Warwickshire lose eight points for 'poor' pitch

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Warwickshire have been deducted eight points by an ECB Pitch Panel due to the "poor" state of their Edgbaston wicket during the ongoing First Division match with Worcestershire.

The panel convened after the completion of the third day's play yesterday, during which 12 wickets fell on a day shortened to 64.1 overs by rain.

Erratic and sometimes alarming bounce almost inevitably led to injury, with Pears batsman Vikram Solanki forced to leave the field late in the day when he ducked into a ball from Boyd Rankin. The former county captain crumpled to the ground after taking a blow behind his left ear and, although obviously groggy, he was able to walk from the field.

After stumps the inquiry team, made up by pitches consultant Chris Wood and pitch liaison officers David Hughes and Tony Pigott, gathered first-hand evidence before deciding to strip Warwickshire of eight points.

The Bears could make up those lost points, however, on the final day tomorrow when Worcestershire will resume on 36 for 3 in pursuit of 328 for victory.

Elsewhere, Ben Stokes' growing reputation was further enhanced as the Durham teenager hit his second century of the season to deny Somerset victory at Taunton.

The 19-year-old scored 120 as Durham, who followed on after being 373 adrift on first innings, batted throughout the final day losing just three wickets. Resuming 146 behind the overnight pair, Stokes and Dale Benkenstein, added 157 to take their fourth-wicket stand to 170 before Stokes was bowled by Charl Willoughby, his hundred having come up in 113 balls. Benkenstein, batting more sedately, then fell for 66 but Durham continued to resist with stumps drawn at 489 for 6, 116 ahead.

At Derby rain rescued Essex from defeat with Derbyshire 21 runs from victory. Wes Durston was left unbeaten on 90 still chasing an elusive first century of the season after previously being dismissed for 96 and 95 this summer. Having taken the last four Essex wickets for 49 in the morning Derbyshire were set 223 to win. When David Masters grabbed three quick wickets to reduce the hosts to 26 for 3 Essex scented success, but Dursten masterminded a series of partnerships to bring Derbyshire in sight of victory. Then the weather intervened.

Kevin Pietersen top-scored for Surrey with 48 at Fenners but the stand-in captain was unable to prevent an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat to Cambridge MCCU.

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