A staggering win for Sussex, a day of rain at Kent and positions of strength for Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire: the race for Division Two’s two promotion spots is bubbling beautifully, and this was a seismic day of action.

Sussex’s was an extraordinary win, against Glamorgan – who picked a green team as their big names rested up for T20 Finals Day. Chris Jordan docked the tail to finish with five for 46 as Glamorgan made 182 at their Colwyn Bay ground. Sussex’s pursuit of 209 got off to the worst possible start as Lukas Carey had Luke Wells caught behind first ball and soon enough they were 10 for two. Stiaan van Zyl and Chris Nash rebuilt, before Andrew Salter dismissed Van Zyl (lbw) and Luke Wright (stumped) with successive deliveries to leave Sussex 100 for four.

Nash, who made 68, and Ben Brown put on 55 before both fell as Sussex lost four wickets for five runs. Suddenly they were eight down, needing 49 to win. Fortunately Ollie Robinson – playing his first match of the season and having already taken seven wickets – smote 41 from 37 balls to seal a one-wicket win, even finishing the job with a six.

Nottinghamshire, the leaders, require six Northamptonshire wickets on the final day at Trent Bridge. When Riki Wessels fell for a blistering 88-ball 116 Notts declared on 344 for nine, setting Northants (who are not totally out of the race themselves) 417 to win. By stumps they were 167 for four, with two of those wickets falling in a single Jake Ball over.

Worcestershire will hope to make the most of Ravichandran Ashwin’s presence at New Road as they seek eight Gloucestershire wickets. Ashwin picked up two wickets and Joe Leach one late on day three to leave Gloucestershire on 55 for three and chasing 401. That target had been set up by a century for Daryl Mitchell, his fifth in the Championship this summer.

Durham were met with resistance when they enforced the follow-on against Derbyshire, but are well placed for a third win of the season. Without Paul Coughlin (who is interesting Hampshire as well as Notts and Warwickshire), missing with a side strain, Durham reduced Derbyshire to 305 for six, still trailing by 11. Luis Reece made his second century of the summer before falling to Keaton Jennings.

All this made it a very bad time for Kent to lose a day against Leicestershire (could we see a contrivance there?) to the ruinous southern downpour. At The Oval, too, there was no play, while only 13 overs were possible at Chelmsford. Essex extended their lead over Somerset to 153 with Adam Wheater making a half-century, and Nick Browne becoming the fourth wicket to fall. He made 83 before being bowled by Tim Groenewald.

The only substantial Division One action came at Old Trafford. Liam Livingstone was finally out for 224 (a career-best that takes his average to 52) as Lancashire declared 304 in front on first innings. By stumps, the cellar dwellers Warwickshire were 29 behind, and six down, thanks to an unbeaten 76 from Tim Ambrose. There were two wickets each for Ryan McLaren and the 20-year-old leg-spinner Matt Parkinson, and Lancashire have a golden opportunity to close the gap (36 points going into this round) on Essex, who visit Old Trafford next week.


Will Macpherson at The Oval

The GuardianTramp

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