With three weeks of the season gone in the blink of an eye, here’s what mattered most during week three.
Livingstone Loving Life:
Liam Livingstone proved exactly why he is close to an England call-up this summer as he registered his highest first-class score (168) and led Lancashire to a first Championship win for eleven months in just his second match as stand-in captain.
The red rose county were in big trouble at 42-6 on the first morning and more so after the first-innings as Somerset amassed an impressive lead of 169. But a partnership of 245 with opener and wicket-keeper/batsman Alex Davies inspired Lancashire to a famous win.
Somerset, on the other hand, have suffered back-to-back defeats against two of the favourites for relegation. Last year’s runners-up will feel they could have two wins on the board as they built a first-innings lead of 80 against Essex last week, but sit bottom as things stand.
Brilliant Ballance Saves Yorkshire:
Gary Ballance scored 293 more runs than Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow managed between them against Hampshire as he became the first Yorkshire captain ever to score two centuries in the same match.
Joe Root will be relieved not to be facing Kyle Abbott again this summer after the South African troubled the new England captain in both innings.
Hampshire, however, enhanced their status as dark horses for the title by emerging from their dreaded start unscathed.
Middlesex and Surrey Denied:
James Franklin may be rueing his decision not to enforce the follow-on as Essex escaped from Lords with a draw, largely thanks to the weather. The defending champions dominated the entire game but fell agonisingly short of a first win of the season. Essex, however, remain unbeaten.
Half-centuries from Ian Bell, Tim Ambrose, and Keith Barker on the final day denied fans at Edgbaston from an exciting finale as Warwickshire avoided a third defeat in a row.
Notts and Kent Maintain Winning Start:
Notts and Kent already look hot favourites to fill the two promotion spots in Division Two. The two counties have comfortably won all three of their games respectively.
Rikki Wessels blasted his maiden double-century off just 177 balls before James Pattinson was unleashed on Sussex’s top order – taking four wickets in just eight overs. Notts took 17 wickets on the second day to complete the devastating performance.
Darren Stevens starred yet again with bat and ball as he took 6-47, followed by scoring 90 in Kent’s second innings. Derbyshire managed to restrict Kent to a modest first-innings score of 259, but it proved to be plenty as Kent ran out comfortable winners by 169 runs.
Worcestershire Win Thriller:
Worcestershire won a stereotypical early-season thriller at New Road against Northants. Such matches have become rare since the new toss regulations were implemented last year with all four innings falling between 153 and 188.
Moeen Ali scored the only fifty of the match and Joe Leach took ten wickets as the home side did just enough to emerge victorious by 20 runs.
Stalemates in Gloucester and Leicester:
Durham flirted with the possibility of an unlikely chase on the final day against Gloucestershire but decided against it after losing four early wickets. A result at Leicester was always unlikely in a high scoring game with both sides registering first-innings total of 400+. Glamorgan now sit 6th in Division Two despite suffering two heavy defeats in their opening matches.