The County Championship season is into its second day and there was some much-needed good news for fans of England, from the form of hopeful Matt Critchley to the near return of Ben Stokes.
Here, i looks at the big talking points from day two of the new season.
Good news for England – and Durham – on Stokes
Ben Stokes remains on course to play for Durham in the County Championship early next month after England reported that a scan on the all-rounder’s left knee was clear.
Stokes bowled 99 overs across England’s three Tests in the Caribbean – more than anyone expected given he was coming back from a side strain he had sustained in the Ashes.
That saw him complain of pain in the joint on his return home but an England statement said: “Ben had a scan on his left knee which didn’t reveal anything new. We had planned for him to return to County Championship cricket in early May and, while he is feeling tender in the knee, that plan remains the same following the scan. We’ll continue to manage him in conjunction with Durham.”
Critchley shines on Essex debut
Essex’s signing of leg-spinning all-rounder Matt Critchley from Derbyshire was one of the coups of the winter.
And the 25-year-old showed just why he is tipped for England honours – possibly as early as this summer – with an eye-catching 132 in his first innings at his new county that helped Essex to a commanding first-innings 514 against Kent at Chelmsford. The visitors closed the second day of this Division One clash on 122 for one.
Day two scores
Essex vs Kent
- Essex 514 all out
- Kent 122-1
- Kent trail Essex by 392 runs with 9 wickets remaining
Hampshire vs Somerset
- Somerset 180 all out
- Hampshire 482 all out,
- Somerset 15-0
- Somerset trail Hampshire by 233 runs with 10 wickets remaining
Northants vs Gloucestershire
- Gloucestershire 223 all out
- Northants 288 all out
- Gloucestershire 5-1
- Gloucestershire trail Northamptonshire by 60 runs with 9 wickets remaining
Warwickshire vs Surrey
- Surrey 428-8 dec
- Warwickshire 16-2
- Warwickshire trail Surrey by 412 runs with 8 wickets remaining
Glamorgan vs Durham
- Glamorgan 234 all out
- Durham 5-0
- Durham trail Glamorgan by 229 runs with 10 wickets remaining
Leicestershire vs Worcestershire
- Worcestershire 348 all out
- Leicestershire 42-3
- Leicestershire trail Worcestershire by 306 runs with 7 wickets remaining
Middlesex vs Derbyshire
- Middlesex 401 all out
- Derbyshire 177-4
- Derbyshire trail Middlesex by 224 runs with 6 wickets remaining
Sussex vs Nottinghamshire
- Sussex 375 all out
- Nottinghamshire 214-5
- Nottinghamshire trail Sussex by 161 runs with 5 wickets remaining
Foakes piles on runs for Surrey
Ben Foakes had a disappointing tour of the Caribbean on his return to England’s Test team. But the wicketkeeper-batter hit an unbeaten 132 to help Surrey to 428 for eight declared against champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Dom Sibley, the opener hoping for an England recall after being dropped last summer, was then bowled by Reece Topley for a golden duck as the hosts closed day two on 16 for two.
Weatherley bats up a storm
Joe Weatherley had only scored one century in 50 previous first-class matches but the former England Under-19 captain cashed in against Somerset in Southampton to hit a career-best 168 for Hampshire.
The hosts are in complete of the Division One clash after Weatherley’s knock helped them to 428 in their first-innings. Somerset, bundled out for 180 on day one, ended the second on 15 without loss in their second innings, still 233 runs in arrears.
Sussex reap Finn dividend
Steven Finn played the last of his 36 Tests for England in October 2016 but after a summer move to Sussex following 17 years at Middlesex, he made an encouraging start to life at his new county by taking three wickets on the second day of their Division Two match against Nottinghamshire at Hove.
Finn, now 33, took three for 41 as the visitors were restricted to 214 for five after Sussex posted 375 in their first innings.