County lose hard-fought game to Durham

DAY 4 | Leicestershire CCC 212 and 273 lost to Durham CCC 117 and 487 for seven declared by 119 runs

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Leicestershire CCC 4 points, Durham CCC 19 points

REACTION | Head Coach Paul Nixon spoke to Foxes TV following the defeat at the Fischer County Ground. Click HERE to watch the full interview.

REPORT | Leicestershire CCC made a bright start in pursuit of 393 but were ultimately beaten by 119 runs against Durham CCC at the Fischer County Ground.

The Foxes needed a further 335 for the win at the beginning of the day to eclipse the current record of the 391 needed for victory against Derbyshire CCC – a record that has stood for 72 years.

County had laid a platform at 178 for three with Hassan Azad (62) and Mark Cosgrove (60) sharing 81 for the fourth wicket but Ben Raine ended with figures of five for 47.

All-rounder Raine played a key role in an absorbing match played on a good wicket, finishing with the excellent match figures of nine for 96 against his former teammates.

Leicestershire CCC had began well in their pursuit of the target with captain Paul Horton and Azad coming out of the blocks fast earning boundaries and scoring runs at a decent pace last night.

It was not to last though, as Horton was caught by Ned Eckersley after the former Leicestershire CCC man caught his former captain behind from Rimmington for 30.

Chris Wright had successfully saw out his task of nightwatchman and continued to play well alongside Azad on the final morning, the duo posting 21 from the first five overs including a couple of boundaries each.

The pair were approaching the 100-run mark for Leicestershire CCC before Raine again made his mark on the game.

Wright was the victim as he was trapped lbw by Raine for a very useful 34 from 60 balls including seven fours, having shared 55 with Azad.

However, Raine’s work was not finished as Neil Dexter (0) – Wright’s replacement – met the same fate as the nightwatchman after Raine pinned him lbw second ball.

Cosgrove then came in for Leicestershire CCC at a crucial time and saw them over the 100-run mark with his third ball faced after edging Raine for his first boundary down at third man.

The partnership grew from strength to strength as the surpassed the 50-run partnership as well as Azad earning his sixth half-century of the season coming from 116 balls including six fours.

Cosgrove came to the wicket at a pivotal period in the game and batted well alongside the ever-calm Azad earning 33 runs before the lunch interval came.

Leicestershire lunched at 160 for three and the game was delicately poised with all four results still in play.

But the pendulum swung in the afternoon session as the visitors took key wickets whenever County had a partnership developing.

Only 20 minutes into the second session of the day, and Leicestershire lost the huge wicket of Azad after a superb alliance with Cosgrove. The two former Leicestershire CCC men combined to dismiss the opener as Azad nicked Raine behind to Eckersley.

Another key blow was struck as Colin Ackermann (13) edged a Rimmington delivery that was brilliantly caught by Cameron Bancroft in the cordon. The Australian had to contend with Eckersley diving across him, but managed to take a low catch to dismiss the top scorer of the first innings.

Cosgrove moved to 50 from 106 balls with eight fours, including one strike sent between cover and mid-off with military precision, and was now the key man for the Foxes.

But when Chris Rushworth returned to the attack at the pavilion end, Cosgrove was out to his fourth delivery, chopping the ball on to his stumps as he tried to cut it away.

Now six down for 234, still 158 in arrears, Leicestershire CCC’s thoughts may have been turning towards a draw, more so when Lewis Hill (1) was pinned in front by Rimmington with only one addition to the score.

Harry Dearden (24) was the eighth man out on what would have been the stroke of tea when he was leg before to Raine, who had returned with the new ball from the Bennett End.

But Durham CCC skipper Bancroft asked umpires Paul Baldwin and Ian Blackwell to allow play to continue, the officials being at liberty to allow the interval to be delayed by four overs or 15 minutes if they believe a result can be obtained in that time.

In the event, it was enough for Rushworth to induce Gavin Griffiths (22) to edge behind and for Raine to claim his fifth wicket when Muhammad Abbas was snapped up by Graham Clark at first slip.

Leicestershire CCC’s next challenge is also in the Specsavers County Championship against Gloucestershire CCC at Cheltenham on Monday before Vitality Blast gets underway with a home game against Lancashire Lighting on Friday week.

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 27-7-79-2, Wright 24-2-112-0, Davis 23-6-62-1, Ackermann 26-5-88-0, Griffiths 17.2-0-84-2, Dexter 11-3-44-1.

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.