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Leicestershire continue to dominate

Date: Thursday 23 August 2012

Leicestershire have given themselves a good chance of landing a second LV=CC win of the season after another superb performance on the third day of the fixture against Hampshire.

County did a professional job with the bat as they made 265-8d in 85.5 overs to set Hampshire 441 to win in four sessions (a minimum of 132 overs).

There were important contributions from Ramnaresh Sarwan (46), Shiv Thakor (45), Josh Cobb (42), Ned Eckersley (39) and Wayne White (35*). Sean Ervine continued his fine game by picking up 3-37 from 20 threatening overs.

Hants were 77-4 at stumps with experienced batsmen Jimmy Adams, Michael Carberry, Neil McKenzie and Simon Katich all dismissed.

Matthew Hoggard (11-5-24-2), White (6-1-20-1) and Alex Wyatt (7-4-10-1) again shared the wickets for Leicestershire. Hoggard got the key wicket of counterpart Adams in the last half-hour to give his side a huge boost.

Leicestershire resumed 243 ahead and Hampshire were a bowler short given Chris Wood was unable to bowl after picking up an injury on the first day. Sarwan and Eckersley took their stand passed 50 as they played themselves back in sensibly.

Sarwan then pulled for four while Eckersley was fortunate to see an inside edge race away. There was nothing lucky about his next boundary though, which was a superb drive through the covers.

Eckersley glanced off his pads as he moved into the thirties and an off-side stroke also raced away for four. There was a scare between the boundaries as Eckersley drove James Tomlinson to mid-on. But Hampshire coach Giles White, who was on the field in place of Liam Dawson given 12th man James Vince was already deputising for Wood, couldn’t quite hold on.

Ervine ensured that no damage was done as he bowled Eckersley in the next over after the batsman opted to play no stroke. That ended the 86 run alliance and Sarwan followed shortly afterwards as the on-song Ervine got one through his defences.

Leicestershire needed to take stock and Cobb and Boyce did the job. The left-hander drove through the covers for a welcome boundary but there was a scare as Cobb nicked Ervine. Michael Bates, who appeared to have the ball in his glove, couldn’t cling on as he landed.

It had been a terrific spell from the all-rounder but the lead went past 300 and Cobb then drove Balcombe down the ground for four. Cobb played another delightful stroke through mid-on before producing a third straight boundary of his innings as he took eight off Tomlinson’s comeback over.

Spin entered the equation and after having a look, Cobb thrice hit Dawson back over his head as the partnership passed 50. Leicestershire were 165-4 at lunch but a fifth wicket fell in the second over after the break as Boyce drove at Ervine and Dawson snapped up the chance at second slip.

Cobb played another superb straight drive as the lead went to 350 and Thakor collected a boundary off Dawson with a cut. The batsman then benefited from four overthrows off the spinner after picking up an easy single. It must have been frustrating for Dawson but he stuck to his task and was rewarded as Cobb chipped back a return catch.

Thakor and White had a steady period and Thakor then played a beautiful drive to pick up four. White took ten off Dawson’s 13th over with straight shots for four and six and Thakor twice latched onto short balls from the slow left armer to hit fours. White hit off the back foot to the fence between the boundaries and the lead was now 400.

Katich entered the attack and Thakor punished a loose ball. White also collected a boundary in the over, which cost 11 in total. Thakor fell in the next as he gloved Kabir Ali to Michael Bates but runs continued to flow. Nathan Buck hit Katich for a couple of fours before falling to a superb return catch for 11 to Dawson.

Hoggard called time on the innings with 36 overs remaining. The skipper and Buck were a handful with the new ball, with Adams surviving a loud lbw appeal from Buck and Hoggard twice going past Carberry’s outside edge. Carberry regained composure to pick up two consecutive leg-side fours in the 5th over and the left-hander then pulled Buck for four in the next over.

There was a big appeal for caught behind against Carberry off Hoggard but although that did not result in a wicket, the opener clipped the captain to Boyce at short mid-wicket later that over for a big breakthrough.

Two more wickets followed as McKenzie was bowled after trying to pull White and Katich was caught behind by Eckersley off Wyatt. Adams and Dawson played extremely watchfully but with six overs to go, Hoggard landed the crucial wicket as Adams got a thin inside edge and Eckersley took a good catch.

It was the second time in the game that Hoggard dismissed both openers. Dawson pulled Buck for four and he and nightwatchman Tomlinson saw things through to the close, so County will need six wickets to wrap up victory tomorrow.


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