Hughes hurts Warwickshire's title hopes

PA Sport
Australian Phil Hughes continued his excellent form for Worcestershire

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Australian Phil Hughes continued his excellent form for Worcestershire

Phil Hughes' first LV= County Championship century for Worcestershire placed another obstacle in Warwickshire's path at Edgbaston in their bid to regain momentum in the Division One title race.

Winless in their last five matches, the current leaders would have hoped for some respite against second-bottom Worcestershire but the Australian's 135 helped his side to 246, with Vikram Solanki (57) the only other visiting batsman to offer much assistance as Jeetan Patel starred with the ball taking four wickets for 72 runs.

After five games without a win, the leaders would have hoped for an easier ride against relegation-threatened local rivals but left-hander Hughes resisted all their efforts in making an unbeaten 135 in a total of 246.

In reply Warwickshire struggled. Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood were lbw within eight balls from Alan Richardson and the pacey newcomer Chris Russell. Richardson also had William Porterfield taken in the slips before the troubled hosts closed at 19 for three.

Bottom club Durham are close to securing their second County Championship victory of the season after dominating against Surrey at Chester-le-Street.

The visitors closed the day on 69 for five in their second innings - still 112 behind the home side's first effort.

Paul Collingwood (78) and Dale Benkenstein (69) both made their best score of the season for Durham and it was their fifth-wicket stand of 132 which put the hosts in command.

Phil Mustard chipped in with 46 as Durham gained three batting points after totalling only two in the five previous home matches. Only opener Rory Burns provided much resistance for Surrey, surviving for 36 overs to reach 28 as Ben Stokes added to his four-wicket haul in the first innings with two more before the close.

Alfonso Thomas took two wickets for Somerset on another rain-ruined day of the potentially important top flight clash against title-chasing Nottinghamshire at Taunton.

Only 15.4 overs were possible following just 8.1 on the first day and the visitors progressed from 18 for one to 48 for three, losing Michael Lumb for 16 and Alex Hales for 12.

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