Azad leads way for Foxes again

DAY 3 | Leicestershire CCC 120 and 110 for four v Derbyshire CCC 139 & 214

SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE

REACTION | Leicestershire CCC wicket-keeper Lewis Hill spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps. The interview is available HERE

REPORT | Hassan Azad again led the way as the intriguing match between Leicestershire CCC and Derbyshire CCC was taken to the final day after rain wiped out the final session.

Dieter Klein claimed his 200th first-class wicket as Derbyshire CCC were bowled out for 214 to give the Foxes a target of 234.

Leicestershire CCC closed at 110 for four, so the equation is straightforward for both teams – the Foxes require a further 124 runs to win on the last day with six wickets in hand.

The match themes continued; the No.3 batsman top-scored for the fourth successive time, with Azad making an unbeaten 44 from 100 balls.

County's second innings wickets mirrored the first with Muhammad Abbas and Chris Wright taking three each, and Will Davis and Klein collecting two apiece.

And the Foxes will resume day four just as they started day two, with left-handed duo Azad and Harry Dearden at the wicket.

Leicestershire CCC took just under 15 overs to bowl the visitors out, who added 54 for their final two wickets.

The visitors got off to a positive start with overseas player Logan van Beek and fellow seamer Tony Palladino playing well for the first 7.4 overs as the batsmen saw Derbyshire gain a lead in excess of 200.

Abbas and Wright opened the bowling from the Bennett and Pavilion End respectively, and it was the latter that got the breakthrough during the eighth over as he trapped Palladino (11) lbw.

Left arm seamer Klein then teased van Beek (26) with a delivery which the batsman made a big swing for, but saw his leg stump fly out of the ground.

Derbyshire CCC finished with a second innings total of 214, giving Leicestershire CCC a run chase of 234 for the win.

Ateeq Javid got the Foxes off to a quick start after hitting Palladino for four on the final ball of the last over as Leicestershire embarked on their chase. The opener, though, was caught behind for 5 by Harvey Hosein from Palladino’s bowling.

Captain Paul Horton came out of the blocks quickly, hitting two boundaries in the same over from Rampaul. Horton (18) went on to strike another four during his stay at the crease before inside-edging Rampaul’s delivery on to his stumps.

Azad and Mark Cosgrove came to together and saw the Foxes through to the lunch interval. Following the interval, Azad and Cosgrove took Leicestershire CCC past the 50 mark, with the No.4 batsman playing some good strokes, including a booming drive through extra cover.

The off-spin of Madsen accounted for Cosgrove though, as we was caught at long-on by van Beek moments after a similar stroke had yielded four.

Leicestershire CCC were at 82 for three as Colin Ackermann walked to the crease. Alongside Azad, Ackerman saw the Foxes beyond the 100-run mark with his second boundary of the day.

A smart piece of bowling by Reece accounted for Ackermann (10) as he angled one back from around the wicket to hit the off stump.

Azad, similarly to the first innings, was fighting extremely hard, hitting one boundary in 100 watchful balls at the crease.

Dearden came in as Ackermann’s replacement and faced four balls before an early tea was taken - and with it came the rain. The players, who had been off since 3.40pm, were not to return as the conditions worsened throughout the afternoon.

So it will go to what promises to be an absorbing final day. The left-handed Azad remains undefeated having scored 90 from 207 balls in this match. He has spent 369 minutes compiling those vital runs, and will be looking for more of the same tomorrow.

FIGURES (1st inns) | Abbas 17-6-38-3, Wright 16-5-39-3, Klein 8.4-2-30-2, Davis 9-3-24-2.

FIGURES (2nd inns) | Abbas 22-6-58-3, Wright 23-5-71-3, Klein 14.5-2-36-2, Davis 13-4-40-2.

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

Derbyshire CCC | Godleman (capt), Reece, Madsen, Lace, Hughes, Hosein (wk), Critchley, Dal, van Beek, Palladino, Rampaul.

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

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