Foxes start well in pursuit of 393

DAY 3 | Leicestershire CCC 212 and 58 for one v Durham CCC 117 and 487 for seven declared.

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Colin Ackermann spoke to BBC Radio Leicester’s Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Leicestershire CCC require a further 335 runs to beat Durham CCC on the final day of their intriguing Specsavers County Championship encounter at the Fischer County Ground.

After four sessions where the bowlers were on top, willow has dominated leather, which will give the Foxes encouragement going into Wednesday's play.

Alex Lees (93) and nightwatchman Nathan Rimmington (92) built on Cameron Bancroft’s century as Durham posted 487 for seven declared in their second innings to set Leicestershire CCC 393 to win.

The Foxes lost one wicket, that of captain Paul Horton (30), so opener Hassan Azad and nightwatchman Chris Wright will start day four on 13no apiece.

With Bancroft’s crucial day two ton for Durham CCC, the visitors were in the lead as Leicestershire CCC’s 95-run first innings advantage had been wiped out.

The wicket of the Australian was taken after he made 109. The Foxes made the initial breakthrough with just two overs left to play and were looking to start day three in a similar fashion to the way they ended last night.

Wright – fresh from his first innings maiden five-for for the Foxes – opened the bowling from the Pavilion End, and thought that he had made the breakthrough seven overs into the day.

Bowling to Rimmington, the fast bowler thought he had pinned the batsman lbw, but the Australian had got bat on ball on its way through.

Lees picked up where he left off, getting solidly behind the ball and looking to put away sscoring opportunities when they arose.

Leicestershire CCC were striving hard for a wicket, and Colin Ackermann joined the attack in the eleventh over of the day.

The off-spinner nearly made the vital breakthrough. Hassan Azad, as usual with when the spinner is in operation, was under the lid at short-leg.

It was Lees on strike, who must have been beginning to think of his century as he moved to 76. He tried to play Ackermann out on to the leg-side, but Azad could not react quick enough and the catch went to ground.

Lees moved himself into the nineties but did not manage to join his captain with a century. Gavin Griffiths came into bowl alongside Ackermann and managed to make the breakthrough. It was a short delivery that Lees could only nick behind to Lewis Hill.

Lunch came with the visitors at 309 for two having survived a close call as Muhammad Abbas bowled his last over the session.

The delivery was to Rimmington and the Foxes had a big appeal for caught behind. Yet, on closer inspection with the video replay, the ball looked to have come off Rimmington’s hip rather than bat on its way through.

It took eight overs of the second session for the Foxes to find their second wicket of the day and third of the innings as Abbas flicked the pad of Durham’s dangerous nightwatchman Rimmington to have him leg before.

Rimmington was eight away from a second first-class century, which he had deserved through both watchful defence and attractive strokeplay. This resulted in pressure from the Foxes as two more wickets fell in the following two overs.

Abbas took his second wicket of the day as Gareth Harte (33) when in identical fashion to Rimmington; the ball touching the pad, the batsman going lbw, and the ball ending in the hands of 'keeper Lewis Hill.

Neil Dexter, who bowled his first overs in the innings as he opened the second session, then bowled Jack Burnham (1).

Durham CCC had lost three wickets for the addition of one run and suddenly the Foxes had gained some control. But a position of 350 for five was still strong.

The partnership of Liam Trevaskis and Graham Clark posted 34 and settled the Durham line-up following the three quick wickets of Rimmington, Burnham and Harte.

However, their partnership at the crease came to end in spectacular fashion as Clark (21) was run out by Ackermann. The fielder hit the stumps with a sharp piece of work; a direct hit after Trevaskis called his teammate for a quick single.

That was the final wicket the Foxes took in a successful second session having taken four wickets for 104 runs as Durham entered tea at 413 for six.

The Foxes came back out in the final session of the day looking to reproduce their second session performance, however, a 103-run partnership between Trevaskis (64) and Eckersley (47no) extended the lead.

When their wicket finally fell, as Trevaskis was caught deep in the field out to long on by a sliding Horton from the bowling of Gavin Griffiths, every man on the field followed the youngster off the pitch.

The Foxes had a testing 20-over period and came through it with limited damage.

Despite some spots of rain, play got underway as scheduled and no overs were lost in the day as Horton and Azad approached the crease to open the second innings for the Foxes who were chasing 393 for the win.

The openers raced away at the beginning of their innings, posting 24 from the first five overs with both looking confident and hitting boundaries between them.

The run rate slowed slightly in the next five overs with the Foxes at 38 without loss. Captain Horton was leading the way on 28no (6x4), and his partner Azad was at 10no (1x4).

With just six overs to go until the end of the day, with their sights set on the first target of seeing the day out without loss, Leicestershire lost CCC their captain.

It was a brilliant catch by Eckersley low down to his right as the ball just carried from Rimmington’s delivery, and Horton had gone after scoring 30 from just 47 balls.

Wright emerged from the pavilion to assume his familiar role of nightwatchman and joined Azad at the crease.

Wright fulfilled his task of seeing his stand through to the fourth and final day successfully and rounded off the third day in wonderful style – hitting Rimmington back down the wicket for his second boundary of the day.

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.