Vernon Philander showed he is over the niggling hamstring problems which plagued his World Cup campaign by bowling 14 conservative overs for Nottinghamshire against Middlesex on Monday.
The Proteas paceman had the spotlight on him when he was selected for the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand after battling with injury for most of the tournament, especially after Kyle Abbott was in good form. On Monday, it was not exactly fire and brimstone against Middlesex, but he had five maidens and 72 dot balls in his 14 overs, and picked up the valuable wicket of the England-capped Saffa, Nick Compton, for three.
He had earlier contributed 17 to Notts’ total of 298 and added his weight to the destruction of Middlesex for 181. At the close of day two, Notts were 218 ahead with eight wickets in hand. One of those wickets down was Zimbabwe’s Brendon Taylor, who announced himself as a Kolpak player with a great 106 on day one. But he managed just 34 the second time around.
After the glories of the first day, when Johan Myburgh scored 118 of Somerset’s 299, he was brought down with a bump, dismissed for nine in their second innings. Durham had hammered a quick 380, despite the fact that Ray Jennings’ son Keaton (0) was one of two wickets to fall for 14 at the start. Tim Groenewald took 2-84 off 20. At the close, Somerset were 54-4, trailing by 27 runs.
In Division Two, Richard Levi continued to struggle as an opener for Northamptonshire. He scored 29 in the first innings and was ousted for 13 in the second against Gloucestershire. His teammate Rory Kleinveldt also struggled a bit, conceding 74 runs from 19.2 overs, snapping just one wicket as Gloucs faded to 296. He was trying too hard, for the slow wicket allowed the medium-pacers to dominate, with Craig Miles taking 6-63 and New Zealander Kieran Noema-Barnett 3-48. Northants are now at 68-2, leading by 105.
In Leicester, where Jacques Rudolph had whacked 111 of the 294 collected on the first day after Glamorgan chose to bat, the visitors ploughed on to 513. At the close, Leics were 201-1, trailing by 311.
Down at the Parks, Kevin Pietersen is still waiting to bat in the second innings. His 170 on the first day, boosted Surrey to 420 against Oxford MCC University, and the students were bowled out for 224. Strangley, they sent in Steve Davies and Jason Roy ahead of Pietersen. Surrey are 182-3, leading by 378. Not that it matters. The spotlight is on Pietersen.