Cosgrove hits 92 but Gloucs dig in

Leicestershire versus Gloucestershire, Specsavers County Championship, Day 2:

SCORECARD | Available through ESPN Cricinfo HERE

INTERVIEW | John Sadler 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 | by Harry Josephs

Mark Cosgrove and Neil Dexter led the way but Gloucestershire closed within four runs of Leicestershire with seven first innings wickets intact at the Fischer County Ground.

Cosgrove fell agonisingly short of a third Specsavers County Championship century of the season as Leicestershire scored 222 in their first innings.

The captain's 92 included 16 boundaries and saw him progress to 938 first-class runs at an average of 49.36, 889 of which have been scored in the Specsavers County Championship.

Gloucestershire’s top three batsmen all made solid contributions as the visitors ended the day at 218 for 3, Chris Dent and Gareth Roderick each made 57 while overseas batsman Cameron Bancroft posted 42.

Dexter took two of the wickets to fall while James Bracey and George Hankins ended on 17 not out apiece for Gloucestershire.

Conditions were a lot more favourable for batting on day two, and due to the wet weather yesterday, there were 104 overs to be bowled. 

The skipper got County off to a positive start in driving both Liam Norwell and Josh Shaw through the off-side for boundaries. The skipper lost Dexter for 8, caught behind attempting to drive off the back foot off the bowling of the impressive Josh Shaw.

Cosgrove wasn’t to be stopped however; a single took him through to 50 from 73 balls (8x4). The loss of Dexter bought Lewis Hill to the wicket. Hill was generally watchful before his first boundary came from a superb straight drive that beat mid-off.

Cosgrove’s innings was going from strength to strength; Kieran Noema-Barnett was dispatched over his head for a one bounce four, and Matt Taylor went for consecutive boundaries when trying to test Cosgrove out with the short ball. 

The partnership passed fifty in 14 overs, Cosgrove was the aggressor with Hill happy to take singles giving his captain the strike. 

Their stand was broken by Taylor, who trapped Cosgrove leg before. His runs came from 126 balls and included 16 boundaries. Cosgrove peppered the off-side and also drove down the ground and pulled when the bowlers dropped short or overpitched. 

The dismissal of Cosgrove bought all-rounder Ben Raine (6) to the crease, unfortunately his stay came to its conclusion when trapped leg before by Noema-Barnett, leaving County at 180 for 7. 

Mathew Pillans (5) was dismissed 14 runs later, Noema-Barnett taking his second wicket courtesy of a good catch at point from Jack Taylor.

County bought up their 200 with the last ball before lunch, through four leg byes. After lunch, Hill departed to the fourth ball, cutting a Shaw delivery straight to Jack Taylor at point for 31. 

This bought Dieter Klein to the wicket, and Klein wasted no time playing some exquisite shots. His first ball was driven straight back past Shaw for a boundary, the next four was a comprehensive pull shot through mid-wicket and he then found the ropes for a third time through another pull stroke that beat the despairing fine-leg fielder to go for four. 

Unfortunately Klein was left on 15 as McKay was caught at short cover for 7, Shaw taking his fourth wicket to leave Leicestershire 222 all out.

Gloucestershire openers Bancroft and Dent made a solid start putting on 96 for the first wicket. Both were watchful but punished any loose deliveries in building a solid alliance, although Bancroft survived on 21 when edging a Raine delivery that escaped the grasp of a diving Hill. 

As was the case in Leicestershire’s previous two Specsavers County Championship fixtures, Dexter broke the partnership in dismissing Bancroft with a beauty that took the outside edge on the way through to Hill.

At tea Gloucestershire went in 108-1 trailing Leicestershire by 114 runs. Opener Dent went to 50 from 96 balls (7x4) in the final session. 

McKay and Raine were bowling after tea and bowled with great discipline to make batting difficult for Dent and Roderick. Raine got his reward for bowling tight lines by trapping Dent lbw.

The loss of his partner didn’t slow down Roderick, who pulled Klein for a maximum before flicking the left armer’s next delivery off his legs for four. Roderick’s fifty came from 69 balls and consisted of nine fours and one maximum.

Roderick was the next wicket to fall, Dexter claiming his second wicket of the innings through an edge to Harry Dearden, who took a very smart catch at second slip. 

Bracey and Hankins built a partnership of 24 before the umpires Jeff Evans and Nigel Cowley took the players off as the floodlights took too much of an effect. Unfortunately this saw play abandoned for day three.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: Klein 9.5-1-52-0, McKay 12-6-22-0, Raine 14-2-49-1, Dexter 12-4-40-2, Pillans 8-0-40-0.

* Thanks to Ed Melia for the photograph of Mark Cosgrove batting today.

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