Gloucs move into the lead

DAY 3 | Leicestershire CCC 487 v Gloucestershire CCC 503 for six

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | To follow

REPORT | Chris Dent and Ryan Higgins shared the highest sixth wicket stand for Gloucestershire CCC against Leicestershire CCC as the batsmen continued to dominate the match at the Fischer County Ground.

Dent, who made 214no in the last Specsavers County Championship meeting between the two sides in Bristol towards the end of last season, posted 176 as the visitors moved past Leicestershire CCC’s 487 and closed at 503 for six.

Chris Wright, Will Davis and Dieter Klein took the wickets for the Foxes, who kept charging in all day and collected a second bowling point shortly before stumps. Muhammad Abbas again had exemplary figures of 25-11-48-3.

The duo of Dent and Higgins (196no) batted through the afternoon session without being parted and extended their sixth wicket partnership to 318, a record for the county against the Foxes.

With day two coming to a premature end as the rain descended on the Fischer County Ground yesterday, the third day got underway at 11.00am with revised timings to allow for 104 overs to be bowled.

Although conditions were still overcast, the Foxes had the momentum yesterday evening and Gloucestershire CCC benefitted from the opportunity to regroup.

Abbas opened the bowling from his preferred Bennett End as he looked to build on the wickets of Miles Hammond, James Bracey and Gareth Roderick.

Gloucestershire CCC resumed at 41 for three, and the partnership of Dent and Benny Howell was a useful start for what would prove to be a fruitful day for the visitors.

Dent played a vital innings, with boundaries coming mainly through cuts when the ball dropped short on the off-side, or strokes to the on-side whenever the bowlers looked to go straight.

The Foxes needed a breakthrough and got it the ball after Howell posted his half-century (71b, 10x4). Colin Ackermann was on hand to catch Howell (52) at second slip from the bowling of Wright to end a stand that had yielded 77.

Wright then nearly made it two wickets from three balls as Jack Taylor nicked one towards gully. Unfortunately, the chance was not grasped despite the fielder getting a left hand to it. It was one of three tough opportunities in the opening session as Dent (on 15) and Howell (on 31) also saw nicks go to safety.

The Foxes took one more wicket before the lunch interval, with Davis claiming his first of the game. The paceman bowled Taylor (5), who received a delivery that swung back sharply. The batsman could only play it on to his off stump.

Gloucestershire CCC lunched at 143 for five, and the second session was a frustrating one for the Foxes as the visitors got themselves well and truly back into the contest.

Dent moved into three figures off 204 balls having hit 16 boundaries along the way, while Higgins posted 50 off 87 deliveries. Higgins played strokes on either side of the wicket, and was a good foil for his captain, with the bowlers constantly having to revise their line and length.

Tea came at the revised time of 4.00pm with Gloucestershire CCC having made up a lot of ground in the second session as they were just 32 runs away from avoiding the follow-on at 306 for five.

Higgins soon joined his captain in earning himself a century from just 138 balls, his second consecutive Specsavers County Championship three-figure score.

The partnership, much like Neil Dexter and Hassan Azad, went from strength to strength, and reached the next milestone to earn Gloucestershire CCC the maximum amount of bonus batting points – something that Foxes had fallen just short of doing.

County managed to strike just before the 110-over mark though, just in time to claim their second bowling bonus point of the game. Klein made the breakthrough as captain Dent finally went for 176 after being clean bowled.

Higgins and Graeme van Buuren (20no) took the visitors past the 500-run mark on a day that had belonged to the batsmen.

The left-hander has now scored 853 runs in his last 12 Specsavers County Championship innings versus Leicestershire CCC at an average of 85.30 while former Middlesex CCC all-rounder Higgins moved in on a maiden first-class double-century.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 25-11-48-3, Wright 23-4-91-1, Klein 18-3-99-1, Davis 19-3-80-1, Dexter 18-1-87-0, Ackermann 13-0-69-0, Dearden 2-0-13-0.

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