Dale Steyn’s form graph continued its upward trend when he took 4-48 off 25 overs for Hampshire in the County Championship.
Yorkshire ended on 315-7 in this day/night match, supported by Gary Ballance’s 117 and a rapid 79 from Harry Brook. Both fell to Steyn, who is using the championship to regain form and fitness ahead of the Proteas’ Sri Lanka tour.
After returning from a long injury lay-off, Steyn’s first spell of 10 overs in a List A game went for 80. Since then, he has been getting progressively better, taking 1-34 off seven overs in another List A, and, more importantly, 2-91 off 26 in his first championship match, against Surrey.
In this innings against Yorkshire, he bowled at pace, conceding fewer than two an over to end with 25-9-48-4.
At the other end of the scale, Theunis de Bruyn had a disappointing debut for Surrey against Somerset, facing just three balls.
De Bruyn was signed after Virat Kohli pulled out of a six-match deal, citing a neck injury. De Bruyn, however, will play just two matches for the London side before also linking up with the Proteas. He joins his old Proteas teammate Morne Morkel, filling the hole that was left by Dean Elgar at the start of the county season.
Surrey nevertheless ended day one on 351-5.
It was a good day out for Warriors and Essex spinner Simon Harmer, who took 2-54 off 26 overs, at an economy rate of just over two an over. Despite his restraint, Notts closed day one on 311-6.
On the batting front, another Warrior, Colin Ackermann, kept the Saffa flag flying with a superb unbeaten 151 for Leicestershire against Dawid Malan’s Middlesex.
It was a rollercoaster innings, with Ackermann getting sporadic support. He put on 129 with Neil Dexter (66) for the fourth wicket and then 64 with Ben Raine (37) for the sixth. On the back of his efforts, which came with 20 fours and a six off 268 balls, Leicestershire were 353-8 at stumps.
Cobras batsman Richard Levi, too, made a significant contribution of 63 to Northants’ first innings of 282 against Gloucestershire.
His openers, Luke Procter (70) and Ben Duckett (52) had set a firm base, but then the innings wobbled. Levi aggressively boosted the middle order, striking 13 fours among his 80 balls – a strike rate of almost 79. After he was caught behind off Ryan Higgins, the tail folded.
Dane Vilas had an interesting day as captain of Lancashire, standing in for Liam Livingstone, who is on England Lions duty.
After seeing off Worcestershire for 247, Lancashire looked comfortable as the openers put on 77 in reply.
But once that stand was cracked, there was chaos as Ed Barnard smashed through the top order. Lancashire crashed from 84-1 to 86-5 with none of the batsmen from No 3 to No 6 scoring a run. Keaton Jennings was still there at the end, with 42 off 99 balls.
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