Azad posts another fifty for battling Foxes

DAY 3 | Durham CCC 544 for nine declared v Leicestershire CCC 236 & 153 for three (f/o)

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Leicestershire CCC Assistant Coach John Sadler spoke to BBC Radio Leicester’s Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Hassan Azad scored a half-century in each innings as Leicestershire CCC battled hard after being asked to follow-on at Emirates Riverside.

County finished their first innings on 236 with Azad top-scoring with 53, and the opener again led the way with 57 as the Foxes closed the day at 153 for three in their second innings.

Seamer Brydon Carse continued his surge from day two when he accounted for three of the four Leicestershire CCC wickets to fall. The 24-year-old added another three scalps while Chris Rushworth also struck twice.

Azad then took his seasonal Specsavers County Championship tally to a highly impressive 961 runs at 56.52, although a late wicket took a little shine off the Foxes’ resilient response.

However, Leicestershire CCC still have seven wickets intact for the final day, and halved their deficit in a gutsy second innings display.

County began day three four wickets down with Colin Ackermann and nightwatchman Chris Wright at the crease, with their goal to avoid the follow-on by reaching the target of 393.

Ackermann started the day on seven and Wright on five after seeing the remaining two overs out at the end of the second day.

Wright faced the first ball of the day and scored three, while Ackermann earned his first boundary of the day from his sixth ball faced today as both batsmen looked assured at the crease early in the day.

However, Ackermann (13) played a delivery that swung back in from former-Fox Ben Raine and edged it to Peter Handscomb at second slip for 13.

The Foxes were now at 166 for five and looking to their middle order. Soon after, the Foxes found themselves six wickets down following the dismissal of Wright, who feathered Carse through to ‘keeper Eckersley after a battling 27.

The Two Harrys were together in Swindells and Dearden. The ‘keeper saw Leicestershire over the 200 mark, with his first boundary of the day coming from a push off Carse through the off-side.

Lunch came with Leicestershire CCC at 220 for six and they looked to kick on after the foundation laid towards the back of the first session.

Their patience was rewarded in the afternoon as they reached their fifty partnership, adding important runs for the seventh wicket.

However, the arrival of the new ball proved to be their downfall as the two players were out in successive deliveries. Swindells (24) fell first lbw to Rushworth before Carse claimed his fifth strike of the innings by dismissing Dearden (22) in the same manner.

Will Davis (1) then struck a Carse delivery straight to Nathan Rimmington in the covers who caught comfortably.

The final wicket pairing of Gavin Griffiths (1) and Muhammad Abbas (0no) lasted five balls before Rushworth claimed the final wicket of the innings, hitting the middle stump of Griffiths.

Having fallen short of the follow-on target, Durham enforced the follow-on for the Foxes with Paul Horton and Hassan Azad returning to the crease.

The Foxes’ opening partnership yielded 93 runs, seven less than in their first innings, as Horton and Azad once again laid some solid foundations for Leicestershire CCC during their second knock.

Azad suffered a blow to the grill in the sixth over from Carse – which ran away for four leg-byes – and play was halted for concussion protocol.

The batsman was okay to continue and recorded his first boundary off Carse in the same over. The Foxes saw themselves through the second interval of the day having seen off the new ball.

Leicestershire CCC headed into tea on 67 without loss with captain Horton on 26no and Azad 32no.

The first wicket partnership came to an end on 93 after Horton nicked a Ben Raine delivery down the leg-side and was caught by Eckersley for 35.

In the following over, Azad bring up his second fifty of the game as he stepped down the wicket to nudge Trevaskis past short square-leg for a quick single. The half-century came off 125 balls and included four boundaries.

Two overs later and Neil Dexter cut Raine down to third man for two to bring up the Foxes hundred.

But Azad was the next Foxes wicket to fall in similar fashion to the first innings as Carse delivered a short ball that was nicked through to ‘keeper Eckersley.

Mark Cosgrove (21no) came to the crease and joined Dexter to see the remaining 12 overs out.

The day was coming to a close, but Durham had time enough to strike once more as Dexter was pinned lbw by a Steel googly for 24.

TEAM | Horton (capt), Abbas, Ackermann, Azad, Cosgrove, Davis, Dearden, Dexter, Griffiths, Swindells (wk), Wright

Durham CCC | Lees, Steel, Robson, Burnham, Handscomb, Eckersley (capt & wk), Trevaskis, Raine, Carse, Rimmington, Rushworth

IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game