Foxes regain momentum as weather stops play

DAY 3 | Sussex CCC 173 & 308 v Leicestershire 252 & 99 for one

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Colin Ackermann spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | A strong all-round performance helped Leicestershire CCC into a good position by the end of the third day of the absorbing Specsavers County Championship game at Hove.

Colin Ackermann picked up a career-best five for 69 and Tom Taylor ended with ten wickets in the match for the first time in his career as Sussex CCC were victims of a strong Leicestershire CCC fightback.

The hosts lost their eight wickets for 97 runs either side of lunch on day three, leaving the Foxes at testing target of 230 to win, but one that they would have accepted given Sussex CCC started the morning at 211 for two with two batsmen closing in on half-centuries.

Captain Paul Horton (53*) and Hassan Azad (27*) shared an undefeated 72 for the second wicket as the team laid a solid platform at 99 for one before the final session was lost to the weather.

After the strong second innings batting performance from Sussex CCC at the end of day two, the Leicestershire bowlers needed a quick start.

The bowling attack of Taylor, Ackermann, Chris Wright, Gavin Griffiths and Will Davis were looking to build on the off-spinner’s two wickets from day two to swing the momentum back into their favour.

Taylor (four for 75) got the ball rolling by seeing off Stiaan van Zyl (41) from the fifth ball of the first over of the day. van Zyl hadn’t managed to build on his overnight score when he nicked through to Lewis Hill, which brought Harry Finch to the crease.

The on-song all-rounder claimed his second wicket of the day as he emphatically bowled Luke Wells (48) with the middle stump sent flying.

Suddenly Sussex CCC had lost their overnight pair and life was tough for the incoming batsmen with seam and spin working beautifully in tandem. Ackermann built on his two wickets from yesterday, turning the ball back sharply to trap Ben Brown (0) in front of off stump.

Taylor then pinned David Wiese (0) lbw, and all of a sudden, Sussex CCC found themselves sitting at 236 for six, with the complexion of the game having completely changed.

The Foxes’ fourth wicket of the day, and the ninth of the fixture for Taylor became his best performance to date, surpassing that of his previous high of eight wickets for 116 runs.

Just before lunch, Ackermann took two quick wickets with the help of Specsavers County Championship debutant, Hassan Azad, on both occasions.

First to fall was Chris Jordan who gloved the off-spinner’s ball into the air which Azad gleefully plucked out of the air as he claimed his first catch for Leicestershire CCC.

Minutes later, the spinner improved those figures, taking him to five for 67 and earning himself a first five-for in the first-class arena.

His fifth victim was Ollie Robinson, who made Azad work for the chance. The Loughborough University student had to be on his toes to dive forward quickly to collect the ball one-handed just before it hit the turf.

It saw Robinson become the third member of the Sussex CCC batting line-up to earn himself the misfortune of a duck in the second innings.

Ackermann moved on to five for 67, and Sussex were sitting at 285 for eight, as the new ball was taken minutes before lunch. It had the desired effect after the break as Sussex lost their final two wickets within the first ten minutes of play, to consecutive balls.

First, Taylor completed his ten-for as Hill capitalised on a nick from Danny Briggs who was sent back for 16. From Taylor’s tenth wickets in the game, half of them came on the last ball over the over, the final one being among them.

This was immediately followed by Wright, who claimed his only wicket of the innings, as Finch went in the same fashion as Briggs as Lewis Hill caught him behind just shy of a half-century on 48, and Sussex finished on 308, leaving Leicestershire chasing 230 for the win.

Horton and Ateeq Javid came out to open the batting for the Foxes, and both settled into the crease well, hitting boundaries early on. However, with 27 on the board, Javid was trapped lbw by Wiese for 11.

The left-handed Azad started confidently, getting bat on ball and making two runs on his first ball faced as Mir Hamza looked to build on the quick start of Sussex.

Azad was a good foil to Horton as they shared a vital partnership during the afternoon session. The key was taking the attack to the bowlers, with Azad punching a number of deliveries away through the off-side, while Horton was quick to latch on to overpitched deliveries on both sides of the wicket.

The skipper posted a valuable half-century from 79 balls with his seventh four, a lovely drive through cover point off Jordan, and Leicestershire CCC went to tea in good shape at 99 for one.

However, the players never re-emerged after tea as there was a long delay due to rain, and then bad light. There was a planned inspection at 5:30; it got moved back 10 minutes, and ultimately did not take place as the light closed in on the south coast.

FIGURES (2nd inns) | Wright 16.1-5-54-1, Taylor 22-7-75-4, Griffiths 13-2-50-0, Davis 9-1-44-0, Ackermann 24-3-69-5.

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.

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