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Hampshire take over to stay top

After three close days of cricket, leaders Hampshire completely dominated the final day of the LV=CC game to win by 278 runs at Grace Road.

The visitors resumed on 306-8 - which represented a lead of 342 - and they reached 338-9 in their second innings before declaring.

Matt Coles made the game’s highest score of 83 (77b, 13x4, 1x6) as he extended his ninth wicket stand with Danny Briggs (28*, 32b) to 78.

That meant Leicestershire required 375 from a minimum of 91 overs and after Kyle Abbott (4-1-17-2) made two key early strikes, Briggs (8.4-4-14-4) and Coles (7-2-24-3) also shone with the ball.

Greg Smith made a fine 39 (85b) and he was unlucky to get a ball that kept low, while Ramnaresh Sarwan (15, 27b) was the only other batsman to reach double figures as County were dismissed for 96.

It was a disappointing end to the fixture but it is the first tough day that Leicestershire have suffered in 2014, so there is certainly no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

At the start of the day, Coles hit two fours in the first full over to take the stand past 50 and stretch the advantage beyond 350.

Another Coles four came at the start of the next over, and 16 came from the next over, which proved to be the last of the innings. It included a four and a six for Coles but Jigar Naik (25-6-81-2) landed revenge by having the big-hitting left-hander stumped by Niall O’Brien.

Jimmy Adams then called time, and County had a positive start as 21 runs came from the first two overs.

Nine came from the first bowled by Abbott, and twelve arrived from James Tomlinson’s opener, including two nice strokes from Smith that raced through extra and mid-wicket respectively.

Leicestershire then suffered a double blow as Abbott had Angus Robson (0, 1 b) caught by Michael Bates before pinning Ned Eckersley (0, 1b) in front next ball. Sarwan drove through mid-on to get off the mark with a boundary while Smith added to his account with a four through mid-wicket.

Sarwan glanced very fine and cut over backward point to pick up two more fours but he was pinned in front after Tomlinson (7-2-23-1) came around the wicket. Smith and Josh Cobb had a consolidation period, and Smith also found time to hit two beautiful cover drives.

Hampshire continued to threaten and three wickets – and another chance - came before lunch. Cobb (4, 23b) was leg before to Briggs before Smith was put down by the spinner at mid-wicket off the bowling of Sean Ervine (5-3-5-0).

Smith then clipped a four through straight mid-wicket but two wickets fell in the lunch over. O’Brien (0, 7b) lobbed a return chance to Coles, who took a good one-handed low catch, and Taylor (0, 2b) was caught down the leg-side by Bates as Leicestershire went in on 71-6.

Wickets continued to fall after the interval. Smith received one from Coles that shot through and trapped him lbw while Naik (1, 7b) got an edge to Briggs and James Vince snapped up a great catch at second slip.

Anthony Ireland (7, 13b) stuck a four through mid-on before being yorked by Briggs. Charlie Shreck (9*, 10b) and Nathan Buck (8, 14b) each struck a couple of lusty blows but Buck was bowled by Briggs with the score four short of 100.

Leicestershire took five points from the match, and the team’s next game is in the NatWest T20 Blast at Northamptonshire Steelbacks on Friday night. We return to action in the LV=CC at Glamorgan on Sunday.


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