. Jon Lewis claimed 3 for 61 to move past 50 wickets for Gloucestershire this season, while there was one apiece for Mike Smith and Tim Hancock.

The Durham coach, Norman Gifford, knows the club's hopes of retaining a place in the First Division could hinge on the showdown with their fellow strugglers Derbyshire, starting today.

Both sides are lingering in the drop zone, but Gifford believes victory at Derby could be the catalyst for a late-season survival charge. He said: "They are just behind us. It is a big game for both of us and we need to win. Victory there would do us the world of good."

Melvyn Betts returns to the 13-man Durham squad after missing more than a fortnight's action due to a minor operation on his knee.

The Derbyshire cricket manager, Colin Wells, is sweating over the fitness of Steve Titchard (ribs) and Steve Stubbings (knee). "Durham blow a bit hot and cold," he said. "They have obviously got a pretty decent seam attack, but their batting will rest on [Nick] Speak and [Simon] Katich."

In another basement encounter, Hampshire travel to face Kent at Canterbury, with their director of cricket, Tim Tremlett, expecting Shane Warne to return from Australia duty early in the morning. Derek Kenway is out with a leg injury.

"They [Kent] are in a relegation battle and will be fighting as hard as we will be to get ourselves out of that position," said Tremlett.

The Kent coach, John Wright, said: "There is a lot at stake for both sides. We anticipate a competitive game and we're pleased to be at home."

Lancashire could cut the 20-point gap to the pace-setters, Surrey, with a victory on their trip to Leicestershire.

In the Second Division, Glamorgan meet Sussex at Colwyn Bay. The Glamorgan coach, John Hammond, said: "In the last game with Sussex, just prior to the Benson and Hedges Cup final, they beat us. I think our focus might have been towards that, so hopefully we will learn things from our experience in that game. It is a must-win situation."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine