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Glamorgan press home advantage

Glamorgan backed Leicestershire into a corner at the halfway stage of the LV=CC match at the SWALEC Stadium.

Jacques Rudolph set the tone with 88 well-crafted runs from 178 balls while Chris Cooke (58, 101b), Jim Allenby (44, 71b) and Ben Wright (36, 84b) also made useful contributions in a total of 350-8.

Glamorgan declared to allow their bowlers six overs at our openers, and Tom Helm picked up the key wicket of Greg Smith (1, 13b) as County closed 235 in arrears on 6-1.

Leading wicket-taker Charlie Shreck earlier collected 3-64 while Nathan Buck and Rob Taylor each picked up a brace of wickets on a day where the County attack will have been cursing their luck.

Whereas conditions for seam bowling appeared to be ideal on the first morning, the pitch no longer had a green tinge and there was bright sunshine for most of today.

Ill-fortune was not confined to the conditions. When the impressive Taylor (26-5-84-2) got swing to force an error – an event that occurred regularly – the ball either beat the outside edge or, even more frustratingly, connected without directly finding the keeper or a slip fielder.

The left armer would have appreciated the irony of his first wicket of the day when it arrived; a leg-side delivery found some part of Mark Wallace’s bat before being held by Niall O’Brien.

The Glamorgan batsmen started well as Rudolph drove Taylor through the covers in the first full over of the day while Will Bragg also found the fence at the end of the 20th over. Rudolph struck through mid-on for four before collecting three through the off-side and a Bragg edge also found the fence as eleven came from the 24th over.

A Rudolph brace took the stand to 50 and the former South Africa batsman struck two delightful fours in Jigar Naik’s second over. The latter boundary took him to a half-century from 69 balls as well as moving Glamorgan into three figures.

The Welsh County moved into the lead in the 34th over and the next over proved to be an eventful one. Rudolph clipped an eighth four off Shreck before picking up a single but the 73-run alliance came to an end as Bragg (21, 72b) was caught at second slip by Smith.

Number four Wright drove and cut to the fence as he settled quickly while Rudolph struck a four as he continued to look in excellent touch. Wright cut his third four as Glamorgan went to lunch in a good position on 148-2.

The duo each collected four through leg-side strokes after the interval and Wright went on to cut two further boundaries. Rudolph drove through cover point to take the partnership to 50, and the opener then flashed over gully to register his 11th four. Wright drove with élan through mid-off to record a sixth boundary.

Leicestershire dismissed both set batsmen after a period of pressure. Shreck bowled a probing nine-over spell after lunch and gained deserved reward as Rudolph edged to O’Brien 12 runs short of what would have been his first first-class century for two years. Buck (25-4-66-2), who had bowled beautifully alongside Shreck, then had Wright held by Smith at second slip.

Shreck was now having a well-earned breather and Jim Allenby launched a counter-attack. The former County man pulled and drove Anthony Ireland (13-2-57-0) to the ropes to register Glamorgan’s first batting point.

Allenby then cut Buck to the ropes before the 69th over of the innings proved expensive. Allenby and Cooke each picked up four as part of a 13-run haul, and Cooke then cut Naik (13-1-47-1) away in his first over back as the duo maintained a positive approach.

Cooke picked up a pair of threes before edging Taylor down to third man to record his fourth boundary. The left-armer then produced a couple of beauties but the stand reached 50 before the interval. Cooke drove Josh Cobb (1-0-4-0) for four in the tea over with Glamorgan going in on 253-4.

The duo had had got themselves into the thirties by this stage and were now looking to up the tempo. Cooke collected three before Allenby cut for four in the second over. Buck opted for a short pitched line of attack and although Allenby pulled to the ropes, the bowler’s approach ended the 80-run alliance as Allenby top-edged a hook to Shreck at long leg.

Skipper Wallace (18, 38b) cracked a couple of early boundaries but the returning Taylor strangled him down the leg-side as County collected a second bowling point. A single took Cooke through to 50 (92b, 5x4) while extending the lead to 200 and Glamorgan then put their foot down.

Cooke and Dean Cosker each hit a four but Naik ended Cooke’s innings courtesy of a great diving catch by Ramnaresh Sarwan at long-off. Sarwan then held another effort as the returning Shreck dismissed Cosker (11, 21b). Michael Hogan (10*, 15b) and Will Owen (11*, 9b) hit a four apiece as Glamorgan pocketed a fourth batting point before calling time.

The declaration meant that Leicestershire finished with two bowling points and County's tough day continued as Smith was caught by Rudolph at second slip off Helm. Angus Robson (4*, 16b) drove for four as he got to stumps alongside nightwatchman Naik (1*, 7b).

 
 

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