Northants dismissed for 299

DAY 1 | Northamptonshire CCC 299 v Leicestershire CCC 6-0

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Leicestershire CCC seamer Chris Wright spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Chris Wright claimed Leicestershire CCC best figures to help dismiss Northamptonshire CCC for 299 on the opening day at Wantage Road.

Leading wicket-taker Wright (four for 78) was backed up by the ever-excellent Muhammad Abbas, who conceded only 49 runs and picked up three wickets in 21.5 probing overs.

Will Davis (two) and Dieter Klein (one) were also among the wickets in a team effort, and County openers Hassan Azad and Paul Horton were both unbeaten on three as the team knocked six runs off the deficit before stumps.

The Foxes made the short trip to Northamptonshire CCC with a 14-man squad but ultimately opted for an unchanged XI that faced Gloucestershire CCC last week.

Upon arriving at Wantage Road, and after being hit by the heavy, humid Northamptonshire air, it was generally assumed that the Foxes would not contest the toss.

Lo and behold, captain Horton walked out to the wicket to greet umpires Billy Taylor and Neil Mallender and Northants captain Adam Rossington. He politely declined the chance to have the flick of a coin, and in doing so was confirming that Abbas would bowl the first over of the contest from the Wantage Road End.

With all eyes generally on the Pakistan international – it was his bowling partner Wright who made the early breakthrough for the Foxes.

The delivery from the former Warwickshire CCC man was superb, moving away off the seam to entice Northants batsman Rob Newton (5) into an outside edge that Colin Ackermann caught low at second slip.

In conditions that were testing for the batsmen, Ricardo Vasconcelos and Wakely dug in as the Foxes’ seamers bowled well. Wakely was quick to latch on to anything short, and also played with soft hands to negate the movement gained from the visiting attack.

With ten minutes to go until lunch, Leicestershire CCC were in need of another wicket to make the decision to bowl meaningful.

In came Davis to Vasconcelos, and the opening batsman nicked one towards Harry Dearden. The fielder was on hand on to dive and catch to see the batsman fall for a hard-working 25, after making a solid 53-run partnership with Wakely.

Lunch then came with the home side at 72 for two. The first bit of action in the second session of the day Northants No.3 batsman Wakely play his way to a measured half-century coming from 102 balls.

South Africa international Temba Bavuma was at the other end to Wakely and had been fortunate on the odd occasion having been dropped as well as playing and missing on occasion.

Eventually, though, his wicket claimed as the batsmen nicked Dieter Klein’s delivery and Lewis Hill saw it comfortably into his gloves, the batsman leaving with 20 to his name.

The Foxes had a different ball after 49 overs as an inspection from the umpires, using their gauge, deemed the ball unfit to use.

Soon after, and the Foxes had taken the crucial wicket of Wakely for 65. It was Abbas’ first of the day, and he owed thanks to Ackermann at second slip.

The ball flew between captain Horton and Ackermann, and it was going to take something special to pouch it. Ackermann was extremely alert to pluck the ball – which seemed to be on its way to the boundary – out of the air with his left hand.

Tea followed soon after with Northants placed at 163 for four. Wright got things up and running in the final session of the day by claiming the fifth wicket. It was Rob Keogh (34) who was the victim, after Wright trapped him in front.

Another key breakthrough arrived as Davis earned his second wicket of the day after clean bowling the Northamptonshire captain Adam Rossington (45), who looked to defend the delivery but it cannoned into his off stump.

It was a useful knock by the skipper, who found the boundary nine times in his 50-ball stay.

The ball after – Hutton’s first – could and possibly should have been a second wicket from as many balls for the young paceman, but an outside edge was not grasped in the cordon.

County then went on to take three quick wickets as they worked their way down through the home side's lower middle order.

Wright was to take the first of them, with the help of Hill, who held Procter (18). Then Abbas quickly followed this up by pinning Hutton lbw for 17.

Seamer Wright then took his fourth of the day as he swung a delivery towards the off stump which tempted Nathan Buck (5) into a shot. A thick outside edge was caught easily by Dearden at third slip, taking his second catch of the day.

Suddenly 210 for five had become 250 for nine with the second new ball helping Leicestershire CCC to claim three for seven in the space of 13 balls.

But Matt Coles, in his second match on loan from Essex, swung 41 in 34 balls including two mighty sixes - one over mid-wicket and the second over deep square - to almost claim a third batting bonus point.

The all-rounder was put down on the mid-wicket fence with the score at 265, one of a few opportunities that Leicestershire CCC would have wished they had taken during the day.

However, the team still achieved their objective of bowling out the hosts within the first day, which is always a good effort.

Abbas wrapped up the Northamptonshire CCC innings as he caught Ben Sanderson (8) from his own bowling after the batsman could only loop the Pakistan international’s delivery skyward.

The Foxes had three testing overs to bat out until the end of the first day and saw it out.

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.

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.

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