Lancashire bowler James Anderson warmed up for this summer’s Ashes by claiming the prized scalp of former England captain Sir Alastair Cook in his first LV= Insurance County Championship appearance for 11 months.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker Anderson required just three balls to remove Nick Browne in the Division One clash before trapping fellow Essex opener Cook lbw as the hosts closed on 98 for three and trailing by 109 runs at Chelmsford.
Lancashire earlier posted 207 all out in an up-and-down innings underpinned by 20-year-old wicketkeeper George Bell registering a career-best 60 from 109 balls, including 10 fours.
Ben Brown’s battling 95 held Hampshire together after reigning champions Surrey had threatened to overwhelm them with an impressive five-man pace attack at the Kia Oval.
Hampshire were struggling at 114 for six just after lunch but Brown was joined by Keith Barker in a determined seventh-wicket stand of 96 in 35 overs as they made it to 254 to frustrate Rory Burns’ side.
By the close, Surrey were 37 without loss in reply with Burns and Dom Sibley looking solid on 23 and 12 not out respectively.
Middlesex endured another nightmare start as Northamptonshire seamer Ben Sanderson took advantage of their fragile top order at Wantage Road.
Sanderson took three wickets for just two runs in his opening burst to leave Middlesex, who suffered similar collapses against Essex last weekend, reeling on 11 for four inside 10 overs.
The visitors were all out for 149 before Northamptonshire closed on 111 for three thanks to 33 from Hassan Azad and an unbeaten 39 from skipper Luke Procter.
All-rounder Lewis Gregory took a career-best seven for 84 as Somerset fought back to dismiss Nottinghamshire for 256 at Trent Bridge.
The home side had looked set for a dominant day as Ben Duckett (75) and Haseeb Hameed (65) shared an opening partnership of 125 before five wickets fell for just 22.
Gregory took three of them and then mopped up the final four before Somerset replied with 28 for two to trail by 228 runs.
Rob Yates and Sam Hain punished Kent for a miscalculation with the toss as Warwickshire amassed 367 for three at Edgbaston.
Yates struck 128 and Hain an unbeaten 124 to enhance their England credentials, while Dan Mousley added 72 not out, at the expense of a Kent attack which toiled on a good batting surface after captain Sam Billings chose to field.
In Division Two, David Bedingham pressed his international credentials with a brilliant century as Durham posted 363 for seven against Worcestershire.
The 28-year-old, who recently declared his intention to play for his home nation of South Africa rather than await an England call, delivered a sublime innings of 118 after Alex Lees provided the platform with a knock of 70.
Worcestershire bowler Ben Gibbon ended the day with four for 75, including the scalp of Bedingham, to drag his team back into the contest.
Half-centuries from Sol Budinger, Lewis Hill and Colin Ackermann saw Leicestershire lay the foundations for a big first-innings score as they registered 243 for two against Derbyshire.
After play was delayed until early afternoon due to a wet outfield at Grace Road, Budinger made 72, with Leicestershire captain Hill and Ackermann contributing unbeaten knocks of 75 and 79 respectively.
Heavy rain meant no play was possible in the match between Gloucestershire and Yorkshire at Bristol.
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