Bancroft ton frustrates Foxes

DAY 2 | Leicestershire CCC 212 v Durham CCC 117 and 191 for one

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Leicestershire CCC all-rounder Neil Dexter spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Leicestershire CCC were frustrated by a terrific partnership between Durham CCC batsmen Cameron Bancroft and Alex Lees on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship game at the Fischer County Ground.

Colin Ackermann ended on an unbeaten 62 from 177 balls (5x4) as Leicestershire CCC posted 212 all out to claim a first innings advantage of 95.

But not only did the visiting openers knock off that deficit, they added a further 92 to ensure Durham CCC closed at 191 for one.

Will Davis claimed the vital wicket of Bancroft (109) shortly before stumps, which will give the Foxes a huge boost going into day three.

Earlier in the day, the Foxes had added a further 88 runs to their overnight 124 for four. Seam duo Chris Rushworth (five for 55) and Ben Raine (four for 49) shared nine wickets.

Conditions were set fair for batting yesterday but it had a Monday morning feel to proceedings with a grey cloud covering and a little nip in the air. Some were still wearing shorts but the Factor 50 could safely be kept in the bag.

It was a good old-fashioned contest between leather and willow, with Ackermann offering a straight bat while seamers looked for line and length, subtle movement, and trying to get the odd delivery to offer a bit more.

There was a cagey opening with Rushworth and Raine both bowling in good areas. County opened their account for day two from the 22nd ball delivered.

Dearden scored the first boundary of proceedings by drilling Rushworth through mid-on, but the bowler had more joy when switching over the wicket. Dearden edged a good delivery and visiting captain Cameron Bancroft took an excellent low catch.

Hill got off the mark with a beautifully driven four through the covers before becoming a fourth victim of Raine’s. The all-rounder was claiming his third lbw dismissal and County were now at 148 for six, leading by 31.

The game was at a critical stage and Ackermann and Gavin Griffiths batted well. There was movement off the seam but each found the boundary with a quality drive through the on-side as the lead moved to 50.

Ackermann generally played with the full length of the blade but a rare short delivery from Jack Campbell was pulled to the fence to record 50 from 133 balls (4x4).

A useful stand of 31 was ended as Campbell, pitching much fuller, enticed Griffiths into a drive that was again superbly grasped by Bancroft, who got his hands underneath the ball at second slip.

Ackermann clouted Rushworth for four through mid-wicket as he looked to counter-attack, while Chris Wright somehow managed to edge a ball the same distance between Alex Lees and Bancroft in the cordon.

The Foxes added some more useful runs after lunch but Rushworth wrapped up the innings by taking three wickets with the new ball.

Wright (13) was trapped lbw, Davis (8) feathered to Ned Eckersley behind the stumps, while Muhammad Abbas (0) lost his middle stump to demonstrate the accuracy of the bowling.

Bancroft and Lees made a positive start to Durham CCC’s second innings, recording the 50-run partnership inside ten overs. Both looked to be proactive against the new ball, scoring boundaries and also running hard between the wickets.

Indeed, during the visitors second innings, the pair completed an all-run four on two occasions and were only denied a hat-trick by a smart piece of fielding from Neil Dexter.

Captain Paul Horton rotated his bowlers to try to make a breakthrough. Davis came on at the Pavilion End while Wright switched to the Bennett End to replace Abbas, and Lees sent the tall seamer’s first two deliveries of his second spell through extra cover for four.

The openers formed a good combination, happy to drive when the bowlers pitched up, but also looking to tuck away anything that strayed on to their hips or pads.

County opted for seam and spin before tea with Abbas and Ackermann in tandem, but both Bancroft and Lees were homing in on half-centuries as the deficit was reduced to two runs.

There were three landmarks in the 25th over as the opening stand yielded 100, while Bancroft and Lees moved to 50s from 74 balls (6x4) and 76 deliveries (5x4) respectively.

Although the run-scoring was even at that stage, Bancroft began to unleash some terrific strokes, including some straight drives that raced across the turf.

He moved to three figures from 134 balls with a 13th four, while Lees collected the first maximum of the game when top-edging an attempted pull for six over the wicket-keeper’s head.

Davis was given a burst down the slope and he asked ‘keeper Hill to stand up to the stumps. The move paid dividends the very next ball as the young seamer knocked out Bancroft’s middle stump to end the alliance at 187.

Nightwatchman Nathan Rimmington (4no) saw his team to stumps alongside Lees (70no), who had done a fine job for his team batting throughout the 55 overs.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 13-7-24-2, Wright 13-5-30-5, Davis 9.3-2-21-2, Dexter 4-1-15-1, Griffiths 8-2-24-0.

FIGURES (2nd inns) | Abbas 12-3-37-0, Wright 15-1-70-0, Davis 13-4-39-1, Ackermann 9-3-9-0, Griffiths 6-0-31-0.

TEAM | Horton (capt), Azad, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Davis, Dearden, Dexter, Hill (wk), Klein, Wright, Abbas.

Durham CCC | Bancroft (capt), Lees, Harte, Burnham, Clark, Trevaskis, Eckersley (wk), Raine, Rimmington, Rushworth, Campbell.

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