Stephen Peters’ second century is as many games was the highlight on day one of the crunch County Championship clash with Leicestershire at the County Ground.
Peters, who took his first century of the campaign off Yorkshire last week, ground his way to an unbeaten 137 after the hosts had surprisingly been put into bat.
With a draw being of little use if a promotion challenge is to be maintained, the County have steered themselves into the decent position of 300-5 after a quarter of the contest.
On the evidence of the morning session – or afternoon if you like given that play didn’t start until midday – Josh Cobb’s decision to bowl first looked badly flawed.
There was a greenish hue to the surface which obviously swayed the Foxes’ brain trust but their arrived at choice wasn’t vindicated by their seam attack.
They didn’t dish up rubbish by any means but neither did they put the home openers, Stephen Peters and Niall O’Brien, under any sustained pressure and the result was a relatively trouble-free passage to 95-0 at the lunch break.
O’Brien, back in the side in place of the injured Kyle Coetzer and on more friendly terms with the new management team than he was with the former, was the more fluent of the pair with his favoured square cut and cover drive given ample opportunities to be practised.
At the other end, Peters was doing what Peters does, quietly and unobtrusively going about his business with the odd cuffed boundary for good measure.
If the opening couple of hours belonged to the County, the second two was dominated by the visitors who showed far more purpose and claimed their just rewards.
O’Brien had moved to 70 when he played a shot too many at Wayne White and was caught at the wicket from a flat-footed drive behind and two balls later David Sales edged a defensive push low to second slip and although he stood his ground, a quick conversation between the umpires had him sent on his way.
Alex Wakely deflected a drive in the direction of slip off Shiv Thakor and when the teenager hit a disgruntled Rob Newton in front, four wickets had fell for 35 in under an hour.
Andrew Hall arrived to steady the ship and he should’ve have departed in the over before tea but Michael Thornely, who had taken the two earlier chances, grassed this one after Clause Henderson had forced the error.
After tea, he pair were forced to work by a combination of White, who bowled a lengthy and tidy spell from the Wantage Road end, and Henderson, who generally gives little away, but progress was steady, especially for Peters who got to three figures with a back cut to the fence off the spinner.
The 100 partnership was brought up just before the new ball was taken and Hall got to his 50 and although the captain fell rather sloppily in the final over of the day when he drove casually at Nathan Buck, there is still scope for the hosts to push towards something more imposing on day two.