Ian Bell's brilliant century for Warwickshire came on a day of contrasting fortunes for England protagonists at the start of a new round of LV= County Championship matches.

Bell's 122, out of 263 all out against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, helped to put the Bears in control by stumps as they seek their first win of the season in Division One.

The hosts' reply was a hapless 43 for six by stumps - putting Bell's 47th first-class hundred into fair context.

There was no such success for Joe Root, who made a duck for Yorkshire against Middlesex on his comeback after breaking his thumb on England duty in the West Indies last month.

Root is hoping to force his way back into the reckoning in time to be named in the one-day international squad to face Scotland and Sri Lanka next month and was leading Yorkshire at Lord's after captain Andrew Gale dropped himself to accommodate his team-mate's return.

It did not work out, though, for Root who fell to the bowling of Steven Finn (four for 50).

Finn shared the wickets with fellow seamers Tim Murtagh and James Harris as Yorkshire were bowled out for 178.

Middlesex then replied with 64 for three, prospective new England opener Sam Robson out cheaply.

Eighteen wickets fell at Wantage Road, meanwhile, as Northamptonshire bowled Lancashire out for 119 - Steven Crook (three for 26) the statistical pick of the bowlers against his old club - before England lynchpin James Anderson (five for 37) led the Red Rose fightback in the hosts' 133 for eight.

Early championship leaders Sussex were held up by rain until after tea against Somerset at Hove, where the visitors closed on 83 for three.

There was a similarly delayed start in Division Two for Worcestershire against Derbyshire at New Road. But in only 3.5 overs subsequently possible, the hosts made hasty progress - dismissing both openers as their opponents chose to bat yet slipped to three for two.

At the Ageas Bowl, 43 overs were bowled - in which Hampshire reached 153 for two against Surrey thanks to an unbeaten 56 from captain Jimmy Adams.

The rain was terminal at Bristol, where Gloucestershire and Essex were washed out.

But there was time before bad weather arrived at Grace Road for Leicestershire to reach 221 for four against Glamorgan - despite three wickets for Graham Wagg.