Foxes fight back at Cheltenham

DAY 2 | Gloucestershire CCC 275 for six v Leicestershire CCC 252

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | A late burst of wickets from Chris Wright and Will Davis brought a spirited Leicestershire CCC right back into the game at Cheltenham College.

Gloucestershire CCC almost restored parity for the loss of two wickets on day two as Captain Chris Dent and Tom Smith, the slow left arm spinner who was promoted to bat at number four, shared 195 for the third wicket.

But four wickets fell for the addition of 32 runs, including the two set batsmen to the accurate Wright, who ended with excellent figures of three for 53.

Dent posted his second century of the season against the Foxes, meaning he has now scored 955 Specsavers County Championship runs in his last 12 innings in this fixture, as the home side closed at 275 for six.

The Foxes, who worked tirelessly all day even when the ball got old, will have certainly taken that from a position of 241 for two.

With Leicestershire CCC’s first innings coming to an end at 252 three balls before the first day was scheduled to end, Muhammad Abbas got the bowling underway at Cheltenham as Gloucestershire CCC began their reply.

It took the Pakistan international bowler only six balls before claiming his first wicket of the day, as opener Miles Hammond (0) – who never looked settled at the crease – nicked a delivery through to Colin Ackermann, who was on hand at second slip.

The duo of Abbas and Wright were looking to capitalise on the quick start for Leicestershire and the Foxes had chances for further wickets.

First, Callum Parkinson had a shy at the stumps from mid-wicket as Dent played Wright’s delivery into the leg-side. His partner, Gareth Roderick, was not on his toes and Parkinson’s throw whistled just past the stumps.

Later, Dent nearly nicked an Abbas delivery through to Ackermann but the ball fell just short of the fielder at second slip.

From this point, Roderick and Dent played well, guiding some nice shots around the outfield. But their luck eventually ran out – literally.

Roderick played Will Davis down to third man and wanted two quick runs. Neil Dexter was placed down on the boundary; he collected and fired the ball into the striker’s end where Harry Swindells was on hand to help it on to the stumps. Roderick was run out for 22.

Just before the lunch interval, the Gloucestershire captain Dent earned his half-century from 95 balls. The next over saw the lunch interval come with the home side at 83 for two.

The Foxes did not manage to take any wickets in the second session of the day with the partnership of Smith and Dent standing firm

Dent was generally content to use the pace of the ball or the slope - or both - to gather boundaries, with timing a key feature of his innings.

The batsmen were not looking getting hugely away from the Foxes, with only 91 runs put on during the afternoon session, but Gloucestershire CCC went to tea at 174 for two with Dent on the verge of a century.

The evening session began with Ackermann opening the bowling and both Gloucestershire batsmen on the verge of a batting milestone.

Captain Dent was on 96no and partner Smith 44no. It took Smith only four deliveries before bringing up his hard-working fifty from 155 balls. Soon after Dent posted his third successive century against Leicestershire CCC with his fourteenth boundary of the day from 202 balls.

The new ball was brought into play after 81 overs and took three deliveries before making an impact.

Wright was the bowler to make the breakthrough, after Gloucestershire CCC’s centurion captain Dent (125) nicked one through to Harry Swindells. Leicestershire CCC finally ended the third wicket five shy of 200, which incidentally is a new record for the home side.

Wright went on to take two more wickets, both of which fell in the same over. First he saw off the second member of the record-breaking third wicket partnership as he clattered Smith’s off stump, who went for a career high of 84.

Then, Smith’s replacement Graeme van Buuren (0) faced only four balls before nicking through to Ackermann in the slips who caught his second of the game.

Davis then got his first wicket of the game with just over three overs to go, as his delivery came back sharply before smashing through Higgins’ middle and off stumps.

The Foxes bowled well throughout, including 15 overs of economical slow left arm spin from Parkinson, but it took to the introduction of the new ball for all of their hard work to come to fruition.

Since taking the new ball, Leicestershire CCC conceded just 34 runs in 15 overs, taking four wickets. Gloucestershire CCC ended the day with a slender lead of 23 runs with four wickets remaining.

Figures (1st inns) | Abbas 18-5-51-1, Wright 18-3-53-3, Davis 15-6-27-1, Dexter 8-1-22-0, Mike 13-2-57-0, Parkinson 15-3-29-0, Ackermann 9-2-33-0.

TEAM | Horton (capt), Abbas, Ackermann, Azad, Davis, Dearden, Dexter, Mike, Parkinson, Swindells, Wright.

Gloucestershire CCC | Dent (capt), Hammond, Roderick (wk), J Taylor, Howell, van Buuren, Higgins, M Taylor, Sayers, Bamber, Smith.

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

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