Richard Levi hit form and his highest first-class score, an unbeaten 157, as Northamptonshire took control of their match against against Essex in the English County Championship on Monday.
More renown as a one-day blaster, he has been struggling as an opening bat and was moved down the order to No 5, where he found a comfortable niche. He hammered 20 fours off 216 balls to help his side take a lead of 121 after Essex were bowled out for 276, thanks in part to Rory Kleinveldt taking 3-59.
The muscular Protea and Cape Cobras batsman came in when Northants were wobbling slightly at 95-3, but he and Richard Keogh put on 63 for the fourth wicket, which gave Levi more room to manoeuvre. He got good support down the line as Northants closed the day on 397-6.
After being left out for the last three Championship games Levi said he had repaid some faith in him.’Any time you score a 100 is great but today being the first one for the club it’s repaid a bit of faith they’ve had in me, considering coming back into the side having missed three games, it was good to get a big score,’ Levi said. ‘It was a bit of a work in progress, four-day stuff has not been my forte over the years, but I’ve done a bit of work behind the scenes and it seems to be coming off’.’
Down at Hove, there was the ultimate agony for pace bowler Gareth Berg, who was run out for 99 as Hampshire piled up 392 against Sussex. If Hampshire win this, it will be down to Berg and Adam Wheater (111), who may be said to have honed his skills with the Matabeleland Tuskers in Bulawayo.
They came together when Hampshire were struggling at 197-7. When Wheater was dismissed, the score was 362.
Berg, formerly of WP B and an Italian international (through his mother), smashed 12 fours and fours sixes off 98 balls as he threw caution to the wind. He was undone by his enthusiasm and run out with a direct hit going for a second run to complete his hundred. It would have been his second first-class ton, going alongside 18 fifties in 78 matches.
Sussex were blasted down to 142-5 in the second innings, Fidel Edwards taking 4-21 and Berg adding another wicket to the four he took in the first innings. The hosts lead by one.
Tim Groenewald took 3-97 to help put Somerset into an interesting position against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
Earlier, Johann Myburgh, who had battled valiantly to 57 on day one, was an early victim for 61, and those below him did not put up much resistance as they crumbled to 225, a lead of 36.
Durham then went at it with enthusiasm, whacking 314 off 71 overs and presenting Somerset with a target of 278 with two days to go.
It has become a one-innings shoot-out in Bristol, where Gloucestershire took a two-run lead on the first innings over Lancashire. Zimbabwean Kyle Jarvis took 4-67 as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 277. Lancashire were 14-o at the end of the day, with Ashwell Prince and Alviro Petersen waiting in the wings.
Compiled by Mark Salter