Specavers County Championship - 17 June 2019
Venue: The Fischer County Ground, Grace Road
Gloucestershire v Leicestershire
Gloucestershire take 12 points from their contest with Leicestershire after four days of splendid batting from both sides ended in a draw.
The start of the day had seen Ryan Higgins, having resumed on a first-class career best 196, bowled by Chris Wright for 199, the ball moving back in to beat the right-hander’s forward defensive to hit off-stump.
Graeme Van Buuren also went bowled by an in-swinger, in his case delivered by Dieter Klein, and the South African left-arm seamer also picked up the last two wickets of the Gloucestershire first innings, trapping Josh Shaw in front before bowling Chad Sayers.
Gloucestershire had compiled a mammoth 571 in their first innings, but Leicestershire openers Horton and Azad went through the afternoon and evening sessions without being parted, both scoring unbeaten centuries before the players shook hands at ten to five.
Head Coach Richard Dawson said
"We'd hoped to get a bit of a lead and then see if the scoreboard pressure might help us get them on the back foot a bit but it didn't work out that way. Ryan was obviously disappointed, but it was back to back hundreds for him and the third of the season so hopefully he'll keep doing what he's doing. it was a great effort and he's been outstanding since he came to us.
There's still plenty of cricket to be played this season, and if we keep playing hard and getting ourselves into good positions in games we can hopefully start converting some of the good draws into wins."
It was the second century of the match for Azad, who became the first Leicestershire player to achieve the feat since Ned Eckersley against Derbyshire in 2013.
The visitors needed early wickets to put their opponents under pressure in their second innings, but the writing was on the wall when they were unable to part Azad and Horton in the nine overs available to them before lunch.
Gloucestershire remain one of the three unbeaten teams in Division Two of the Specsavers County Championship. They now sit in fifth in the standings with a game in hand on three of the four teams ahead of them.
A partnership of 318 between Ryan Higgins and Chris Dent for the sixth wicket saw Gloucestershire overhaul Leicestershire’s imposing first innings score in their Specsavers County Championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.
It was the second partnership of over 300 in the match, and came within two runs of matching the 320 put on by Hassan Azad and Neil Dexter for Leicestershire’s second wicket earlier in the game.
Dent, who hit 176, and Higgins, who was on a first-class career-best 196 not out at the close of play, came together with Gloucestershire in trouble on 131-5 shortly before lunch.
They had resumed on 41-3, needing 338 to avoid being asked to bat again. Dent and Benny Howell extended their fourth wicket partnership to 77 before Howell, having gone to his 50 off 70 balls, pushed forward to Chris Wright and edged to Colin Ackermann at second slip.
Taylor scored only five before being bowled by Will Davis, a full delivery that swung in and took a slight inside edge, and Dent, having gone to his 50 off 100 balls may have been fortunate to survive a concerted leg before appeal on 52: thereafter, however, neither he nor Higgins gave a chance as they set about a tiring Leicestershire attack on a pitch that flattened as the day went on.
Dent’s 100 came off 204 balls, Higgins’ off 139, and having left the county’s previous sixth wicket record against Leicestershire of 153 set in 1931 well behind, both men galloped past 150, bringing up the 300 partnership off 65.2 overs at a run rate of 4.58 runs per over.
Ryan Higgins said, “I came in at quite a good time, because Chris and Benny did a lot of hard work in the morning against their attack when the ball was still new and the bowlers were fresh.
Denty was keeping me calm and composed, and as the innings went on i tried to go through the gears. If we score well tomorrow morning, we'll look at where the match is and maybe look to get them back in. I can be a bit nervy, but I'll sleep well - I'm pretty tired!"
Leicestershire finally broke the partnership when Dent swung and missed at a straight delivery from Dieter Klein, having faced 311 balls and hit 25 fours and a six, but Higgins kept going, and was closing in on a maiden double century when an extended day finally came to a close.
Mohammad Abbas took three quick wickets before rain caused play to end early after Gloucestershire had begun their reply to a formidable Leicestershire first innings on the second day of the Specsavers county championship match at the Fischer County Ground.
Abbas, moving the ball prodigiously through the air and off the pitch, dismissed Miles Hammond caught behind, James Bracey leg before and Gareth Roderick caught behind before the weather closed in, leaving the Pakistan international with 3-10 from seven overs.
Resuming on 343-5, Gloucestershire got off to a quick start again thanks to the bowling of Chadd Sayers. the Foxes had quickly lost nightwatchman Chris Wright, driving at a delivery from Sayers and edging a straightforward catch to Benny Howell at first slip.
Harry Dearden joined Colin Ackermann in compiling a partnership of 46 for the seventh wicket before Dearden was also caught off an edged drive, this time by Roderick off the bowling of Josh Shaw, a fifth catch in the innings for the Gloucestershire wicket-keeper.
Lewis Hill was busy for the Foxes when he came in, hitting seven boundaries before hooking a David Payne bouncer into the hands of Graeme Van Buuren at deep backward square. Shaw then dismissed Klein leg before and last man Mohammad Abbas didn’t last long as Chris Dent bowled him out in his first over.
When Gloucestershire began their reply, however, Abbas responded in kind. Swinging the ball away from the visitors’ left-handed opening pair, the Pakistan international repeatedly beat the bat before Hammond finally edged a catch through to Hill behind the stumps.
Bracey was dismissed leg before by the same man, and Roderick went first ball to an Abbas delivery which bounced and took the edge.
Benny Howell joined Dent at the crease earlier than he would have hoped for but he started well, reaching 16 off 20 balls with three boundaries. "It was moving around a bit there and Mohammad Abbas is a class bowler. We’ll need to get through potentially a tough period tomorrow, but if we can do that we can go on and bat long" he said.
Gloucestershire finished the day on 41/3, trailing Leicestershire by 446 runs.
A partnership of 320, a first-class record for the county’s second wicket, between Neil Dexter and Hassan Azad put Leicestershire in a strong position after the Foxes had been put in to bat by Gloucestershire in the Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County Ground.
Dexter’s 180 was a career-best for the 34-year-old, coming in his 261st first-class innings: Azad’s 137 a first championship century for the 25-year-old, in only his seventh championship match.
Gloucestershire captain Chris Dent’s decision to exercise the away team’s prerogative to bowl first was not an entirely unreasonable one, given the amount of rain that had fallen in the East Midlands over the previous week, but the pitch, though slightly tinged with green, looked to be a good one, and played that way.
The Foxes did lose Paul Horton early, Chadd Sayers picking up his first wicket for Gloucestershire with an out-swinging delivery that Horton edged, wicket-keeper Gareth Roderick holding the catch diving to his right in front of first slip.
But with Azad playing solidly at the other end, Dexter went for his shots from the start, particularly off the front foot. Ryan Higgins was hit for four consecutive boundaries as the South African went to his 50 off just 57 deliveries.
The pair accelerated after lunch. Azad reached his 50 off 128 balls, and a few balls later, Dexter brought up his century, which included 19 boundaries, off 134 deliveries.
By tea they had comfortably beaten Leicestershire’s previous record second wicket partnership against Gloucestershire, 153 by Barry Dudleston and Chris Balderstone at Bristol in 1979.
The runs continued to flow after tea as the partnership passed Leicestershire’s previous championship second wicket record, 289*, set by Balderstone and David Gower against Essex in 1981, before – pleasingly - expunging their first-class second wicket record, set by Azad and Ateeq Javid against Loughborough MCCU at the start of this season.
David Payne found a good lifting delivery to make the long-awaited breakthrough, having Azad caught behind, before Dexter’s tired push at Shaw saw Roderick pick up a third victim. The wicket-keeper made it four out of four when Mark Cosgrove prodded at and edged another Shaw delivery, and shortly before the close nightwatchman Will Davis spooned a catch into the covers.
Gloucestershire elected to bowl.
Mohammad Azad | Paul Horton | Neil Dexter | Mark Cosgrove | Colin Ackermann | Harry Dearden | Lewis Hill | Dieter Klein | William Davis | Chris Wright | Mohammad Abbas |
Miles Hammond | Christopher Dent | James Bracey | Gareth Roderick | Benny Howell | Jack Taylor | Ryan Higgins | Graeme van Buuren | David Payne | Joshua Shaw | Chadd Sayers |
|Match Drawn||Leicestershire second innings|
|Leicestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Hassan Azad||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled David Payne||137||338||257||17||0|
|Paul Horton||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Chadd Sayers||0||13||6||0||0|
|Neil Dexter||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Josh Shaw||180||339||284||27||1|
|Chris Wright||Caught Benny Howell Bowled Chadd Sayers||6||48||32||1||0|
|Mark Cosgrove||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Josh Shaw||1||9||3||0||0|
|Will Davis||Caught Chris Dent Bowled Chadd Sayers||2||6||6||0||0|
|Colin Ackermann||Not Out||56||177||108||5||0|
|Harry Dearden||Caught Gareth Roderick Bowled Josh Shaw||21||68||56||3||0|
|Lewis Hill||Caught Graeme van Buuren Bowled David Payne||44||55||57||7||0|
|Dieter Klein||L.B.W. Josh Shaw||12||29||28||0||0|
|Mohammad Abbas||Bowled Chris Dent||0||6||8||0||0|
|Extras||5b 9lb 14nb 0p 0w||28|
Fall of wickets
|Graeme van Buuren||31||6||87||0|
|Gloucestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Miles Hammond||Caught Lewis Hill Bowled Mohammad Abbas||4||19||17||0||0|
|Chris Dent||Bowled Dieter Klein||176||432||311||25||1|
|James Bracey||L.B.W. Mohammad Abbas||4||17||11||1||0|
|Gareth Roderick||Caught Lewis Hill Bowled Mohammad Abbas||0||2||1||0||0|
|Benny Howell||Caught Colin Ackermann Bowled Chris Wright||52||80||71||10||0|
|Jack Taylor||Bowled Will Davis||5||50||34||0||0|
|Ryan Higgins||Bowled Chris Wright||199||307||257||25||1|
|Graeme van Buuren||Bowled Dieter Klein||43||73||53||7||0|
|David Payne||Not Out||18||65||58||3||0|
|Josh Shaw||L.B.W. Dieter Klein||9||16||13||1||0|
|Chadd Sayers||Bowled Dieter Klein||3||16||12||0||0|
|Extras||6b 20lb 32nb 0p 0w||58|
Fall of wickets
|Leicestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Hassan Azad||Not Out||100||208||170||10||0|
|Paul Horton||Not Out||100||208||171||13||0|
|Extras||4b 5lb 2nb 0p 0w||11|
Fall of wickets
|Graeme van Buuren||10||1||32||0|