Surrey stay on course for another title with commanding win over Warwickshire
The leaders did not need long to wrap up victory on day three.
Surrey took a big step towards successive LV= Insurance County Championship titles, needing just four overs on day three to secure a convincing victory over Warwickshire by an innings and 97 runs.
Surrey brought up their eighth win of the Division One campaign, increasing their advantage over their promotion rivals.
Warwickshire lost 17 wickets on day two at the Kia Oval and were soon bowled out for 138 after resuming play still 109 runs behind the leaders at 126 for seven.
It did not take long for the hosts to see off their opponents, with victory coming just 15 minutes into the day’s play when Jordan Clark bowled last man Chris Rushworth for six with the last ball of his second over.
In Division Two, Leicestershire kept themselves in the hunt for promotion with an eight-wicket win over Gloucestershire.
After Rishi Patel and Sol Budinger lost their wickets early in the piece, an unbeaten partnership between Colin Ackermann (93) and skipper Lewis Hill (62) which yielded 161 runs guided the hosts to their 168 target inside 42 overs at Uptonsteel Grace Road.
The Foxes still have work to do but have a game in hand away to Sussex next week, victory there could set up an intriguing final couple of games in which Leicestershire and their chief promotion rivals Worcestershire both face the same opponents – Yorkshire and Durham – in their last two fixtures.
Worcestershire, who sit one place above Leicestershire, strengthened their grip on second place with an 80-run win defeat of Glamorgan at New Road.
Their fifth victory of the campaign came with more than a day to spare and handed Glamorgan their first loss in the competition this season.
Division Two league leaders Durham are closing in on a victory over Sussex that will edge them closer to the title.
Netherlands international Bas de Leede was excellent with both bat and ball, making his way to a maiden first-class century before he claimed three wickets and Graham Clark’s highest first-class score of 128 rocketed Durham to 505 for nine declared – their highest Championship total against Sussex.
After the changeover, Matthew Potts and Matt Parkinson grabbed vital wickets to expose the lower order and Oli Carter’s resilient 80 was not enough to stop Durham going to the brink of victory as Sussex go into the final day with a slender lead of 24 and just one wicket in hand.
In a battle at the bottom, Derbyshire require 571 runs on the final day if they are to pick up a very unlikely first win of the season over Yorkshire.
Starting the day on 179 for two, Yorkshire finished on 520 for nine declared just after tea as five players advanced past fifty, including all-rounder Matthew Revis who was the only one to convert his century, his second of the season and of his career.
Derbyshire closed the day on 65 for one from 26 overs and will require a huge push if they are to find victory.
George Balderson scored a century as Lancashire took control of proceedings over Northamptonshire.
Lancashire reached their highest ever score at Wantage Road as they closed on 524 – a lead of 292 – and Northamptonshire finished the day on 211 for five in reply, still needing another 81 runs to make Lancashire bat again on the final day.
Jamie Porter passed fifty first-class wickets for the sixth season in his career as Essex assumed control against Middlesex on day three.
The 30-year-old finished with six for 34, and 53 wickets for the campaign, as Middlesex were bowled out for 179 – trailing by 125 runs – and that was extended to 229 by close of day two, with Sir Alastair Cook’s unbeaten 44 leading Essex to 104 for one.
Nick Gubbins’ century put Hampshire into a commanding position over Somerset at the end of day three.
Gubbins’ unbeaten 139 was his highest score for the county since joining from Middlesex and led them to a 501-run lead. Somerset reached the close on 102 for two, with 400 still required to win.