Foxes beat Lancashire in dramatic style
DAY FOUR | Lancashire CCC 322 & 236 v Leicestershire 409 for 8 dec. & 150 for 3
POINTS | Lancashire 4, Leicestershire 22
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
REPORT | The final day got underway at Blackfinch New Road in cooler conditions than the previous three days, with an overcast sky above giving the Leicestershire bowlers more reason to be optimistic about the final day’s play.
The Running Foxes were looking to break the partnership of Dane Vilas and Rob Jones as soon as possible and it was Chris Wright who got the final day up and running with Vilas on strike.
Wright’s second over the day saw the Running Foxes make the breakthrough that they were after his in-swinging delivery looped up of Rob Jones’ (16) inside edge. George Rhodes, who was stood at mid-wicket initially, made up the ground superbly to eventually take the catch at short leg.
The experienced partnership of Dane Vilas and Steven Croft was then back at the crease and proved to be a thorn in the Leicestershire side once again.
In similar fashion to their first innings partnership, they somewhat stemmed the tide from the Running Foxes as they slowed the play down in the first session.
They brought up their fifty partnership as the lunch break loomed with Vilas setting his sights on his own half-century.
However, Parkinson – who had bowled beautifully all game – stepped up to claim the huge wicket of Vilas minutes before lunch.
The Lancashire captain chopped on to his own stumps looking to cut the delivery away through the off-side, and the fixture took another huge twist in proceedings.
The crucial partnership of Vilas (43) and Croft was broken, and Leicestershire headed into the lunch break buoyant.
The second session got underway with a maiden from Parkinson, and his form continued deeper into his stint in the attack.
He had threatened multiple times before, but it took a beauty of a delivery to dismiss George Balderson after he turned it back into the batsman after coming around the wicket and pinned him lbw for four.
Lancashire were now 163 for six and Leicestershire were piling on the pressure.
In came Danny Lamb to join Steven Croft at the crease and the partnership proved a tough one to break as it took until the final ball of the afternoon session to claim Lancashire’s seventh wicket.
Ben Mike made the breakthrough as he tested Lamb (19) with a wicked delivery, full of length which went on through to strike the batsman’s back foot as he was pinned lbw.
Tea then proceeded with Leicestershire needing three more wickets – Steven Croft was still in the contest for Lancashire, sitting on a resolute 45 from 152 balls. Lancashire were 206 for seven.
Ben Mike came out to complete his over after tea, and suddenly found himself bowling a hat-trick ball.
His first delivery in the final session saw the new batsman; Tom Bailey, edge the leg-side delivery through to wicket-keeper Harry Swindells who dived acrobatically to his right to take a wonderful one-handed catch.
Tom Hartley was the batsman to face the hat-trick ball, but Mike’s delivery went on through to ‘keeper Swindells after Hartley played and missed. Lancashire were now 206 for eight.
Steven Croft then brought up his half-century as he continued to remain at the crease – the fifty came from 162 balls, including seven fours.
Colin Ackermann entered the attack and chimed in with the ninth wicket – his first of the innings.
Tom Hartley was the victim as the batsman took a long stride down the wicket to defend the South African’s delivery, but it nipped back in and struck his back leg as he was trapped lbw for five.
Ed Moulton joined Steven Croft to form the final wicket for Lancashire in the contest as the duo looked to hold off the Leicestershire attack for as long possible.
Moulton, though, only managed 14 minutes before falling victim to Ben Mike as the bowler claimed his fourth of the innings.
Mike delivered a wonderful ball full of length which swung to the leg side stump and trapped Moulton (0) who picked up his second duck of the game.
The last time a Lancashire player earned themselves a pair on debut was David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd against Middlesex back in 1965.
The man not-out was Steven Croft who played an incredible innings to try and see his team through. He finished on 52no after facing 185 deliveries.
Lancashire finished on 236 taking their total for the game to 558, leaving Leicestershire 150 runs shy of an opening round win.
The Leicestershire players quickly exited the pitch as they had 17 overs of play remaining to reach the total of 150 required.
There was a shake up in the batting line-up for the Foxes as George Rhodes partnered Ben Slater at the crease for the beginning of Leicestershire’s innings.
Rhodes (8) started brightly with an early boundary off Bailey, but one wasn’t enough. The former-Worcestershire man looked for back-to-back boundaries but could only pick out Rob Jones who slid brilliantly to take the low catch.
Leicestershire were 16 for one after 2.3 overs as captain Colin Ackermann joined Slater at the crease.
Ackermann came out and hit Bailey for a boundary off his first ball, and this really set the tone to the magnificent innings put together by the skipper.
Further boundaries followed from both batsmen including a huge six from Slater as he hit Bailey back over his head – reminiscent of his back-to-back maximums in the first innings.
The partnership stuttered somewhat following that after some tight bowling from Hartley and Bailey, and soon, Leicestershire were two down.
Slater (25) was the wicket as Lancashire captain Dane Vilas came to the fore with a superb catch taken whilst diving forward as Slater looked to go big from Bailey’s full toss.
Leicestershire were 62 for two after 8.1 overs and the match hung in the balance.
Harry Dearden came to the crease to partner Ackermann who currently sat on 26 from 18.
Ackermann was dragging the Running Foxes through the 17 overs with at least a boundary each over as Dearden looked to get in.
The South African was exhausting his skill set as he looked to penetrate the wall of Lancashire white that stood on the boundary, and did so with ease at times as he hit Bailey for three consecutive fours to finish off the eleventh over.
Soon enough though, the former-Lancashire man was seeing it big. Dearden came alive in the thirteenth over as he earned his first boundary after hitting Lamb straight back over his head for a huge six. But one wasn’t enough. He did it again the following ball.
The following over, bowled by Hartley, saw Dearden hit the Lancashire debutant for four. Then six. Then four again and it was at this point that match really began to turn in Leicestershire’s favour.
The Foxes were in a position heading into the final three overs where they could surpass Lancashire with singles. However, Dearden felt differently.
Lamb came back after being hit for consecutive maximums by Dearden the over prior to exact revenge. Dearden looked to crack Lamb back down the wicket for another boundary, but Lamb’s reactions were superb as he caught Dearden low between his legs.
Dearden’s wicket fell for 33 off 18, but the Foxes were in a commanding position.
Meanwhile, captain Ackermann was ticking along nicely after picking up his second half-century of the game from 28 balls, including seven fours and one six.
Tom Taylor came to the crease following Dearden’s dismissal as Leicestershire finally had some breathing space.
Eight runs from the fifteenth meant the Running Foxes needed 10 from 18. Ackermann hit a couple of fours to accelerate the scoring once again, and Taylor hit the winning runs with his only four of the innings as he sent Tom Bailey through mid-wicket and over the rope.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club had recorded a famous victory against Lancashire County Cricket Club in dramatic fashion.
A beauty of an innings from captain Colin Ackermann saw him finish on 73no from 41, alongside the match winner Tom Taylor who finished on 6no from four.
The Running Foxes won with eight balls to spare as they leave Worcestershire victorious, and top of the table after the opening round of fixtures. There’s something familiar about that.
Figures (2nd inns) | Taylor 20-9-40-0, Wright 21-11-39-2, Parkinson 25-14-30-3, Mike 17.1-3-39-4, Klein 19-3-54-0, Ackermann 7-5-6-1
Figures (2nd inns) | Bailey 6.4-0-63-2, Moulton 2-0-16-0, Hartley 5-0-43-0, Lamb 2-0-23-1
TEAM | Hassan Azad, Ben Slater, Harry Dearden, Colin Ackermann (c), George Rhodes, Harry Swindells (wk), Tom Taylor, Ben Mike, Callum Parkinson, Dieter Klein, Chris Wright.
Lancashire CCC | Alex Davies (wk), Keaton Jennings, Josh Bohannon, Rob Jones, Dane Vilas (c), Steven Croft, Danny Lamb, George Balderson, Tom Bailey, Tom Hartley, Ed Moulton.
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.