Cosgrove's super knock earns Foxes a draw

DAY 4 | Durham CCC 544 for nine declared drew with Leicestershire CCC 236 & 363 for eight (f/o)

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Durham CCC 13 points, Leicestershire CCC 8 points

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | Mark Cosgrove superbly anchored the entirety of the fourth and final day at Emirates Riverside to score a century and earn spirited Leicestershire CCC a draw.

The No.4 batsman posted a brilliant 107 off 269 balls and had six partners at the crease throughout the day.

Colin Ackermann (57) provided crucial support as the duo shared 107 in 40 overs as they took their alliance into the second session.

Cosgrove then batted on, extending his stay to six hours and 17 minutes before bad light halted play with Leicestershire CCC 55 runs ahead with ten overs remaining.

The partnership of Ackermann and Cosgrove returned to the crease to get the fourth and final day of Specsavers County Championship action away at Durham underway as Ackermann faced the first ball of the day from Brydon Carse.

Both batsmen set their stalls out early, occasionally looking for low-risk shots to keep the scoreboard ticking over inbetween the defensive stance that the Foxes acquire as they look to bat the day out.

Not many runs were posted in the early exchanges of the final day, with the most entertaining bit of play consisting of Cosgrove heading a bouncer from former-teammate Ben Raine, as if taking up the role of the striker at the front post flicking on an in-swinging corner.

Protocol dictates that he must be checked out by the physiotherapist resulting in a brief break in play, but due to the deft nature of the flick, the batsman was fine.

Back to the cricket, and Ackermann earned his first four of the innings by pulling Ben Raine to the leg-side boundary emphatically, and then went on to post back-to-back fours off the bowling of Liam Trevaskis. They both came from classic Ackermann sweeps.

The duo that began the day successfully navigated the first session, facing both seam and spin - as well as the crucial new ball spell - as the Foxes entered the interval at 220 for three with Cosgrove 38no and Ackermann 43no.

The second session got underway and the duo soon hit their half-centuries in the same over off Carse.

Cosgrove was first to reach the milestone from 125 balls including four fours, followed by Ackermann five balls later as he sent Carse for two boundaries in the over bringing up the fifty in 129 balls including seven fours.

However, the 104-run 40-over partnership of Ackermann and Cosgrove was finally broken up as Ackermann nicked a turning Trevaskis delivery to Peter Handscomb at first slip for 56.

Dearden came in a chewed up 11 further overs, posting eight before being bowled by Raine. Leicestershire CCC were 278 for five.

Harry Swindells came to the crease to join Cosgrove who at this point was on 70 (169b) and the Foxes were nearing their initial target, to fully cancel out Durham’s first innings score of 544.

Swindells was minutes away from making it through the final session of the day, before Nathan Rimmington pinned the young wicket-keeper in front for 15. Swindells (15) lasted nine overs and got the Foxes on the cusp of cancelling out Durham’s 544.

Leicestershire took tea sitting on 304 for six with Cosgrove (79) and Gavin Griffiths (0) at the crease.

County came back out for the final session of the contest and soon made up the four runs needed to cancel out Durham’s 544 and it came in the form of four byes off the bowling off Rimmington.

The partnership of Griffiths and Cosgrove were standing strong against the attack of Durham after the Foxes took the lead, but something had to give eventually, and it was the wicket of Griffiths that fell.

After lasting 19 overs, facing 50 balls and posting five runs, the batsman nicked a Trevaskis delivery to Handscomb at first slip as Durham CCC tried to build up a head of steam.

Chris Wright came to the crease, with the task of seeing out the day alongside Cosgrove with a field that mirrored that of England’s on the final day of the second Ashes test at Lord’s as Jack Leach bowled the final over.

Wright (5) fell victim to the bowling of Cameron Steel who disturbed the seam-bowler’s middle and off stumps.

The Foxes needed another alliance as Will Davis (5no) approached the crease with 40 minutes left in the day.

Cosgrove then reminded the Durham bowlers that he was still at the crease and that it would take something special to remove him after hitting Steel for back-to-back boundaries to bring up his hundred from 261 balls (7x4).

With 10 overs in the game remaining, the umpires removed the players from the field due to bad light, and minutes later agreed to call a premature end to an interesting day of cricket.

Cosgrove had batted the whole day at the crease finishing on 107no as battling Foxes took eight points from the game and some momentum heading into Friday night’s huge Vitality Blast fixture at home to Notts Outlaws.

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