Dominant Foxes land impressive win in opener

DAY 3 | Leicestershire 524-5 dec beat Loughborough MCCU 153 & 151 by an innings and 220 runs

SCORECARD | Available through ESPN Cricinfo HERE

REPORT | Leicestershire CCC continued to dominate the opening first-class fixture of the season to beat Loughborough MCCU by an innings and 220 runs.

After the batsmen continued to score freely to post 524 for five declared, Tom Taylor and Will Davis collected three wickets in an innings for the second time in the game.

The debate before the first ball of the final day was regarding which team was going to bowl it. With only six batsmen getting to the crease for the Foxes on day two, the question was whether the home side were going to declare at the beginning of the final day.

As the bell rang, Neil Dexter and Lewis Hill made their way down the steps of the pavilion as the Foxes opted to bat on.

Hill was on strike for the first ball of the day as Sanders continued the attack, bowling his 26th over of the game so far.

Within half-an-hour of play resuming, Dexter and Hill breached both the 50-partnership threshold and the 500-run tally for the Foxes – the landmark alliance coming through an excellent four played away by Hill.

Minutes later, Dexter saw his stint at the crease come to an end at 82 after being caught behind by King from Ben Bhabra’s delivery. This saw the arrival of Taylor to the wicket with Leicestershire CCC sitting at 505 for five.

The Foxes decided to call it a day at 524 for five, Hill finished on 36* from 48 balls, and Taylor 10* from 12 deliveries.

The second innings got underway with Tom Haynes on strike for the visitors and Chris Wright leading the bowling from the Pavilion End.

Following his monumental performance at the crease yesterday, Hassan Azad continued his form into the second innings as he could no wrong.

Wright powered a ball into Tom Haynes (6) who nicked it the way of Harry Dearden in second slip – all Dearden could do is knock it up into the air and it was plucked out of the air by Azad at third slip to see Loughborough’s first wicket of the day fall.

Soon after, the second wicket was claimed as Taylor got in on the action. Nick Hammond (9) could only deflect a wicked delivery the way of Paul Horton, stood at first slip, who comfortably held on.

Loughborough MCCU were at 36 for two at lunch. The second session commenced, and Davis and Gavin Griffiths were introduced into the Foxes’ bowling attack, adding to their seam offence.

The two pacemen were controlling the events of the game, and the Foxes then opted to change it up with the introduction of spin bowler Arron Lilley.

Lilley had been made to wait to make a contribution to his debut for the Foxes and deeper into the session, he bowled his first overs as a Fox – mixing up what was solely a seam-based bowling attack since the beginning of the fixture. 

It was not long before Lilley made his mark on the game as from his eighth delivery, Loughborough MCCU top-scorer Nick Welch (44) was caught by Taylor near the boundary.

A flurry of quick wickets followed as Griffiths claimed his first of the innings, trapping Louis Kimber (18) for lbw. Then, Lilley claimed his second in quick fashion as Horton caught his second of the game at first slip to see his counterpart Adam Tillcock go without scoring.

All of a sudden, the session had a different feel about it as Loughborough MCCU found themselves sitting on 89 for five, and maybe the Foxes were looking to close this game out as soon as possible.

Play mellowed out following the quick succession of wickets for the Foxes, but Loughborough were still not having it their way with the Leicestershire CCC bowlers dictating the pace of the game.

Since the dismissals of Welch, Kimber and Tillcock, Joe Kendall and Adam King came to the crease and settled the ship with Kendall posting 19* and King 13* as the teams headed into tea.

Loughborough MCCU were at 115 for five at that stage, and the Foxes came out flying with quick wickets coming from Davis.

Kendall (25) was brilliantly caught behind by the on-song Hill who caught his first of the day. Davis then quickly followed up his first with another as Sanders (0) lasted only three minutes before his stumps went flying.

The game then slipped out of gear for a while as the runs being made slowed down as the bowlers once again controlled the speed of the game.

Then three quickfire wickets saw the Foxes run out impressive winners. Taylor built on his earlier wicket, as Harry Dearden caught King (33) at second slip following an impressive ball.

Davis built on his earlier success as Bhabra (4) left an impressive fast, in-swinging delivery which hit the stumps as Loughborough MCCU emphatically slipped to 147 for nine.

After 19 minutes at the crease and no runs to his name, Will Pereira’s time was up as Taylor trapped him lbw that saw the batsman finish with a duck and Loughborough MCCU with 151, two shy of their first innings total.

It was a mightily impressive start to the season for the Foxes ahead of the Specsavers County Championship opener at Sussex CCC.

FIGURES (2nd inns) | Wright 13-5-24-1, Taylor 13.2-5-40-3, Davis 13-3-37-3, Griffiths 7-2-24-1, Lilley 10-1-22-2.

PHOTO | Thanks to John Mallett for the photo of Will Davis.

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