Middlesex under a cloud

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The Independent Online

While Warwickshire were adding to their 15-point lead in Canterbury's sunshine, Middlesex were confined to the Taunton pavilion where pre-dawn heavy rain, forecast as passing over, deteriorated into a steady drizzle that lasted long enough to prevent any play yesterday.

Nor is the outlook too encouraging, with showers expected today. Their hopes of playing Richard Johnson, called up by England, were dashed when Johnson was advised to have more treatment on his troubled back.

There was a full, action-packed day at Derby with more than 400 runs scored and 18 wickets falling as Kim Barnett became only the second Derbyshire player to score 20,000 runs.

Phil DeFreitas chose to inflict his highest score of the season, an unbeaten 94, against one of his former teams, Lancashire. That swung the game Derbyshire's way after they collapsed to 124 for 4. Dropped off a skier by Ian Austin on 30, he added 73 with Colin Wells and 64 with Karl Krikken.

After Jason Gallian cleaned up the Derbyshire tail with three wickets, Dominic Cork took charge, dismissing Stephen Titchard, John Crawley and Gallian with only 19 on the board. He later had Michael Atherton caught behind for 10. When Mike Watkinson became his fifth victim Lancashire were 40 for 6. Austin's unbeaten 59 took them past the ignominy of an unlikely follow-on and his side to 134 for 8.

Durham's batsmen are ending another torrid season on a high note, despite Mike Roseberry losing the toss in the Championship for the 11th successive time. Wayne Larkins and John Morris hit centuries against Nottinghamshire as they put on 180. Morris hit 18 fours in his 109 while Larkins is unbeaten on 113 as Durham reached 258 for 2.

Durham revealed that they have spoken to the former England all-rounder Chris Lewis, who left Nottinghamshire earlier this season, about the possibility of a move north.

Surrey bowled Hampshire out for 185 and replied with 71 for 2. Mark Nicholas, in his last match before retirement, was greeted with a Surrey guard of honour and then a bouncer from Martin Bicknell.

Gloucestershire slumped from 104 for 1 to 196 all out at Grace Road. Their last four wickets fell for just five runs. When the close came early Leicestershire were 57 for 1 .

Darren Gough removed both openers and forced Paul Prichard to retire hurt but had little success afterwards as Yorkshire dismissed Essex for 313. They lost Michael Vaughan on their way to 53 for 1.