Foxes take control against Gloucs

DAY 2 | Leicestershire CCC 487 v Gloucestershire CCC 41 for three

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | An excellent all-round performance put Leicestershire CCC in the box seat on the second day against Gloucestershire CCC at the Fischer County Ground.

Leicestershire CCC ended their first innings at 487, with Colin Ackermann (56no) and Lewis Hill (44) building on the excellent first day’s work by Neil Dexter (180) and Hassan Azad (137).

The Foxes then enjoyed a superb beginning to Gloucestershire CCC’s innings as Muhammad Abbas spearheaded the attack with figures of three for ten from seven overs.

Rain eventually had the final say as the players were brought off twice before by the umpires, before the weather indefinitely ended play with the visitors at 41 for three – still 297 short of the follow-on target.

After a superb first day at the crease for Leicestershire CCC, day two was about earning their fourth and fifth batting points of the contest.

The fourth was only a matter of seven runs away, but the fifth was always going to be challenging given there were only 14 overs left where bonus points are available.

With the majority of the lower order already having lost their wickets and Chris Wright still in bat, the Foxes had a decision to make ahead of the 11 o’clock start as the likes of Harry Dearden and Hill were waiting in the wings.

Ackermann was the other unbeaten batsman going into the second day with David Payne opening the bowling for the visitors.

Similarly to the first day, it took 19 balls for a wicket to fall and it was that of the original nightwatchman, Wright (6).

He nicked Chadd Sayers’ delivery through to Benny Howell at first slip who did not need to move an inch to make the catch.

Wright had fulfilled his task of seeing his innings through to the second day, and Dearden came in at an unfamiliar position of number eight.

Ackermann and Dearden played confidently, placing their shots to the boundary all around the outfield, but fell short of the total after 110 overs by 20 runs. Gloucestershire CCC failed to reach maximum bowling points.

Dearden (21) was the next Leicestershire man to make the walk back having being caught behind by Roderick, who was taking his fifth catch of the game. It was the third from the bowling of Yorkshire loanee Josh Shaw.

Hill came it at nine for the Foxes and soon picked up the run-rate having a strike rate of over 100 after 13 balls, hitting three quick fours.

The Foxes were approaching the 450-run mark as lunch arrived with Ackermann remaining at the crease alongside Hill. Leicestershire CCC took lunch at 441 for seven.

As the second session got back underway, Hill was on target for a quickfire half-century as he entered the forties with a single. However, Hill was out for 44 (57b) as he looked for a big pull down to square-leg from the bowling of Payne, but Graeme van Buuren was on the rope to take the catch.

Ackermann then went on to become the Foxes’ third batsman to pass 50, reaching the landmark off 101 balls including five fours.

At this point, a declaration must have been in the Leicestershire CCC minds, but the 500-run mark was in sight.

The Foxes were soon on their last partnership of the innings following the dismissal of Dieter Klein. He was trapped lbw by Shaw for 12 and Muhammad Abbas made his way down the stairs of the pavilion.

However, Leicestershire CCC did not quite manage to reach the 500-run mark as slow left armer Chris Dent bowled Abbas (0) in his first over.

When the visitors began their reply, however, Abbas responded in kind. Swinging the ball away from the visitors’ left-handed opening pair, the Pakistan international repeatedly beat the bat before Miles Hammond finally edged a catch through to Hill behind the stumps.

James Bracey too was beaten on several occasions and will have been a relieved man when some gentle rain caused tea to be taken with 41.3 overs still potentially remaining.

An early tea was taken during the ninth over as the rain began to fall lightly over Grace Road with Gloucestershire at 16 for one. Only nine deliveries were bowled after tea before the players were brought off the field as the rain grew heavier.

However, the nine balls that were sent down were pivotal in this fixture as Abbas took two extra wickets – and sat on a hat-trick as the players came off.

His second victim of the day was Bracey (4), trapped lbw for four, and then Gareth Roderick (0) who was unfortunate enough to be dismissed first ball after nicking Abbas’ delivery through to Hill, who caught his second of the day.

As the players left the field, Gloucestershire were struggling at 16 for three. The players re-emerged and the focus – not for the first time – was on Abbas as he prepared to bowl what could be his hat-trick with a new batsman at the crease in Howell.

County’s field was certainly set up for him to take his hat-trick with five slips, but Howell managed to defend stoutly.

Moments later, the rain came in harsher, which prompted umpires Ben Debenham and Paul Pollard to take the players off the pitch once again and signal for the covers to come back for what would be the final time.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 7-3-10-3, Wright 4-1-7-0, Klein 3-1-24-0. 

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

Gloucestershire CCC | Dent (capt), Hammond, Bracey, Roderick (wk), Howell, J Taylor, Higgins, van Buuren, Payne, Sayers, Shaw.

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