I'm determined to gorge myself on the day to day shenaningans of county cricket ever more, and I always find myself electronically flicking through the scorecards at the end of a days play and thinking "hmmm, that was a good knock" or "6-20, that's not a bad effort" and "who on earth is Anthony Ireland?".
So with that in mind I am doing my first County Cricket Plays of the Day feature. I'll try and complete one each day where there's a significant number of county fixtures. I'll just be picking out performances which I think deserve merit, no technical analysis or "I was there when..." just pure numbers. Here is my first, an amalgamation of the three days so far in this week's County Championship fixtures:
Rob Key: 261 from 270 balls versus Durham. Against an attack featuring Steve Harmison Key rampaged to within 9 runs of his highest score at nearly a run a ball. No other batsman in the Kent innings of 424 passed fifty. Harmison's 4-52 warrants a mention too.
Ben Stokes, England's latest and brightest batting hope joined his former captain Dale Benkenstein in scoring a hundred in Durham's reply which took them to within six of Kent's total. His 161 off 202 balls hints at what a talent he is.
Makhaya Ntini took 5-84 to record his best figures this season.
In the Hampshire-Nottinghamshire game James Tomlinson took 5-66 in the Notts first innings and young Alex Hales made an impressive 136 from 254 balls in Notts' second innings - his maiden first class ton.
In the Yokshire v Somerset tie, Adam Lyth has been dominant at the top of the Yorkshire order, registering 142 from 255 balls in the first innings and just missing out on twin centuries by getting out on 93 in the second innings.
The Warwickshire-Lancashire game has seen some topsy turvy play. Glen Chapple grabbed 5-27 in Warwickshire's first innings of just 113, Neil Carter top scoring with 69 from 77 balls and not a single other batsman making double figures. In the Lancashire first innings Steven Croft was left stranded on 89* as he ran out of partners, and the Lancs second innings was only given a veneer of respectability thanks to Saj Mahmood crashing 72 from 85 balls to haul them up to 199. Chasing some improbable target Jonathan Trott is 102* but Warwickshire are six down and still need 177 runs to win.
Stephen Peters did a sort of Rob Key-lite in racking up 136 from 251 balls, no other Northants player made it past 25.
In a palrty total of 175 from Sussex it cannot be said that Chris Nash didn't do his bit, his 78 off 116 was the only thing holding it together.
Glamorgan's Ben Wright lifted them to a mammoth 500+ total with 172 off 219 balls, Anthony Ireland the only man to make inroads for Gloucestershire with 5-114.
In Gloucestershire's reply both Alex Gidman and James Franklin managed to fall in the 90s, for 97 and 95 respectively.
Similarly Scott Newman and Andrew Strauss fell for 92 and 91 respectively in their first innings against Surrey. Ramprakash's 223 doesn't need mentioning again, but I thought I would anyway.
Darryl Mitchell hit 148 from 260 balls and Alexei Kervezee clobbered 130 from 175 in Worcestershire's first innings against Derbyshire. Incredibly Phil Jaques did not get a duck, but 92 runs. Robin Peterson continued to pick up wickets for Derbyshire though with 4-130. In Derbyshire's reply Steffan Jones came to the crease with his side tottering on 172-9, by the time he departed he had battered 86 runs off just 70 balls to lead his side (ably assisted by 35 from Tim Groenewald) to a more respectable 295 all out.
Back later with a round up of any impressive final day performances!
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