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Angus Robson made his first Leicestershire hundred as part of a terrific stand with Greg Smith as the team dominated the final day of the tourist match against India.
Robson, who has posted seven half-centuries in the LV=CC, including six scores between 75 and 96, scored 126 (146b) as part of a second wicket stand worth 229 with fellow centurion Smith (101, 102b).
Dan Redfern (58, 55b) was also in the runs as Leicestershire amassed 349-5 in the 62 overs of play possible on the last day.
The batsmen faced every bowler in India’s 18-man squad, so it was an excellent day’s work by Leicestershire. Robson again caught the eye with a plethora of well-timed cuts and drives through the off-side.
India had finished their 90-over allocation on the first day, so Leicestershire were batting on the third morning. An extra half an hour was added to the play to make up a small part of the time lost yesterday.
Robson scored his first 45 runs off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, including five boundaries between third man and cover in the seamer's opening four overs. Matthew Boyce (4, 20b) had worked hard to get himself in but lost his wicket in the 8th over as Ajinkya Rahane took a terrific one-handed catch at third slip off the impressive Pankaj Singh.
Robson cut Kumar for four in the 9th over before two successive fours arrived through mid-wicket and backward point for the opener in the bowler’s next offering. A Robson brace took the score to 50, and Smith hit three boundaries in the 12th over as Leicestershire continued to score at pace.
Two terrific drives through extra cover and mid-off moved Robson to ten boundaries in a score of 45 not out, and the score had raced to 71-1 after 13 overs when a shower forced the players from the field. Smith was on 19 at that stage in proceedings.
Lunch was meant to be taken at 1.15pm but was brought forward to 1pm, and play was able to resume at 2.10pm. Fourteen overs had been lost at that point.
Ishant Sharma had bowled just one delivery from the Bennett End before the delay – and that was a no-ball – and two drives from Smith in the uncompleted over went to the boundary at extra cover and backward point respectively. The second four registered an entertaining 50 partnership.
Robson’s 11th four of the innings, a flowing drive through mid-off off another Ishant no-ball, registered 50 made at exactly a run a ball. The next delivery was also a no-ball, and was promptly clattered through mid-wicket, and another four in the over was struck through extra cover.
Ishant’s tough start continued as a flick from Smith in his third over flew down to the long leg boundary and the following ball was sent for four through extra. Another boundary came in Ishant’s fourth over as Robson glanced away - the seamer had now conceded 41 from his first four overs.
Robson hit another couple of stylish off-drives off Mohammed Shami as the stand moved into three figures, and Smith drilled the same bowler through mid-on and guided down to third man to progress to 46. A nudge from Robson off Stuart Binny found its way to the cordon, and Smith crashed the same bowler through the covers to record a 52-ball 50 with his tenth four.
Ishant came on for a second spell at the Pavilion End and although there was a man stationed three-quarters of the way to the backward point boundary to try to stop Robson’s trademark cut, the batsman cracked past him for four. Robson also sent a couple of drives to the cover boundary off Sharma and Binny respectively as he moved to 97; the second of those fours came off a no-ball and took the stand to 150.
A brace of singles followed before Robson moved to his hundred from 102 balls as he cut away for one. The batsman had hit twenty fours in the process, and another duly followed through his favoured cut stroke.
Smith drove through mid-on and mid-wicket to record further fours off Varun Aaron and Robson edged an attempted drive down to third man as Ishant’s difficult day continued.
Smith struck through the covers to bring up the 200 and three fours came in the 38th over bowled by Ishwar Pandey. Robson guided a no-ball given for height to third man before driving through the covers while Smith cut powerfully.
A crunching stroke through straight mid-wicket from Smith took the stand to 200 and another four came in the 41st over courtesy of a nurdle down to third man. There were no nervous nineties for Smith, who struck Ravindra Jadeja for a brace of consecutive sixes over mid-on to move from 89 to 101. The fine hundred came from 100 balls, containing 17 fours and two sixes.
Tea was taken with the score on 249-1 and Robson on 126 and Smith 101, and the duo retired their innings at that stage. Redfern and Michael Thornely came to the wicket.
Redfern hit six boundaries in the first ten overs of the evening session and Thornely then hit a lovely maximum over mid-on to register the 300 and the 50 stand. Redfern guided the returning Pandey for another four before launching Jadeja for six over straight mid-wicket.
Two consecutive fours off Pandey took Redfern to 50 from 49 balls (9x4, 1x6) and an all-action over from Ishant followed. Redfern smashed over mid-wicket for another boundary but drove to Ravichandran Ashwin at mid-off two balls later.
Tom Wells was struck on the helmet and the team picked up four leg byes off his first delivery as Leicestershire moved to 333-4 – exactly the score India made. Wells (0, 2b) edged Ishant's next delivery to Rohit Sharma at second slip. It was good bowling from the seamer, who showed character to bounce back from his earlier problems.
Thornely (23*, 51b) cut Ashwin for four to put Leicestershire ahead and Shiv Thakor (10*, 7b) went on to flick and drive to the ropes. A combination of bad light and rain then took the players off the field. There were 22 overs scheduled to be bowled but no further play was possible.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank India for an entertaining game. We have enjoyed having the national team at Grace Road and hope to see everyone again soon.
Bowling figures for India; Kumar 7-1-46-0, Pankaj Singh 11-3-46-1, Ishant 9-0-64-2, Mohammed Shami 6-1-25-0, Binny 4-0-22-0, Aaron 6-0-31-0, Pandey 5-1-31-0, Jadeja 11-2-57-0, Cheteshwar Pujara 1-0-1-0, Ashwin 2-0-10-0.
* Thanks to Ed Melia for the great photo of Angus and Greg as they came off at tea today.