At 27 minutes past three on a sun-soaked and soporific afternoon at Headingley, Matt Parkinson hopped and skipped to the crease to send down another fizzing delivery. Joe Root, on 99, effortlessly clipped the ball away off his pads and scampered the single he needed to bring up his first century of the summer.
With all the comings and goings, firings and hirings of the past few weeks it was a timely reminder from Root, as if anyone really needed one, that he is still around, still in great form and still the best red-ball batter in the country.
Root lifted his helmet to reveal that beaming, mischievous smile and raised his arms to the blue skies. It was a poignant moment for the batter formerly known as the England Men’s Test Captain and an innings that will have pleased the newly formed axis of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum with the first Test of the summer looming a matter of weeks away. Yorkshire, just like England of late, needed Root’s runs, he fell to Parkinson eventually for 147 and the home side still trail Lancashire by 210 runs with first innings wickets remaining.
The sun was not just shining in God’s own county but up and down the shires. In Beckenham, despite the favourable batting conditions, Kent were put under the pump by Division One leaders Surrey.
Jamie Overton, bowling fast and nasty, hit Ben Compton with a short ball that clonked the opener on the head, dislodging Compton’s helmet which plopped down onto the stumps. Celebrations soon turned to confusion, not for the stricken Compton but the Surrey fielders as the umpires informed them that the batter wasn’t out due to an ECB amendment (introduced in 2020) to Law 29 that deems a batter not out if their helmet is knocked off and breaks the wicket.
Compton looked rattled nevertheless and fell shortly after to Will Jacks’s off-spin. Jacks picked up four wickets as Surrey bowled Kent out for 230 and stuck them in for another go after tea by enforcing the follow-on. Zak Crawley cutting a frustrated figure as he chopped on to Jacks before the close leaving Kent on 82 for one and 359 runs adrift.
Jack Leach twirled his way to eight wickets in the match as Somerset registered their second largest win in 147 years of first-class cricket, thumping Gloucestershire by an innings and 246 runs.
Runs kept on flowing at Edgbaston where Warwickshire trail Northamptonshire by 203 runs, Sam Hain playing an obdurate innings to still be there at stumps on 140 off 337 balls.
Durham’s Matthew Potts became the first bowler to 30 wickets in this year’s Championship. Earlier Glamorgan’s Marnus Labuschagne wheeled away with glee after having Ben Stokes sharply stumped off his bowling but was less happy a few hours later as the shadows crept across Chester-le-Street, Ben Raine pocketing him for 31 to leave the visitors needing 126 more with seven wickets in hand.
Nottinghamshire’s Steven Mullaney launched a blitzkrieg at Lord’s, smearing Middlesex’s bowlers around HQ in a 58-ball hundred which allowed Notts to declare on 295 for five. Luke Fletcher then removed Mark Stoneman and Josh de Caires to leave Middlesex reeling on 2-0, a relative recovery to 69 for three leaves them facing a tough battle on day four.
Northamptonshire 597/6 dec Warwickshire 2394-4
Warwickshire trail by 203 runs with 6 wickets remaining
Lancashire 566/9 dec Yorkshire 356-8
Yorkshire trail by 210 runs with 2 wickets remaining
Somerset 591/7 dec BEAT Gloucestershire 186-9 and 159-9
Somerset win by an innings and 246
Surrey 671/9 dec Kent 230 & 82-1
Kent trail by 359 runs with 9 wickets remaining
Durham 311 & 244 v Glamorgan 365 and 65-3
Glamorgan need 126 to win
Nottinghamshire 415 & 295/5 Middlesex 195 & 69-3
Middlesex require 447 runs with 7 wickets remaining
Leicestershire 210 & 195-5 Sussex 450
Leicestershire trail by 45 runs with 5 wickets remaining
Worcestershire 368 and 59-1 Derbyshire 565-8dec
Worcs trail by 138 with 9 wickets remaining
Good morning! It’s a grey Leeds day and a giddy night at a lovely friend’s fiftieth means things are a little are a little overcast this end as well.
Yesterday I missed Joe Root scoring what sounds like a beautiful century (and thank you so much to Jim for covering yesterday’s blog so brilliantly – you can read his report on proceedings above), but I might have a chance to watch another if Yorkshire are bowled out quickly this morning. It’s going to be entertaining at The Riverside, where Glamorgan need another 126 with seven wickets in hand; elsewhere draws look likely at Headingley and Edgbaston and elsewhere it is a case of the batting side holding on for dear life.