Davis takes two but batsmen on top

DAY 1 | Durham CCC 368 for five v Leicestershire CCC

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Leicestershire CCC Head Coach Paul Nixon spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Opener Alex Lees posted 181 in his first innings to set Durham CCC on their way to a first day score of 368 for five against Leicestershire CCC at Emirates Riverside.

Will Davis took two wickets for the Foxes, while Gavin Griffiths, Chris Wright and Muhammad Abbas claimed one apiece on the return to Specsavers County Championship.

County came into the fixture having not lost in their previous five Vitality Blast fixtures, but this was the first red ball fixture for a month sandwiched between a key period of T20.

It is a testing schedule for the Foxes, who had back-to-back Vitality Blast games last Thursday, travel the following day, this game in the north-east, and there are two extremely important Vitality Blast matches in the space of 48 hours starting on Friday.  

The team was freshened up with five additions to the T20 side that won at Derbyshire Falcons. Captain Paul Horton, Abbas, Wright, Hassan Azad and Neil Dexter all came in.

Durham CCC were inserted after an uncontested toss, and Cameron Steel on his recall to the side enjoyed an early moment of fortune when he edged an Abbas delivery between Harry Swindells and Horton at first slip.

Steel and Lees saw off the new ball, and the home side reached fifty in the 15th over with the Foxes having introduced Griffiths into the bowling attack.

Lees shifted through the gears and took the attack to the Leicestershire CCC bowlers. He scored successive boundaries through the off-side to reach his fourth half-century of the campaign from 62 deliveries.

Their partnership had reached 75, but would go no further as Steel (24) edged a Griffiths delivery to the in-form Colin Ackermann at second slip, who caught low to his right.

Lunch then came with the home side sitting on 95 for one. A leg-bye with Angus Robson facing the bowling of Abbas brought up the home side’s hundred in the first over of the second session of the day.

Robson (16) was then leg before to a Davis delivery that nipped back in, but Lees was proving a difficult opponent, placing a very high price on his wicket.

Lees made his way to his third century of the campaign from 137 balls by pulling a delivery from Wright through the leg-side to the fence.

He survived a near miss when he edged a delivery behind from Wright later in the over, although for the second time in the day it travelled between Swindells and Horton.

Leading wicket-taker Wright then earned his opening wicket of the game - and the Foxes their first bowling point - after trapping Peter Handscomb lbw for 29 with a ball that came back and kept a bit low.

The Australian’s replacement, Burnham, came in and saw the hosts over the 200-run mark alongside the ever-present Lees.

Durham CCC secured their first batting point by passing the 200-run mark with Lees remaining in dominant form.

He and Burnham accelerated the run rate to four runs per over, quickly earning the second batting point at the end of the session.

Tea arrived with the hosts sitting on 254 for three with opener Lees three runs away from 150 and Burnham on 32.

Lees then brought up his third landmark of the day off the bowling of Dexter having faced 201 balls. The Yorkshireman was compiling a vital innings not only for himself, but for Durham CCC as well.

Durham CCC worked their way past the 300 to secure a third batting point as Lees and Burnham continued their fine partnership.

The opener survived a good shout of lbw from Abbas on 170, but after adding 11 further runs the seamer snagged his wicket trapping him in front of off stump, ending the partnership at 147.

Burnham (86) and Liam Trevaskis (10no) added the fourth batting point, although the former fell just before the close for a fine knock of 86 when nicking Davis through to Swindells.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 19-2-62-1, Wright 17-3-89-1, Griffiths 18-2-56-1, Davis 21-2-82-2, Ackermann 11-1-48-0, Dexter 10-4-20-0

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.