Raine inspires Foxes after tough start

Leicestershire versus Northamptonshire, Specsavers County Championship, Day 2:

SCORECARD | Available through ESPN Cricinfo HERE

INTERVIEW | Ben Raine 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

Ben Raine made a sparkling half-century and claimed four wickets as Leicestershire showed character against promotion-hunting Northamptonshire on day two at the Fischer County Ground.

Ben Sanderson and Richard Gleeson, who each claimed five-wicket hauls, took seven early wickets between them before Raine’s bright 57 helped Leicestershire to post 128.

To underline the fight shown, the last three Leicestershire wickets put on 102 before Northants slipped from 168 for 2 to 199 for 8 after opener Luke Procter perished for 82.

The indefatigable Raine was the pick of the attack, returning figures of 4 for 54 from 19 overs, while Callum Parkinson also collected three important wickets as the Foxes dominated a long final session.

Following the first day washout, Leicestershire handed a Specsavers County Championship debut to Sam Evans, who was immediately into the action as visiting captain Alex Wakely opted to bowl first.

Northants seamer Rory Kleinveldt opened the bowling; however, he could only bowl 11 deliveries before going off with an injury. The visitors struck in the fourth over of the day as Sanderson trapped Michael Carberry lbw for 1. 

Evans hit the first boundary of his innings with a lovely clip of his legs off Gleeson, who had replaced Kleinveldt from the Bennett End. Ned Eckersley (5) batted at three and also fell lbw to Sanderson, who was swinging and seaming the ball with great control. 

County lost their third wicket with the score still on 15, Gleeson removing Evans (8) with an absolute beauty that took the inside edge before reaching 'keeper David Murphy.

Captain Mark Cosgrove fell with the score on 16, bowled off the inside edge by Gleeson for 1. The next ball, which saw the start of a new over, Aadil (0) became Sanderson's third successive leg before victim.

Hill (1) was lbw to Gleeson before Neil Dexter (8) was bowled by the tall seamer with a beauty that swung away late to remove the off stump, leaving Leicestershire at 26 for 7.

Raine and Chappell went about rebuilding the innings in positive fashion with the former hitting three pleasant boundaries off Gleeson in one over. The pair bought up their fifty partnership inside 48 balls with Raine hitting four boundaries and Chappell three. 

On the stroke of lunch, Sanderson broke the partnership that was worth 68 when he drew an edge from Chappell. It was safely taken at second slip by Richard Levi. Leicestershire went into lunch with the score 97-8 with Raine unbeaten on 40 and Dieter Klein on 2.

All-rounder Raine was batting beautifully, punishing loose deliveries and treating good balls with respect in reaching a half-century from 48 balls, including six boundaries. Klein (14) and Raine had put on 30 before Klein drove a Gleeson delivery to Procter at backward point. 

It meant that Gleeson had completed his five-for and Sanderson followed suit. Raine was the last wicket to fall as a leading edge went to Procter, who was stationed in the same position.

Klein and Raine opened the bowling for County and bowled well, sticking to tight lines and making scoring difficult. Northants openers Procter and Rob Newton knuckled down and then began to move the scoreboard along. The pair reached a fifty partnership in the 17th over, and at tea Northants were 65 without loss with 42 overs scheduled to be bowled.

Raine and Chappell began proceedings after tea bowling economically and in the 30th over the first breakthrough was made.

Raine had bowled superbly with little reward until he had Newton caught behind for 44 off an inside edge. Procter scored his second fifty for Northants (99 balls, 8x4). As soon as Procter reached fifty he lost his second partner with Northants skipper Wakely being caught by Aadil at mid-wicket off the bowling of Klein for 4. 

Procter and Levi steadied the ship putting on fifty in 64 balls and their partnership continued to bear fruit. Raine was bought back on from the Bennett End as County’s most economical bowler and was rewarded with the wicket of the impressive Procter for 82 as an inside edge cannoned into the stumps.

Rob Keogh joined Levi; however, his stay ended at 3 as he chipped a Parkinson delivery back to the bowler. Parkinson struck on two further occasions, removing Levi and Murphy lbw for 38 and 1 respectively. 

Leicestershire’s incredible final session got even better as Raine claimed his third wicket of the innings, Simon Kerrigan lbw without scoring. 

Kleinveldt (4) then saw his off stump disturbed by the inspirational Raine, who returned figures of 4 for 54 from 19 of the 57 overs bowled in the innings, before the final seven overs were lost due to bad light.

TEAM | Carberry, Evans, Eckersley, Cosgrove (capt), Aadil, Dexter, Hill (wk), Raine, Chappell, Klein, Parkinson.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: Klein 10-2-35-1, Raine 19-5-54-4, Chappell 9-2-38-0, Dexter 10-2-39-0, Parkinson 9-1-41-3.

* Thanks to John Mallett for the photo of Ben Raine batting today.