Surrey's top five batsmen all hit fifties as the County Championship First Division leaders piled on the runs against Leicestershire at Grace Road yesterday.
Rikki Clarke led the way on a slow-paced pitch with an unbeaten 90 and Ian Ward (59), Jon Batty (50), Mark Ramprakash (55) and Graham Thorpe (87) all made their mark as Surrey ended the first day on 349 for 4. Thorpe and Clarke shared a fourth-wicket stand of 169 before Thorpe was strangled down the leg-side by Jeremy Snape's spin. However, with Clarke set and plenty of batting to come the holders look set to post a formidable total.
The Londoners may not be able to shake off second-placed Sussex, however, as they are making light work of Essex at Colchester. The home team were all out for 283 yesterday and followed on 329 behind.
Sussex made 612, their highest total against Essex, and then took regular wickets during the home innings. Mushtaq Ahmed took 4 for 87 to take his season's tally to 86.
In the Second Division Worcestershire's Stephen Peters became the first opener to score a century at New Road in the Championship this season, with 103. The division leaders took three crucial batting points, reaching 331. Vikram Solanki failed to reach double figures for the fifth Championship innings in a row. Somerset lost four wickets without clearing a first-innings deficit of 35.
Martin Love hit the highest score at Durham's Chester-le-Street when he made 273 against Hampshire. It was also the highest score for Durham in first-class cricket, beating his own 251 against Middlesex last year. The Queenslander, who faced 364 balls and hit 38 fours, was last out as Durham made 515. Hampshire slipped to 88 for 4 in reply with Simon Katich, Robin Smith and John Crawley all back in the pavilion.
Northamptonshire passed 600 for the second game running as Derbyshire suffered another day to forget at Derby.
David Sales (200 not out) Mike Hussey (115) and Phil Jaques (123) lifted them to 647 for 5 declared, the highest score against Derbyshire since 1901. Derbyshire, who made 138 in the first innings, need 509 to make Northants bat again. They were getting there at the close, on 66 for 0.
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