James Anderson starred as Lancashire got off to a strong start against Somerset on a rain-affected first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship Division One clash at Emirates Old Trafford.
Anderson, playing his fourth consecutive four-day game for the Red Rose and his final match before the sole Test against Ireland, gave notice of his readiness for England duty with a brilliant eight-over opening spell during which he bowled five maidens, was hit for five runs and claimed the wickets of Steven Davies and Tom Abell.
Although Somerset had recovered from 12-3 to 109-4 by the time torrential rain ended play for the day, it was Anderson’s spell that will have England supporters hoping for brighter days with The Ashes beginning in just over a month.
Chris Rushworth continued his stunning start to his Warwickshire career with another four wickets as Essex’s batting imploded on a rain-affected opening day at Edgbaston.
Former Durham seamer Rushworth went into this game, his fifth for Warwickshire, with 22 wickets at 15.27 apiece and enhanced those figures further with 4-28 as Essex folded to 126 all out.
Rushworth delivered a triple-wicket maiden in the last over before tea to reduce Essex from a relatively healthy 76-2 to 76-5. Olly Hannon-Dalby followed up in the final session with 4-21, taking him past 450 wickets in all formats.
Warwickshire then encountered turbulence of their own as they reached 17-2 at the close of a day which provided abundant drama and entertainment despite play not starting until 3pm due to rain.
James Fuller took 5-21 as Hampshire dominated the first day of their match with Kent at Canterbury.
Kyle Abbott also starred for the visitors, claiming 3-23, as they skittled Kent for just 95 before reaching 89-0 at stumps.
Dan Worrall’s five-wicket haul helped Surrey claim the honours on day one of their match with local rivals Middlesex after the visitors collapsed to 209 all out.
A 152-run second-wicket stand between Sam Robson and Pieter Malan, who both hit half-centuries, put the visitors in a position of control but they lost nine wickets for 43 runs after lunch. The hosts reached 21-0 in reply.
Ricardo Vasconcelos and Saif Zaib shared a 50 partnership as hosts Northamptonshire reached 86-2 against Nottinghamshire before rain ended proceedings early.
In Division Two, Durham’s Matthew Potts continued his impressive campaign by taking four wickets to help bowl out Yorkshire for 254 at Chester-le-Street.
Captain Shan Masood, making his Yorkshire debut, Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow failed to capitalise on starts, with Potts (4-49) thriving. The hosts reached 42-2 in reply.
Michael Neser further stated his case for Australian selection this summer with a hugely impressive four-wicket haul for Glamorgan against visitors Worcestershire.
Neser, in partnership with Timm van der Gugten, ripped through the Worcestershire top order before James Harris claimed four wickets of his own as the visitors were bowled out for 109.
The Glamorgan top order also found batting challenging on a day where it swung and seamed throughout, moving to 177-6 with captain David Lloyd (48) leading the effort.
There was no action on day one of the second game of Australia batter Steve Smith’s three-match stint at Sussex. A wet outfield at Leicestershire did not help his preparations for his country’s World Test Championship final against India at the Oval on June 7 and the Ashes versus England, starting on June 16.
Rain meant the opening day of Derbyshire’s clash with visiting Gloucestershire was also washed out.