Leicestershire v Gloucestershire
Specsavers County Championship -
27 June 2016
Venue: The Fischer County Ground
Gloucestershire picked up maximum batting points after a dominant final day performance in the rain-hit Specsavers County Championship draw at the Fischer County Ground.
After losing a day and a half to the weather, the likelihood of a positive result was further diminished by a delay to the start of the day’s action. The outfield at the FCG, after being ravaged by rain for the best part of two days, was still sodden despite the best efforts of the County ground staff.
Play did eventually get underway at 1.10pm – the players having taken an early lunch – with Gloucestershire resuming their first innings on 69-0 in reply to Leicestershire’s 334 all out. Chris Dent and Graeme van Buuren went on to record centuries as Gloucestershire scored 403-2 declared.
Both sides went in search for bonus points that could be of pivotal importance come late-September with openers Gareth Roderick (23*) and Dent (34*) looking to kick on while the Foxes were hoping to chip away at the away side’s batting line-up.
Skipper Roderick began positively, flicking Neil Dexter away through mid-wicket for four from the first ball of the day, before surviving a lbw appeal from the next delivery.
Dent, meanwhile, would take advantage of a loose ball from Clint McKay in the following over to guide one away to the fine-leg boundary and score his first runs of the day.
Runs were beginning to flow more freely than they were for the pair on the truncated second day, Roderick driving McKay through extra cover, and Dent doing likewise through mid-on to move to 50. The gritty knock came from 101 balls, including eight fours.
Gloucestershire passed 100 in the 34th over with Roderick taking a single of the newly-introduced Charlie Shreck. Dent would continue his good start, playing attractively to reach the ropes on a regular basis, and the left-hander was playing with fluidity to march towards his century.
County skipper Mark Cosgrove looked to halt Dent and Roderick’s progress by introducing Richard Jones into the attack. The on-loan seamer produced a spell of quick and accurate bowling to pick up his first wicket since the Foxes acquired his services from neighbours Warwickshire, Roderick (46) edging a full delivery to Angus Robson at first slip.
It left Gloucestershire at 138-1 as the brakes were applied for a period, Jones’ five-over spell finishing shortly afterwards, yielding just 11 runs.
Gloucestershire, though, would pass through the 150 barrier in the 48th over, and the imperious Dent would find his stride again to drive McKay through covers in the 49th over.
The opener moved to within three of his ton by guiding a Rob Taylor delivery down over the ropes at third man, and would bring up his third century of the season in splendid fashion.
From the 163rd ball of his innings, Dent drove McKay back down the ground to record the 16th four of an innings that also included a maximum.
Gloucestershire, with Dent’s scoring salvo showing no sign of abating, passed 200 in the 56th over, the centurion hitting the off-spin of Aadil Ali straight down the ground for four, followed by the second six of his innings later in the over.
In tandem with Dent, van Buuren was steadily compiling runs of his own to move towards 50, breaching the boundary ropes frequently to find himself 41* from 61 at tea, with partner Dent 121*.
Gloucestershire left the field at 229-1 to leave them 171 runs shy of the 400 required with 39 overs remaining and nine wickets intact.
Dent and van Buuren would continue in the same vein on resumption, quickly bringing up the 100 partnership and putting the 250 runs required for the second batting point on the board.
Van Buuren, who has made an impressive start to his Gloucestershire career, turned Dexter away to the leg-side for a well-constructed 50 (82b) in the 68th over before Dent pulled Jones away for four in the next over to edge nearer his 150.
To reach the milestone he would have to survive both a run-out attempt by substitute fielder Sam Evans and a stumping chance in the 71st over, but he would pass the landmark when he lifted a Cosgrove delivery over mid-on in the 72nd (213 balls, 23×4, 2×6).
Gloucestershire secured their third bonus point when Dent hoisted a Dexter delivery over mid-on to run two and he and van Buuren looked set to propel their team to the full quota of bonus points as they continued to spray shots to all corners of the ground.
Dent would, however, depart lbw on the pull to Dexter soon after, his excellent 165 coming from 229 balls to leave Gloucestershire at 315-2 from 76.3 overs following an impressive 177-run partnership with van Buuren.
The number three batsman went on to take a single from Shreck in the 82nd over to record a sublime quick-fire century from 123 balls, featuring 13 fours and two sixes. He was joined at the crease by the big-hitting Australian Michael Klinger, who cleared the ropes with a huge shot over mid-wicket the ball after van Buuren reached three figures.
South African van Buuren (121*) and Klinger (45*) continued to push Gloucestershire towards 400, the latter blazing a Shreck delivery over mid-wicket and, in the 90th over, completed the task with the former flicking one away to the deep square leg boundary. It meant a continuation of fine form for the duo, who both average over 100 in the competition.
Gloucestershire’s fifth batting point took them to a 12-point return from the match, compared to County’s 8, to leave them sitting in third-place, one above Leicestershire who now have another important game in the competition at Worcestershire on Sunday.
Gloucestershire and Leicestershire were denied the opportunity to resume their battle of wills in the Specsavers County Championship when the third day’s play was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Heavy rain fell throughout the day and left the outfield sodden, so umpires Nigel Cowley and Steve Garratt were forced to abandon the day at 12.30pm. In an absorbing contest, the pendulum had been swinging back and forth between the two sides for much of the action, before heavy rainfall mid-way through the afternoon session on day two brought about an early finish with Gloucestershire at 69-0 in reply to the hosts’ 334 all out.
After a shaky start on the first day, losing Angus Robson in the first over and his opening colleague Paul Horton shortly afterwards, Leicestershire found themselves at 18-2. They would eventually manage to recover to post an overnight tally of 252-7, largely thanks to the staunch batting of all-rounder Neil Dexter (136), who shared in a century stand with skipper Mark Cosgrove (54) to pull County away from trouble.
Superb bowling from the Gloucestershire attack helped to limit the Foxes scoring, but regular wickets were at a premium for the away side as Dexter, along with Cosgrove and contributions from Aadil Ali (30) and Rob Taylor (21), dug in. Dexter finished the day on 107* having been joined at the crease by Clint McKay (8*) and the duo continued their good work the following morning . McKay unleashed a counter-attack, wielding his bat every which way possible to post a whirlwind half-century from just 47 balls, to allow Dexter to continue his controlled knock.
After the final wicket of Richard Jones (5), making his first appearance in a Leicestershire shirt since his arrival for a second loan spell at the FCG, who edged the impressive Liam Norwell (32.1-8-72-4) into the gloves of Gareth Roderick, Leicestershire had added 82 to their overnight total to post a competitive first-innings total.
In reply, Gloucestershire’s opening pair of Chris Dent and skipper Gareth Roderick were happy to frustrate the Leicestershire bowlers, playing patiently to see them through to lunch on 21 without loss (Dent 10*, Roderick 9*) from eight overs. Once play resumed, just a further 19.2 overs were managed before the heavens opened to leave the umpires with little choice but to call a premature end to the day’s action. Gloucestershire’s opening pair remained at the crease, Roderick moving on to an overnight score of 23* and Dent 34* to ensure Gloucestershire’s full compliment of wickets remained intact. The two teams, who have both made encouraging starts to the campaign, will now hope for better weather on the final day.
In-form Gloucestershire openers Gareth Roderick and Chris Dent had compiled an unbroken partnership of 69 when rain brought an early end to play with 48 overs remaining on the second day of their match against Leicestershire.
Dent, who came into the match having already scored 547 championship runs this season, hit five fours in going to 34. Roderick was undefeated on 23, though both batsmen were made to work hard for their runs by accurate bowling from the Leicestershire seam attack.
Earlier, an eighth wicket partnership of 86 between Neil Dexter and Clint McKay had seen the Foxes secure a third batting bonus point before being bowled out for 334.
Leicestershire had resumed on 252-7, and McKay, 8 not out overnight, immediately took the initiative by hitting David Payne’s first two deliveries to the off-side boundary. The Australian also hit two sixes, the first sweetly picked up over midwicket off Liam Norwell, the second straight over long-off off the bowling of Kieran Noema-Barnett, before going to his half-century off 47 balls.
Dexter, 107 not out overnight, was able to continue in the same vein, but having passed his previous best score of 131 for Leicestershire, drove at Norwell and edged to second slip where Chris Dent took a good catch diving to his right.
McKay was caught by Craig Miles running back from mid-on as he flat-batted a Norwell bouncer back over the bowler’s head, and the persevering Norwell picked up his fourth wicket of the innings when he had Richard Jones caught behind to end the Leicestershire first innings.
Gloucestershire captain Gareth Roderick: “In an ideal world we’d have rolled them over for less than 300, but some guys batted well and we didn’t hit our straps as well as we did yesterday.
“It’s now the job of the batters to get us back into the game. Every point counts with the way the table is shaping up, we’ve talked about that.
“The pitch is going to get a big more variable as the game goes on, so if we can get a big score we might be able to put them under pressure in their second innings.”
Gloucestershire traveled to The Fischer County Ground at Grace Road for their Specsavers County Championship match against Leicestershire, where the hosts finished the first day on 265-7.
A hard-working century from Neil Dexter, his second of the season, ensured Leicestershire finished the opening day of their Specsavers county championship match on reasonably level terms after being put in to bat by Gloucestershire.
The South Africa-born batsman batted almost through the entire day for the Foxes, coming in after opener Angus Robson was bowled by David Payne in the first over of the day.
Robson left a delivery which swung back in to knock his off-stump out of the ground, and Payne struck again soon afterwards, though Paul Horton looked less than impressed to be given out leg before.
At 18-2 Leicestershire were in trouble, but captain Mark Cosgrove, who has already scored two centuries this season, looked in good touch from the start, particularly in hitting Craig Miles for three fours in four balls.
Dexter played more cautiously, but with the pitch losing some of its early demons as the sun came out, he too began to prosper as Leicestershire went to lunch without further loss on 84-2.
Cosgrove went on to reach his half-century off 81 balls, but having done so lost patience and steered the gentle medium-pace of Kieran Noema-Barnett straight to Payne at mid-on. Mark Pettini then edged a lifting delivery from Liam Norwell to Gareth Roderick behind the stumps to leave the innings wobbling on 130-4.
Aadil Ali played solidly, though he did break the shackles by lifting the left-arm spin of Graeme van Buuren for a straight six, and the young batsman had added 58 for the fifth wicket with Dexter when he was bowled for 30 by Craig Miles, possibly beaten for pace as the ball seemed back in.
Ned Eckersley must have been mortified to go leg before playing no shot to Noema-Barnett as the new ball approached, but Dexter was seen to his century, made off 237 balls and including 12 fours, by Rob Taylor, before the left-hander too was dismissed by Noema-Barnett, leg before to an in-swinger shortly before the close.
Dexter was still there though, having faced 265 balls, and Leicestershire’s ambition will be to take their first innings score past 300 on a good pitch, but one which recent history at the ground suggests will offer variable bounce as the game goes on.
Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson:
“It was a tough day’s cricket, and Dexter obviously batted very well, but we stuck to our task, so it’s even stevens.
“We bowled well, there were a lot of plays and misses, but we stuck at it, kept it tight. There’s not that much pace in the wicket, which made scoring difficult if you put the ball in the right place, which we did.
“Kieran Noema-Barnett can be a useful bowler, he asks the question of the batsmen, makes them play, swings the ball a bit, and he did well. We have to get their last three wickets for as few runs possible and then play like Dexter did – spend time at the wicket, because it’s not easy to play on.”
Gloucestershire elected to bowl.
Paul Horton | Angus Robson | Neil Dexter | Mark Cosgrove | Mark Pettini | Aadil Ali | Edmund Eckersley | Robert Taylor | Clinton McKay | Richard Jones | Charlie Shreck |
Christopher Dent | Michael Klinger | Graeme van Buuren | Gareth Roderick | Hamish Marshall | Jack Taylor | Kieran Noema-Barnett | Benny Howell | Craig Miles | David Payne | Liam Norwell |