Northamptonshire face inquiry over turning pitch

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The Independent Online

Northamptonshire find themselves at the centre of another pitch row after the umpires reported the strip used for the County Championship Second Division match against Somerset at Wantage Road for excessive turn on the first day.

Northamptonshire find themselves at the centre of another pitch row after the umpires reported the strip used for the County Championship Second Division match against Somerset at Wantage Road for excessive turn on the first day.

Peter Willey and David Constant contacted the England and Wales Cricket Board to express their concern, and the ECB is expected to send a pitch liaison officer to inspect the surface. Northamptonshire escaped a penalty last month after a panel ruled the pitch prepared for the Championship match against Derbyshire was only "below average" ­ not enough to warrant a deduction of points.

The Somerset left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell claimed 5 for 96 as Northamptonshire, who won the toss, were all out for 325. But paceman Ben Phillips struck twice in two balls to reduce Somerset to 26 for 2.

The home side were set on course for a decent total by Tim Roberts, who marked his debut with 83 off 109 balls, including a six and 11 fours. The 25-year-old, released by Lancashire at the end of last season after making only two Championship appearances for them, was registered by Northamptonshire a week ago after a string of big scores in local league cricket.

Leicestershire may be at the bottom of the First Division but they amassed 471 for 5 in 104 overs against Essex at Southend. Darren Stevens led the charge with 149, hitting 24 boundaries before becoming the second of Zoheb Sharif's three victims. He and John Maunders, who made 44, put on 108 for the first wicket.

The leg-spinner also trapped Darren Maddy lbw for 41 and removed Brad Hodge, caught by Andy Flower for 74. But Trevor Ward continued the assault with a rapid, unbeaten 103 off 89 balls with 16 fours and a six.

Yorkshire put themselves in a commanding position against Hampshire at Scarborough. Acting captain Matthew Wood opened up by scoring 155 with 19 fours, and his side reached to 326 for 5 by the close with Michael Lumb contributing 64.

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