Division Two: Ben Foakes and James Foster boost Essex; Moeen Ali falls for 99 at New Road
By Joe Drabble - @SkySportsDrabs
Last Updated: 29/04/14 7:44pm
Essex boosted their hopes of forcing an unlikely victory over Gloucestershire thanks to a double-century partnership between James Foster and Ben Foakes at Bristol.
Only 31 overs were possible from the opening two days of the match, however Essex seamers Dave Masters (6-48) and Graham Napier (4-62) shot Gloucestershire out for 134 on the third morning before Foakes and Foster got to work.
Essex needed them, too, eventually reaching stumps on 305-8 after being reduced to 71-5 with both Alastair Cook (4) and Ravi Bopara (14) falling cheaply.
Foakes, unbeaten on 132, reached three figures for just the third time in first-class cricket, sharing a 222-run stand with captain Foster, who himself made 91 before perishing to Ian Saxelby shortly before stumps.
Moeen Ali made 99 as Worcestershire racked up maximum batting points and a healthy lead against Derbyshire on day three at New Road.
Replying to Derbyshire's 219 all out, the Pears amassed 432-9 to put themselves in pole position to claim victory heading into the final day.
England Test hopeful Ali struck nine fours and three sixes but wasn't the highest scoring home batsman, Alexei Kervezee claiming that honour with a sparkling 110, while Gareth Andrew poured more misery on Derbyshire's weary attack with an unbeaten 71.
A draw remains the most likely outcome at Grace Road, where Glamorgan avoided the follow-on against Leicestershire thanks to Graham Wagg.
All-rounder Wagg flayed 57 from 54 balls from No 8 to propel the Dragons from 289-8 to 359 all out, successfully passing the 350 follow-on total in the process.
Pace bowlers Charlie Shreck and Anthony Ireland shared six wickets for Leicestershire, while Glamorgan openers Gareth Rees (72) and Jacques Rudolph (65) both passed 50.
Leicestershire, now 77-1 in their second knock, extended their advantage to 218 runs by the close and will be hoping for quick runs and quick wickets in order to force a result on the final day.
Heavy rain and a sodden outfield caused a total washout on day three of Hampshire's clash with Surrey at the Ageas Bowl.
Persistent rain ruined any chances of play in the morning session, and umpires Mark Benson and Russell Evans closed the day's action at 2.15pm after an inspection.
The Division Two contest is now almost certainly heading for a draw, with Surrey yet to bat.
Hampshire remain on 289 for three in their first innings, after James Vince fired an unbeaten 118 on day two, his second century of the season.