The Specsavers County Championship season continues to deliver drama.
Here are the highlights of Press Association Sport’s Rory Dollard:
Yorkshire seamer Ben Coad would not have been near the first XI had Yorkshire got a fully fit attack but the 23-year-old has seized his moment with aplomb. The right-armer took five wickets in each innings in a winning cause against Warwickshire, turning in match figures of 10 for 102. With Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Sam Hain among his victims, he was striking at the very heart of the Bears’ line-up and is looking undroppable, even when Liam Plunkett, Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom return from the sidelines.
Just as new stars rise up and make their names, previous high-rollers are fighting to stay at the top. Having underperformed against lofty expectations last season, former England stalwarts Bell and Trott were widely tipped to put that right this term. But all is not well with this pedigree pairing and they contributed a grand total of 25 runs in their combined four innings at Edgbaston. Whether their decline is a bump in the road or a signal of final decline is an open question they will be desperate to put to bed soon.
Tweet of the round
Nottinghamshire’s official Twitter feed, @TrentBridge, may have spoken too soon after Australia’s James Pattinson skittled England’s Keaton Jennings on day one against Durham. In the second innings, Jennings made 102 not out, successfully facing down 67 deliveries from the paceman.
The absence of some of the top English talent in the Indian Premier League is one matter, but fans might reasonably wonder why the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad were not in action this week. Broad was eager to play for Nottinghamshire having had a light work-out in the season opener but was ordered to rest by the England and Wales Cricket Board, while Yorkshire wicketkeeper Bairstow was moonlighting as a television pundit for the IPL during his own enforced rest period. The conflicting interests of workload management, overseas assignments and the domestic game are currently balanced in a confusing fashion.
On Good Friday, nine matches got under way at the same time making it the first time since 1999 – 6,420 days in total – that all 18 first-class counties were in championship action on the same day.
Quote of the round
“I was heartbroken when he didn’t get the hundred” – Hampshire bowler Kyle Abbott spoke for the masses when he reflected on Michael Carberry’s dismissal two runs short of what would have been his first century since being treated for cancer.
Cooking up a storm
Alastair Cook was nursing a hip injury while his Essex team-mates kicked things off in the opening round but he was fit to take guard for the first time since resigning the England captaincy. The results were predictably impressive, 52 in the first innings against Somerset and 110 in the second. Confirmation, if it were needed, that there are plenty of runs left in the 32-year-old’s blade.
Division One: Hampshire v Yorkshire, Lancashire v Somerset, Middlesex v Essex, Warwickshire v Surrey.
Division Two: Gloucestershire v Durham, Kent v Derbyshire, Leicestershire v Glamorgan, Nottinghamshire v Sussex, Worcestershire v Northamptonshire.