Foxes battle on into day four

DAY 3 | Lancashire CCC 449 v Leicestershire CCC 288 & five for one

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Mark Cosgrove spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Dieter Klein and Mark Cosgrove led the way as Leicestershire CCC fought hard on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship game against leaders Lancashire CCC.

Klein shared 119 for the eighth wicket with Callum Parkinson who, like debutant Harry Swindells, contributed 37 valuable runs to the Foxes’ first innings cause.

Cosgrove had earlier scored 70 as the Foxes recovered from 17 for three and 82 for five to reach 269 for seven at one point, which looked like being enough to avoid the follow-on.

But the wicket of Klein for an innings high of 87 proved decisive and Leicestershire CCC were ultimately dismissed for 288, meaning they were indeed asked to bat again.

And the hosts dismissed nightwatchman Chris Wright before the close as County went to stumps at five for one in their second innings

After rain interrupted play in day two, the Foxes managed to get their first innings underway at the crease with captain Paul Horton and Hassan Azad forming the opening partnership.

Azad has normally been coming in one down so far during the Specsavers County Championship season, but was promoted with Neil Dexter to come at No.3.

With the Foxes responding to a score of 449 from the first innings, and with the forecast for the third day looking a lot more like the first day than the second, a good start was key to staying in this fixture.

However, the experienced Graham Onions had different ideas as Azad (4) was pinned lbw in the fourth over.

Dexter (1) was then caught at first slip by Keaton Jennings following an outside edge from the bowling of Tom Bailey, and the Foxes were two wickets down within the first seven overs with under half an hour played.

Captain Horton was next to depart following an impressive piece of cricket from Bailey. Horton (11) got an inside edge of the ball to avoid the lbw, but the ball ballooned up off his pads and Bailey pounced forward to make a diving catch.

The Foxes had a reprieve in the fifteenth over after Liam Livingstone dropped Colin Ackermann at second slip from the bowling of Richard Gleeson – a wicket that was already pivotal had now grown in importance.

Ackermann scored an extra seven runs but was then caught behind by Dane Vilas from the bowling of Gleeson. Ackermann (17) and Cosgrove briefly steadied the ship for the Foxes putting on a 44-run partnership.

The Foxes lunched at 1.10pm due to the lost overs in day two and looked to be going in at 82 for four with Cosgrove having made a crucial 46 not out, including a few trademark strokes through cover and backward point.

But Harry Dearden (2) was dismissed from the final ball of the last over before the interval, caught by Jennings from the bowling of Livingstone.

Swindells came back out with Cosgrove for the second session of the day as he made his first-class batting bow.

Swindells came in and looked as assured at the crease as he did with the gloves, playing his way through the first hour where he made 26 runs and put on an important 50-run partnership with Cosgrove.

Cosgrove went on to make his season highest haul of 70 before being dismissed lbw from the bowling of Onions.

Leicestershire CCC sat at 132 for six and were looking for another partnership as they aimed to chisel away at the deficit.

As the 150 came up for the Foxes, that spelled the end of Swindells’ maiden first-class innings at 37 as Jennings latched on to his defensive shot and caught the ball just before it bounced at short-leg as Livingstone claimed his second wicket.

Tea came with Klein and Parkinson at the crease with the duo putting on a stand of 40 from 39 minutes. The Foxes were at 190 for seven and continued to battle in the evening session.

The alliance of Klein and Parkinson went from strength to strength during the third and final session of day three with Klein bringing up his half-century in 71 deliveries. Their partnership surpassed the 100 mark, and alongside that, the Foxes also earned their first two batting bonus points of the game.

However, as they say, all good things have to come to an end and the eighth wicket fell with the score at 269. Parkinson (37) was pinned lbw by Gleeson but this partnership had got the Foxes right back into this game.

Klein posted the highest score in the Specsavers County Championship by a Fox this season, but he was also trapped leg before by Gleeson to end a stellar innings.

It was one of good defence, careful accumulation, and the willingness to send eight balls to the boundary, with a number of fine strokes either side of the wicket against both seam and spin.

The shift Klein put in at the crease left Wright (9no) and Muhammad Abbas needing 12 runs between them to get the Foxes to the 300-run mark, which would ensure that the follow-on was avoided.

However, Abbas (0) was caught behind by Vilas off an outside edge from the bowling of paceman Gleeson, who claimed his fourth of the day.

Horton came out accompanied by Wright and ended the first innings not out and their target would be to see out the final four overs of the third day.

However, Wright played on to his own stumps from the bowling of Onions. In Wright’s place came Parkinson, who now took on the role of nightwatchman for the Foxes.

Parkinson came in and saw out the remaining three overs as the Foxes head into day four trailing Lancashire CCC by 156 runs with nine second innings wickets remaining.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 27-3-93-2, Wright 30-2-117-2, Klein 26.3-5-89-3, Dexter 22-6-69-1, Parkinson 11-0-51-1, Ackermann 3-0-17-0.

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

Lancashire CCC | Jennings, Hameed, Davies, Livingstone, Croft, Lehmann, Vilas (capt & wk), Jones, Bohannon, Parry, Bailey.

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