County cricket – as it happened


5.37pm: More Strauss news, and it's not good, writes Andy Wilson. He'll end today having dropped more slip chances than he scored runs, having fallen in the fourth over of Middlesex's reply to a Nottinghamshire total of 423, well caught behind by Chris Read off the young left-arm seamer Harry Gurney. The two singles he managed today give him 57 runs from four innings for Middlesex this spring, 49 of them in one knock against Worcestershire last week.

4.00pm: Worcestershire have registered their first batting bonus point of the County Championship season, writes Richard Gibson. Hurrah! Their first-innings vulnerability before this round of matches was emphasised by the fact that their previous highest-score was 157 (they forfeited an innings against Middlesex, of course). Moeen Ali batted beautifully before hanging his bat out at a rising delivery from teenage debutant George Edwards that kissed the edge on the way through to wicketkeeper Steven Davies. Moeen made 61 while Vikram Solanki weighed in with 42 in a 102-run stand for the third wicket, before being bowled by a Jon Lewis delivery that squeezed through his defensive push.

The pitch is on the slow side, which is unsurprising given the volume of rain that has fallen in the West Midlands, and has generally meant that the run rate has been below three an over. The one boost to the scoring rate coincided with the introduction of former Worcestershire off-spinner Gareth Batty. Moeen slog-swept a six and Solanki caressed a square drive for four in an opening over that cost 12 runs. Matt Pardoe also lofted Batty for a straight six but then fell lbw to the ex-England bowler. Surrey even gave Kevin Pietersen an over prior to taking the second new ball, and an early tea, but otherwise it has been a fairly nondescript day for the 31-year-old.

3.41pm: Sorry to dwell on the misfortunes of the England captain, but Andrew Strauss has completed an unwanted hat-trick, writes Andy Wilson from Trent Bridge. Having dropped two slip catches off consecutive balls before lunch, he spilled a third in the afternoon session. This time it was offered by Steven Mullaney, a right-hander, prodding forward to the off-spin of Ollie Rayner. Again, it was tricky - low to Strauss's right. But he'd have hoped to have caught at least one of the three.

Middlesex did finally manage to hold on to a catch in the next over, and it was Tim Murtagh, the man who fluffed the simplest possible chance this morning, who accepted a much more difficult offering from Michael Lumb. The left-hander had capitalised from his trio of let-offs, on 86, 95 and 99, to make 162, having faced 309 balls and batted almost six and a half hours.

Rain then forced an early tea with Notts on a strong position at 328 for four, but time running out in the match.

1.16pm: Andrew Strauss may not be enjoying his lunch in the Trent Bridge pavilion, writes Andy Wilson. The England captain dropped Michael Lumb twice in consecutive balls, allowing the former Yorkshire and Hampshire left-hander, who had also offered a far simpler chance to Tim Murtagh on 86, to reach his second century in 11 Championship innings for his third county.

Both Strauss's chances were tricky, and came off Neil Dexter. For the first, he may have been distracted by a movement by the wicket keeper John Simpson, who was standing up to the stumps, before the ball flew quickly through his hands at knee height to the third man boundary.
That took Lumb to 99, and next ball, he edged Dexter again. This time Strauss dived to his left, but could not hang on.

Lumb's century came off 213 balls with 14 fours. But he certainly rode his luck, as he had in making a valuable 62 in last week's win against Lancashire at Old Trafford, when Glen Chapple beat him on numerous occasions without finding the edge. Batting is nothing like as tricky here, but Ollie Rayner certainly deserved Lumb's wicket. First, the tall off-spinner had him chipping between two short covers, and then miscuing a leg-side hit straight down Murtagh's throat at mid-on. At least Strauss will have company in the doghouse.

Middlesex have taken two wickets this morning, and in the interests of balance, we must record that Strauss has taken a catch. He snapped up a simple slip chance when Murtagh found Alex Hales's outside edge in the seventh over of the day. Steve Finn has still been unable to add to the wicket he took with his first ball yesterday, and to be honest has rarely threatened on a slow pitch. The other wicket to fall was a run out, as Riki Wessels misjudged a single off Rayner, and was caught short by Chris Rogers from mid wicket.

12.45pm: West Indians are struggling against the England Lions. : "Windies finding this predictably testing and are 18 for three with two wickets to Jack Brooks, bowling into a stiffish breeze and one to Jade Dernbach. Chanderpaul in now, and I hope he justifies the faith i"

12.34pm: Worcestershire lost both Daryl Mitchell and Michael Klinger in the same Tim Linley over but have limited the damage to those two wickets inside the opening hour and a half of the second day at New Road, writes Richard Gibson. Run-scoring proved tricky early on, and the first did not arrive until the 22nd delivery of the morning. Two overs later, however, Linley's policy of bowling wicket to wicket was rewarded when Mitchell chopped on and Klinger was lbw only half-forward. But Vikram Solanki has surpassed his previous highest Championship score of the season (22) in a half-century stand with Moeen Ali, and Worcestershire are on course for their first batting point of 2012.

11.51am: Play was called off for the day at Hove, . The pitch is sodden. Meanwhile, Mike Selvey is at Northampton to see British Lions take on West Indians, : "Darren Sammy rests himself from Lions game. It has been a tough tour so far for the captain though. Kerrigan left out of Lions team. 12 o'clock start."

11.29am: A slightly belated good morning from Trent Bridge, for which thanks to an East Midlands train strike, writes Andy Wilson. Actually I am genuinely grateful to them as driving here for a change coincided with some jiggling of the Radio Two schedule - called Two Day, I think - which meant that I got to listen to Paul Heaton somewhere around Knutsford, Paloma Faith in the Derby area, and Damon Albarn coming up past the Ratcliffe power station. I'll gloss over Tony Blackburn from Blackburn, although his combination with Mark Radcliffe and Janice Long was pleasingly surreal at times. That's a good slab of licence fee justified even before the BBC televise this weekend's Challenge Cup quarter finals in Wigan and Perpignan, although admittedly nothing to do with cricket - although hearing Albarn always makes me picture Phil Tufnell, for some reason.

Anyway we've started on time here but not much has happened so far - two overs each for Tim Murtagh and Steve Finn, and Notts have moved on to 138 for one.

There's a bit to talk about elsewhere. The Aussies have named their squad for the one-day series against England later in the summer, and it includes plenty of interesting names. Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, both Husseys, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Pat Cummins, the latter set to return after suffering a variety of injuries after that stunning early international impact in South Africa.

There are also a couple of notable omissions. Mitchell Starc is the one
that springs to mind, although I gather it's nothing to do with visa problems - in fact that could be good news for Yorkshire, as it means he'll be available for a larger chunk of the summer. It's a shame Dan Christian hasn't made it, either.

Closer to home Callum Thorp, Durham's Aussie seamer who has always seemed a pretty mild-mannered bloke, has been reprimanded for kicking over a stump in last week's defeat by Warwickshire. There will be no play until lunch, at least, in Durham's current game against Somerset, and that's the case in the majority of matches today as the miserable spring continues.

Oh, but there goes a wicket - Alex Hales edging Murtagh to second slip. Notts 150-2.

11.02am: Anyone who sauntered past the River Severn this morning anticipating seeing Kevin Pietersen bat later on may face disappointment, writes Richard Gibson. Although play should start on time, lunchtime drizzle is forecast and the way Worcestershire's openers Daryl Mitchell and Michael Klinger applied themselves yesterday morning suggested a long stint in the field for Surrey.

The reduction in play thus far - only 26.1 overs were possible yesterday - decreases the possibility of two visits to the crease for KP ahead of next week's first Test against West Indies at Lord's, although, when it comes to the kind of nick he is in, the proof is not likely to be in a pudding of a pitch at New Road. Pietersen, a touch and confidence player, has maintained the rhythm of his hundred against Sri Lanka in Colombo throughout his recent stint at the Indian Premier League, and, as he was only too willing to point out on day one here, conditions should be easier for strokeplay at Lord's than here.

Morning all

10.10am: Welcome to the county cricket live blog for the latest round of Championship action. Our writers will be here with all the day's play shortly. Andy Wilson is at Trent Bridge for Nottinghamshire v Middlesex, Vic Marks will be watching Sussex v Lancashire at Hove, and Richard Gibson will be on hand at New Road to see Worcestershire v Surrey.

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