Abbas shines in Northants draw

DAY 4 | Northamptonshire CCC 299 & 206 for six declared drew with Leicestershire CCC 293

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

POINTS | Northamptonshire CCC 10 points, Leicestershire CCC 10 points

REACTION | Head Coach Paul Nixon spoke to Foxes TV after the draw at Wantage Road. You can watch the full interview HERE.

REPORT | Muhammad Abbas was again in terrific form but ultimately time ran out in the rain-affected Specsavers County Championship game at Northamptonshire CCC, meaning the sides took 10 points apiece from the contest.

Regularly beating both the outside and inside edge, Abbas picked up three for 39 from 12 superb overs, taking his seasonal competition haul to 22 at 20.27 apiece.

However, a half-century from Temba Bavuma, coupled with another battling effort from home captain Alex Wakely, ensured Northants CCC got through the day and declared at 206 for six in their second innings.

Matt Coles previously had a hand in all three wickets to fall as Leicestershire CCC were dismissed for 293 in their first innings.

Temba Bavuma top-scored for Northamptonshire with 68 as the home side declared on 206 for six as the clock struck ten minutes to five.

The sun made an appearance on the fourth and final day of Specsavers County Championship at Wantage Road as Leicestershire CCC continued their first innings at 273 for seven.

Lewis Hill (14) and Chris Wright (0) were at the crease as the Foxes looked to knock off the remaining 26 runs left of Northamptonshire’s lead.

The day got off to a bad start for the Foxes with Hill’s wicket being claimed only five deliveries in. He outside edged the delivery of Coles through to wicket-keeper Adam Rossington, who took the catch to dismiss his opposite number.

Will Davis (10no) came in to replace Hill and was soon welcoming a new partner at the crease as Wright (1) was pinned flush lbw by Coles, who claimed his second wicket in quick succession.

No. 11 Muhammad Abbas came to the crease as the Foxes sat 23 runs shy of Northamptonshire’s first innings score and a further run short of a third batting bonus point.

The third batting point was in sight for Leicestershire as Davis and Abbas moved the score 10 runs shy of the 300-run mark with 10 overs left until the 110 overs had been played out.

The Foxes though, similarly to Northamptonshire CCC, fell agonisingly short of the 300-run mark.

Abbas’ wicket was the final one to fall as a superb catch from Coles, diving low to his right at fourth slip, accounted for the batsman, who was looking to dab Ben Sanderson’s delivery down to third man.

The Pakistan international then immediately got things off to a flier as Northamptonshire CCC opened their second innings.

It took the seamer only one ball to claim the first wicket of the second innings as Rob Newton (0) edged to Colin Ackermann at second slip.

Alex Wakely came in to replace Newton, and Abbas immediately had an appeal for leg before as he continued to ask lots of questions.

Ten overs in and Abbas had his second with the aid of Hassan Azad, now affecting the game from the field after starring with the bat.

Abbas delivered to Vasconcelos (12) with the batsman flicking it out to the leg-side. He got it no further than Azad, who was on hand at short-leg to grab the ball at the second time of asking.

Azad had been close to being in on the action from the bowling of Abbas before the catch - and again after it. Wakely previously steered a ball down to long-leg and although ultimately it landed a fair distance from Azad, had the ball come off a thicker inside edge, it could have gone anywhere.

Bavuma also flicked one just out of reach before Wakely was counting his lucky stars after a strong shot fully off the bat face flew just beyond the grasp of the man under the lid.

The batsman earned himself two runs but it is fair to say he too could have lost his wicket during an outstanding seven-over burst with the new ball that saw Abbas yield two for 19.

Lunch arrived with Northamptonshire CCC at 44 for two. The day was in danger of petering out after the break with Wakely and Bavuma putting on a solid partnership of 69. But 50 minutes into the session, Abbas struck again and certainly gave the tie a bit more life.

This time it was Wakely (46) who was the victim as he was pinned right in front by Abbas, with the ball hitting him below the knee and in-between middle and off. He was on his way even before umpire Rob White raised his finger.

Chris Wright claimed the next wicket - his first of the innings - as captain Paul Horton reacted quickly to grab an outside edge from Rob Keogh (7) low down to his right.

But time was now running out for the Foxes. The tea interval came came with Northamptonshire CCC looking in a comfortable position of 150 for four.

The current partnership of Bavuma and Rossington had reached 42 with the former having reached his first Northamptonshire CCC half-century from nine innings.

County came back out for the final session of the quickly taking the wickets of Rossington and Bavuma in quick succession.

Ackermann opened the third session as the Foxes turned to spin for the first time in this innings and took only 19 balls to take a wicket as Rossington (19) took a few steps down the wicket, missed his shot and left Hill with a simple leg-side stumping.

Seven balls later, Bavuma (68) was joining his captain back in the pavilion. The South Africa international was caught a deep backward square by Azad from Dieter Klein's bowling.

The home side then went on to surpass the 200-run mark, but not by much, as captains Rossington and Horton shook hands on a draw at 4.50pm with Northamptonshire CCC declaring at 206 for six.

The game could have been a classic had the second day not been lost to the elements, but it was not to be, and Leicestershire CCC ultimately had to settle for a fifth draw in their last six outings.

County now have a few days without a game before returning to action against Durham CCC on Sunday, July 7th at the Fischer County Ground (11am start).

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 21.5-8-49-3, Wright 23-6-78-4, Davis 19-4-47-2, Dexter 11-4-47-0, Klein 14-0-74-1, Ackermann 2-1-2-0.

FIGURES (2nd Inns) | Wright 15-2-39-1, Abbas 12-3-39-3, Dexter 10-3-23-0, Davis 7-2-29-0, Klein 10-1-60-1, Ackermann 4-1-14-1.

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

Northamptonshire CCC | Rossington (capt and wk), Newton, Vasconcelos, Wakely, Bavuma, Keogh, Procter, Hutton, Coles, Buck, Sanderson.

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