A late flurry of Northamptonshire wickets meant that honours ended relatively even between themselves and Glamorgan in Cardiff.
The visitors had been well in control at tea, with Alex Wakely’s 71 helping his team to 199-3. Wakely went on to make 82 – his highest score of the season – and with Richard Levi (75) and Ricardo Vasconcelos (56) also passing 50 Northamptonshire were well set to go on and record a big first innings score.
However Glamorgan’s bowlers made the most of the second new ball, taking the last five wickets for six runs in 29 balls, before their openers saw off the last seven overs of the day, scoring 21 runs of their own to close 260 runs behind.
Northamptonshire had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss on another glorious day at Sophia Gardens, although they had a scare from the first ball of the game, when Luke Procter survived a huge shout for a catch behind the wicket off Timm van der Gugten.
The opening stand was quickly broken however, when Ben Duckett edged one in Michael Hogan’s second over, and was well caught by Nick Selman one handed at second slip. Procter was then dropped at mid-off, but he was out shortly afterwards when he nicked Rory Smith’s second ball to the wicket keeper.
Twenty-year-old Vasconcelos overcame a nervous start to play some handsome strokes through the offside, but also played and missed frequently against the seamers. He was eventually undone by Van der Gugten, who got one to lift from a length and Vasconcelos’ nick was well caught by Cooke diving away to his left.
Wakely and Levi then put together a productive partnership in the second session before the skipper’s attempted cut from Smith was well taken at slip by Usman Khawaja.
Eight runs later Northants lost their fifth wicket, and Smith claimed his third wicket, when Adam Rossington, driving away from his body, was caught in the gully.
Steven Crook then joined Levi in a useful partnership of 44 for the sixth wicket, before van der Hugten, armed with the new ball, made further inroads by bowling a double wicket maiden.
Levi went to the first ball of the over, when he was caught at second slip from a intended cut, then two balls later, Seekkuga Prasanna attempting to heave van der Hugten over the top, only succeeded in skying the ball to mid-on.
Worse was to follow as Crook shuffled across his stumps and was out LBW to Hogan, with van der Gugten ending the innings by having Brett Hutton brilliantly caught by Khawaja at slip, and bowling Ben Sanderson with his next ball.
Sanderson and Hutton asked some questions of Glamorgan’s openers Nick Selman and Jack Murphy, but the home pair survived into day two.
You can see Alex Wakely’s reaction to the day’s play now on the Northamptonshire app, available to download for free onto iOS and Android phones and tablets.