Stumps, Day One: Surrey 363/3 (Sangakkara 112*, Davies 109*) v Glamorgan, at the SWALEC Stadium
Kumar Sangakkara made a successful return to county cricket with an unbeaten century on his Surrey debut against Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff.
All the pre-match talk had been about the return of Kevin Pietersen to first-class cricket, but the former England batsman made just 19 before on-loan Somerset seamer Craig Meschede induced a thick outside edge that was taken easily by Colin Ingram at first slip.
Surrey captain Gareth Batty won the toss and elected to bat, but the assembled fans and media were made to wait for the man they came to see by a strong 104-run opening partnership between Zafar Ansari and Rory Burns.
Burns was caught behind just before lunch and Ansari was trapped by a full ball from Andy Carter just after the break to bring the long-awaited arrival of Pietersen to the crease.
He was the lowest-scoring member of the Surrey batting line-up on day one, however, as Kumar Sangakkara and Steven Davies pushed on to record a mammoth unbeaten 213-run partnership of their own. Both men scored classy centuries to finish the day on 112 and 109 respectively.
Stumps, Day One: Nottinghamshire 393/7 (Hales 222*) v Yorkshire, at Trent Bridge
Alex Hales produced an innings of immense quality to put Nottinghamshire in an extremely strong position after the first day of their home match against Yorkshire, on the same ground where the 2014 County Champions secured their title last summer.
Deprived of their strike bowler Ryan Sidebottom through injury as well as their many England absentees, Yorkshire’s opening pair of Tim Bresnan and Jack Brooks struggled for their line and length, and Nottinghamshire made a bright start under murky skies after being asked to bat by Andrew Gale.
Steven Mullaney was lbw to the reliable Steven Patterson and Brendan Taylor was caught in the slips to give Yorkshire debutant Matthew Fisher his maiden first-class wicket, and the honours were relatively even at lunch.
Hales rebuilt the Nottinghamshire innings with fellow England player James Taylor in confident fashion: the 171 runs they added for the third wicket came at a rate of 4.86 runs per over. Jack Brooks struck twice in the 60th over to keep the hosts’ progress in check, but Hales continued his aggressive masterclass unperturbed by the loss of Taylor and Patel in the space of four balls.
Riki Wessels, Chris Read and Will Gidman all lost their wickets before stumps on what had been a perilous day for batsmen, but Hales finished unbeaten on 222, his best-ever first-class innings and his maiden double century, which he brought up with a four off Tim Bresnan. Most importantly, though, he has helped his team to a commanding position against their rivals, and it will be up to the bowlers to convert their advantage into points on the Championship table.
Stumps, Day One: Worcestershire 45/0 trail Sussex 345 (Machan 135) by 300 runs, at Hove
Sussex’s Scotland international Matt Machan scored an incredible 135 off just 100 balls to see the home side to a speedy 345 all out on the first day of their home game against newly-promoted Worcestershire, who saw out an awkward 15-over period at the end of the day to reach stumps on 45 without loss.
Machan threatened to put the hosts out of reach with his superb knock, reaching his century off just 70 balls, but Worcestershire’s bowlers fought back well to keep Sussex’s total within reasonable limits, even denying them a fourth batting bonus point.
Chris Morris had brought Machan to the crease by having Luke Wells snapped up at gully, and he also removed Craig Cachopa for eight once the 145-run partnership between Machan and Ed Joyce had been broken by Jack Shantry.
Shantry also claimed the prized scalp of Machan, but his economy rate of 6.61 for the innings will be a surprise to anyone familiar with the miserly swing bowling he usually produces in early-season conditions. Perhaps the difference between second and first-division cricket is starting to show for Worcestershire’s bowlers.
However, despite some aggressive hitting from Luke Wright and Ajmal Shahzad once the platform had been laid, Sussex will be disappointed not to have put a more imposing total than 345 on the scoreboard at Hove. Sachithra Senanayake and Gareth Andrew managed to prise out the tailenders relatively quickly to complete a collapse of 9-184, and Worcestershire will be optimistic about their chances in this game considering the position they might otherwise have found themselves in.
Captain Daryl Mitchell and Richard Oliver blunted the much-vaunted Sussex seam attack, which includes Steve Magoffin, Shahzad and young pace bowler Tymal Mills, and they will hope to last well into tomorrow’s first session as they try to overhaul Sussex’s first-innings score.