29th August 2017
Dexter's five keeps County ahead
Kent versus Leicestershire, Specsavers County Championship, Day 2:
SCORECARD | Available through ESPN Cricinfo HERE
INTERVIEW | Neil Dexter spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps, the interview is available HERE
HIGHLIGHTS | The highlights of the second day are available HERE
REPORT | Neil Dexter claimed a second consecutive Specsavers County Championship five-wicket haul as Leicestershire ended day two 37 runs ahead of Kent. The visitors require one further wicket to claim a first innings lead in an absorbing game at Canterbury.
Lewis Hill (85*) and Callum Parkinson extended their last wicket partnership to 122 as County collected a fourth batting point before being bowled out for exactly 350.
Both Parkinson and Darren Stevens, who dismissed the spinner to end the Leicestershire innings, ended with respective career-bests of 75 and 8 for 75.
Home captain Sam Northeast anchored the home reply in 241 minutes at the crease but fell three short of a century as he became the fourth of Dexter’s victims.
The all-rounder took 5 for 71 against Durham in his last outing and had the same figures when he dismissed Mitch Claydon. Dexter ended the day with the analysis of 20-7-76-5, a fine effort on his return to the St Lawrence Ground.
Leicestershire resumed at 326 for 9 with Hill and Parkinson already having recorded the highest tenth wicket partnership for the club against Kent.
Parkinson collected a two as the stand moved into three figures and the batsman then struck consecutive boundaries off Stevens. The first arrived as Parkinson manoeuvered a straight ball to leg and the second was steered down to third man when the all-rounder pitched one outside off stump.
The batsman joined Hill in the seventies with another pick-up to mid-wicket off Stevens - this time the ball sailing for six - while Hill cut Adam Milne to the cover point boundary as runs continued to flow.
Stevens produced an away-swinger to end the fun, Parkinson nicking to Matt Coles, who was stationed at first slip.
To underline the importance of the tenth wicket partnership, Kent lost five wickets in getting past the runs that Hill and Parkinson added.
Kent initially made a good start to their first innings as Bell-Drummond and Dickson were quick to punish anything either too full or too straight.
But the bowlers persevered, and Raine and Dexter were rewarded as openers Sean Dickson (19) and Daniel Bell-Drummond (17) edged the respective bowlers to Ned Eckersley at second slip, leaving the hosts at 40-2.
Joe Denly and Northeast were unbeaten on 16 apiece as Kent went to lunch at 70 for 2, still trailing by 280 runs.
Raine went on to strike for a second time to record the first bowling point - and it was a big wicket. Denly (21), Kent's leading run-scorer across all three competitions in 2017, became the third successive batsman to edge; this time a diving Hill gleefully snapped up the opportunity.
New batsman Billings drove his first ball to the fence but Dexter then used the Canterbury slope to good effect, trapping the wicket-keeper and debutant Zak Crawley lbw for 16 and 1 respectively with balls that nipped back from the Nackington Road End.
Kent were now at 113 for 5 but there was plenty of work to do for Leicestershire given skipper Northeast was set and Stevens is a fine batsman to have coming in at number seven.
The all-rounder scored 40 of a 50 partnership with Northeast, including eight fours that came both sides of the wicket courtesy of a number of off drives and flicks off the pads.
Northeast moved to 50 from 97 balls including six fours, half of which were scored down to third man, while Stevens had progressed to 45 as Kent went to tea at 180 for 5.
The captain hit two consecutive fours in the opening over of the final session but Pillans then made a key breakthrough. The seamer rapped Stevens on the pads and the batsman departed four runs short of 50 (79 balls, 8x4) as Leicestershire claimed their second bowling point.
Coles picked up the baton from Stevens as his 37 off 32 balls included seven boundaries. Three of them came as Coles got down on one knee to Parkinson but the batsman would ultimately fall to the sweep, the ball brushing the glove and looping to ‘keeper Hill.
Northeast moved into the nineties in the 73rd over by cutting Parkinson just past the fielder at backward point before advancing to collect a further four off the next over.
But Dexter, who was now operating from the Pavilion End, had Northeast (97 off 170, 11x4) as his third lbw victim of the day before enticing Claydon (8) to drive to Raine at short extra cover to complete his five-for.
The wickets helped Leicestershire to maximum bowling points and were timely given the new ball was imminent.
Hill and Parkinson had given a demonstration on how the final wicket can prove frustrating, though, and Milne (20 not out) and Imran Qayyum (22 not out) added 26 unbroken runs to see out the remainder of another intriguing day.
Bowling figures for Leicestershire: McKay 16-3-42-0, Raine 19-2-67-2, Dexter 20-7-76-5, Pillans 15-2-62-1, Parkinson 18-4-59-1.
* Thanks to John Mallett for the photo of Neil Dexter in action in Canterbury today.