Excuse me for a few minutes, Hassan Ali has just come up to the press box for a chat.
After the exploits of the new England captain yesterday, Joe Root will be walking out onto the Chelmsford pitch at 11 o’clock, with Yorkshire 81-3.
And Ali’s report on Ben Stokes’s boom-time:
While Ben Stokes was causing carnage at New Roadrain brought proceedings to an early close at Old Trafford, but there was time enough for Keaton Jennings, with a tattooist’s eye, and Luke Wells, with a whitewasher’s, to put on an unbeaten 127 for Lancashire. Earlier Hasan Ali had picked up two wickets – without his punch down, fists-up celebration – and Matt Parkinson one, to bowl Warwickshire out for 315. Dom Sibley carried his bat for 142.
Essex‘s long-drawn out 403 on a dying Chelmsford pitch burst into life when Simon Harmer appeared, biffing 54 in haste. Paul Walter made his maiden first-class century, despite a spell in the nervous nineties, eventually falling for 141.
Yorkshire wobbled to 81 for three in reply, a nightwatchman sparing Joe Root from facing the tricky final overs in his first county appearance since he resigned the England captaincy.
A last-wicket stand of 55 saved face for Gloucestershire‘s batters, Ajeet Singh-Dale and Jared Warner seeing opportunity where others saw only devil. Otherwise, it was the Mohammad Abbas show: line and length perfect, six for 45 in his purse. Hampshire‘s second innings then hit the rocks, 28 for four at stumps, as Mohammad Amir (three for 22) and Ryan Higgins (one for six, after top-scoring for Gloucestershire with 46) swarmed.
Northamptonshire were in similar strife at the Oval, though the steady hand of Luke Procter (61 not out) squeezed them past 150 – they closed on 154 for eight. Surrey had earlier limbered past 400 thanks to the pummeling efforts of Jamie Overton (59) and Gus Atkinson (an unbeaten 66).
In Division Two, Ollie Robinson got back into the groove in his first run-out for Sussex since he returned from the West Indies with a back spasm and a flea in his ear from the England management. He bowled Sam Robson for a duck before plucking the leg stump of Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb, whose County Championship life continues to be tricky, and then removed John Simpson’s middle stump after a well-made 71. Luke Hollman (52) and Martin Andersson (41) then frustrated Sussex with a fruitful seventh-wicket stand.
At Sophia Gardens, Kiran Carlson (91) and Sam Northeast (84) sailed Glamorgan to near parity with Leicestershire from the doldrums of 63 for three, with Marnus Labuschagne hooking fatefully for 17 just before lunch.
Chelmsford: Essex 403 v Yorkshire 81-3
The Rose Bowl: Hampshire 342 and 28-4 v Gloucestershire 179
Old Trafford: Lancashire 127-0 v Warwickshire 315
The Oval: Surrey 401 all out v Northants 154-8
Sophia Gardens: Glamorgan 305-5 v Leicestershire 320
Hove: Sussex 392 v Middlesex 284-6
New Road: Worcestershire 169-6 v Durham 580-6dec (STOKES 161, 88 balls, 8 fours, 17 sixes)
Good morning! If there are any perfumers out there who can bottle the smell of a May morning, come this way.
All looking good weather-wise round the grounds, with eyes turning immediately to Southampton, where Hampshire crumbled to Mohammad Amir yesterday evening. A lead of 191 in their pocket should be enough but what further chaos can Gloucester cause this morning? Elsewhere, Northants and Worcestershire are in trouble, Yorks and Lancs batters have big days ahead, and Leicestershire need quick Glamorgan wickets.