Shane Warne's first match as captain of Hampshire looked likely to be short and sweet. They had won only twice in the Championship last year, and Warne would garner considerable favour with his team-mates if he could secure an early finish against Durham in the Second Division at the Rose Bowl.
The hosts, resuming in the ascendancy on 195 for 5 after bowling out Durham for 128, were themselves soon dispatched for 221. Warne's impressive fellow countryman Michael Clarke fell early on for 75, the Durham Academy graduate Mark Davies picking up career-best figures of 6 for 53 with his medium pace.
A deficit of 93 appeared like a chasm between the sides as Durham subsided to 19 for 3 in their second innings. But Jon Lewis, their captain, made a watchful half-century and put on 111 with Nicky Peng. Then Peng was bowled by Warne for 66 and Lewis fell without addition to the score, whereupon the leg-spinner mopped up the rest to take 5 for 68. Warne's men may be looking forward to a large roast lunch, needing only 109 to win, but they have slipped to 13 for 2.
Nick Knight, the new captain of Warwickshire, must have wondered if he had made the right decision when he inserted Middlesex in the First Division at Edgbaston. Rain and bad light kept them at bay on Friday, but Ed Joyce showed fluent early-season form. Yesterday, as Joyce was dismissed almost straightaway for 39, Knight may have breathed a little easier.
At 119 for 4, however, Paul Weekes and Jamie Dalrymple put on 175 for the fifth wicket. The latter departed for 77, while Weekes went on to reach 118 off 224 balls with 19 fours. Middlesex continued to prosper with David Nash's 55, declaring on 432 for 8, and Knight rounded off a disappointing day by falling cheaply as Warwickshire closed on 16 for 1.
At Bristol, another rookie captain, Gloucestershire's Chris Taylor, had his mettle tested. His side slipped to 141 for 6 against Kent amid interruptions for bad light, but Taylor remained defiant on 58 as his side staggered to 202 for 6, the pacey Martin Saggers claiming 4 for 31.
Back in the Second Division, Glamorgan were bundled out for 185 by last year's wooden spoonists, Derbyshire, at Cardiff. The visitors, like Hampshire, managed only two wins last year, but the left-arm pace combination of Mohammad Ali and the ever-reliable Kevin Dean allowed them to dream of greater things this season, each picking up four wickets.
Such aspirations were short-lived as Derbyshire were themselves dismissed for 174. A flurry from Glamorgan's last man, David Harrison, who hit 37 from 33 balls, may prove a crucial intervention. They are 23 for 0 in the second innings.Reuse content