Surrey took another big step towards retaining their hold on the Championship pennant after a crushing victory over Warwickshire inside three days at The Oval. Put in to bat, they were grateful to Ben Foakes, who top-scored with 125 to help his team up to 396 all out; it was his third century of the season. Meanwhile, Ed Barnard took five for 66. In reply, the visitors, who were joined by West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite (16), were dismissed for just 161, with fellow West Indian Kemar Roach finishing with four for 64. Things got even worse for the away side when they followed on, as Daniel Worrall took five for 25 and they were all out for 138 to lose by an innings and 97 runs.
Essex did what they could to keep the pressure on when they started their game a day later, beating neighbours Middlesex handsomely at Chelmsford to remain 18 points adrift. Having chosen to bat first, Essex openers Nick Browne (59) and Alastair Cook (58) put on 122 for the first wicket before Browne became the first victim of Joshua de Caires. The young spinner had originally made his breakthrough in the professional ranks as a top-order batter, but increasingly it looks as though he will make his mark as a spinner, as he went on to pick up a career-best eight for 106, bowling out the hosts for 304. It was the best analysis of the summer to date. Essex welcomed Umesh Yadav to their side, but it was Jamie Porter who did the damage, taking six for 34 to skittle Middlesex for just 179 – he now has 53 for the summer, taking him to within one of Matthew Potts of Durham. De Caires managed two more wickets in the home side’s second innings, to give him match figures of ten for 190, but 84 from Cook helped his side up to 319 for seven declared, setting a target of 445. Yadav took three wickets, but it was the familiar guile of Simon Harmer (five for 43) that saw the away outfit snookered as they slumped to 147 all out, losing by 297 runs.
Hampshire welcomed Somerset to the Rose Bowl and chose to have first use of the wicket. At 95 or four, that looked a marginal call, but Liam Dawson ensured it was the right one with another fine knock, scoring 115 to help his side up to 308 all out. Veteran Jack Brooks took five for 56, but new recruit Neil Wagner went wicketless. Keith Barker knocked over the first four wickets on the way to figures of five for 32 as Somerset were all out for just 137. Nick Gubbins hit 139 not out in three-and-a-half hours as Hampshire declared on 330 for three. A target of 502 was never likely to be reached, but 316 was a decent effort. Dawson completed the match with seven wickets, as Hampshire won by 185 runs to stay third.
A comprehensive defeat for Northamptonshire at the County Ground against Lancashire has surely condemned them to relegation, barring a miracle. Put in to bat, a total of 232 felt inadequate, but when Lancashire were 189 for six in reply they had hope. It didn’t last as Josh Bohannon (175), George Balderson (115, one short of his career best) and Tom Bailey (a career best 77) ensured the last four wickets added a mammoth 335 to take them up to 524. In his 178th first-class match, Luke Wells was Lancashire’s surprise star with the ball, taking a career-best five for 25, as the hosts fell away to 266 all out as they were beaten by an innings and 26 runs.
In the Second Division, Durham kept up their promotion pace, beating Sussex by seven wickets a Chester-le-Street. The away side chose to bat first, but after a century opening partnership rather fell apart as they were all out for 266, on-loan Matt Parkinson taking four for 58. Centuries from Alex Lees (103, his fifth century in his last seven innings), Graham Clark (a career-best 128) and Bas de Leede (a career high of 103) enabled Durham to declare on 505 for nine; new signing Jaydev Unadkat managed just one wicket for the visitors. Less, with 1281 runs, is more than 200 ahead of his nearest rival (James Rew of Somerset) in the race to be the season’s top scorer. None of the Sussex side could make the really big score that was necessary, and they were all out for 295, with Parkinson picking up four more wickets. A target of 57 was briefly held up by Jack Carson, who took three wickets in 20 balls. Durham need just five more points from their last two games to secure promotion.
Worcestershire are their nearest challengers and they recorded a much closer win over Glamorgan at New Road after they were put in to bat. Skipper Brett D’Oliveira top-scored with 74 not out in their total of 284, well-supported at the end by on-loan Ben Allison. Glamorgan managed just 170 in reply, Logan van Beek picking up four for 42. Jamie McIlroy’s career-best five for 34 ensured the home side made only 145 in their second innings, leaving Glamorgan to chase down 260. Billy Root (84 not out) could have done it if he’d had better support, but his team-mates were all out for 179, van Beek taking another four wickets, as they lost by 80 runs. Debutant Ben Kellaway had a disappointing maiden first-class game, ending up wicketless and suffering the indignity of bagging a pair.
With a game in hand and 24 points adrift, Leicestershire will be hoping they can still get promoted after their eight-wicket win over Gloucestershire at Grace Road. The away side was asked to bat first and tumbled to 159 all out, Tom Scriven taking four for 30. Former Pakistan Test star Umar Amin made a duck as the hosts hit back with 204; debutant Luke Charlesworth finished with figures of three for 54, Rishi Patel his maiden victim. New signing Ben Cox scored 4. Wiaan Mulder bagged four wickets as the visitors scored 212 in their second innings, leaving the Foxes to chase 168. After two early wickets, an unbeaten 93 from Colin Ackermann steered the hosts to a comfortable victory.
Yorkshire were asked to bat first at Scarborough and made a solid-enough 297, with James Wharton hitting a career-best 58, Brooke Guest taking six catches behind the stumps, and Anuj Dal finishing with five for 72. In reply, Derbyshire scored 247, before the game took a decisive turn in Yorkshire’s second innings. Matthew Revis made a career-best 106, while four other players passed fifty, as they reached 520 for nine declared, Alex Thomson taking five for 190. Forlornly chasing a target of 571, the visitors made just 293, Wayne Madsen being dismissed on 93 for the second time in the match, as the hosts won by 277 runs.