County clash with Foxes remains in the balance

Olly Stone took 3-68 to help bowl out LeicestershireOlly Stone took 3-68 to help bowl out Leicestershire
Olly Stone took 3-68 to help bowl out Leicestershire
Northamptonshire’s seamers took five wickets in the second hour of play to bowl the visitors back into a match which ended the day finely balanced at Grace Road.

Leicestershire’s overnight batsmen Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley had batted without alarm in taking the Foxes’ first innings from 102-1 to 139 when Robson, on 75, cut at a rising delivery from David Willey and edged to Stephen Peters at first slip.

Eckersley edged an out-swinger from Olly Stone to Alex Wakely at second slip, before Willey bowled Neil Pinner for a duck off the inside edge, a well-pitched up delivery that swung back at the right-hander. Soon afterwards, Mark Cosgrove drove at a ball from Stone that left him off the pitch and edged a catch behind, and when Niall O’Brien went in the same way shortly before lunch, driving at a delivery from Mohammad Azharullah without getting to the pitch of the ball, Leicestershire had lost five wickets for just 37 runs.

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When Tom Wells went caught behind feeling for a wide delivery from Stone shortly after lunch, Leicestershire were still 50 runs adrift, but Clint McKay joined Ben Raine in compiling a partnership of 87 for the eighth wicket. Australian seamer McKay, making his first-class debut for the Foxes, hit five fours and one six in going to 47, but was caught at long-on by Willey off the bowling of Josh Cobb as he attempted to bring up his half-century with another maximum.

Raine also went for 47, hitting across the line at a slower delivery from Azharullah, and Charlie Shreck chipped Rory Kleinveldt straight into the hands of Richard Levi at midwicket to bring the innings to a close.

A first innings lead of 54 looked a useful one for Leicestershire, and it would have been even more so if the Foxes had not dropped three catches in the evening session. Stephen Peters was dropped twice, by Pinner at second slip and McKay at long leg, both times off Raine, in going to 50 before finally being held at gully by Robson off Shreck.

Richard Levi was also put down, by Robson off the unfortunate Raine on 17, before being held by Pinner at second slip off the same bowler for 20.