Big third day ahead for Foxes at Hove
DAY 2 | Sussex CCC 173 & 211 for two v Leicestershire 252
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
REACTION | Paul Nixon spoke to the Club at stumps. The interview is available HERE
REPORT | After 15 wickets fell on the opening day of this absorbing Specsavers County Championship fixture at Hove, it was the batsmen’s turn to shine on day two.
Lewis Hill (67) helped Leicestershire CCC register a first innings lead of 79 after the Foxes posted 252, a fine effort considering they had been at 59 for five during the evening session on day one.
A fruitful opening partnership forged by Phil Salt (80) and Tom Haines (39) quickly removed the advantage that the Foxes fought so hard for in the first session of the day.
And although Colin Ackermann dismissed the openers either side of tea, Luke Wells (41*) and Stiaan van Zyl (41*) shared an unbroken 75 to guide their side to 211 for two at the halfway stage, ensuring the hosts will take a 132-run advantage into day three.
The first session of the day was a huge one, as Leicestershire CCC looked to build on the partnership of Harry Dearden and Hill.
Their alliance was worth 72 as day one closed due to bad light, and left the Foxes in a much better position than that of which they inherited as Leicestershire CCC found themselves at 59 for five after bowling Sussex CCC out for 173.
Both Dearden and Hill looked to settle into the game quickly with the left-hander hitting the first boundary of the day early on, steering away Mir Hamza’s delivery through extra cover.
Dearden (40) was trapped lbw by Ollie Robinson, but alongside Hill, had added 91 valuable runs to put the Foxes in with a good chance of getting a healthy lead.
The Foxes moved past the Sussex CCC first innings score during the first session as Hill nicked Hamza for a single.
Soon after, Hill reached his half-century from another single to square-leg. Hill came in at a pivotal time for the Foxes as Sussex were building up a head of steam, and spent 139 minutes to post 50. In that time, he hit three fours, the only six of the game at that point, and faced 102 balls.
It was Hill that also saw the Foxes surpass the 200 mark to earn their first batting point of the season, coming courtesy of a well-timed sweep through square-leg for his seventh four of the innings.
That same over saw the end of Hill’s stint at the crease as Briggs bowled the wicket-keeper, who was attempting another of the sweep shots that had been so successful to that point. Hill (67) was replaced by Chris Wright, who was to play a valuable role in his first stint at the crease as Fox.
Quick wickets came for Sussex as Tom Taylor - who made a useful 33 to go with his six first innings wickets - and Gavin Griffiths (1) were dismissed.
Taylor was trapped lbw by Haines and Griffiths was caught behind by Brown from a terrific lifting delivery from Jordan, who had previously twice beat the outside edge with similarly good deliveries.
With Leicestershire CCC nine down, there was an extra half of hour of play before lunch. The fact Wright and Will Davis occupied the crease for the duration had a double benefit; it extended Leicestershire CCC’s lead, and also recorded the second batting point.
It took only six balls before the two teams were heading back to the pavilion as van Zyl caught Wright at deep square-leg from Robinson’s bowling as the Foxes finished with 252.
Sussex CCC came back out to bat with Salt and Haines at the crease, and although the former fell without scoring in the first knock, his second innings performance could not have been more different.
Salt was instrumental in the home side eradicating the lead that the Foxes built themselves as he earned himself a half-century from just 41 balls.
With one over to go until tea, Sussex were sitting on 105 without loss, but Ackermann came on to bowl the first over of spin for the Foxes.
He made an instant impact. For all of the attrition from the seamers, it took five balls before Haines (39) was trapped lbw by the all-rounder from around the wicket, and the landscape looked a bit better for the Foxes as tea arrived.
Ackermann pushed on in the third and final session of the day as he also took the wicket of Salt, pinching a return catch to end his stay at 80.
However, the partnership of van Zyl and Wells stifled any sort of momentum that the Foxes were looking to build.
No further wickets were taken as Sussex closed at 211 for two, but the Foxes can now regroup and go again tomorrow.
FIGURES (2nd inns) | Wright 9-3-36-0, Taylor 13-3-49-0, Griffiths 9-1-40-0, Davis 9-1-44-0, Ackermann 13-2-34-2.
TEAM | Horton (capt), Ackermann, Azad, Cosgrove, Davis, Dearden, Griffiths, Hill (wk), Javid, Taylor, Wright.
Sussex CCC | Salt, Haines, Wells, van Zyl, Finch, Brown (capt & wk), Wiese, Jordan, Robinson, Briggs, Hamza.
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.