Bowlers dominate first day at Cheltenham
Gloucestershire 145 for 5 v Glamorgan 216
England and Wales Cricket Board pitch inspector David Hughes will take no action despite 15 wickets falling on the opening day of the County Championship tussle between Second Division promotion hopefuls Gloucestershire and Glamorgan at Cheltenham. Inserted beneath cloudy skies, Glamorgan suffered a spectacular collapse to 104 for 7 and were indebted to Mark Wallace and Robert Croft, who raised 105 for the eighth wicket to save their side from further embarrassment.
Gloucestershire's much-vaunted seam attack reasserted their authority to dismiss their Welsh neighbours for 216, a total considered to be around 50 below par on a green-tinged pitch. But when they came to bat, the home side fared little better, reaching the close on 145 for 5 to leave the contest evenly balanced. Overseas star James Franklin is unbeaten on 22 and much will depend on him when Gloucestershire resume their first innings 71 behind.
Alex Gidman's decision to insert Glamorgan on a green-tinged College Ground pitch was fully justified as Gloucestershire bowled the Welsh side out inside 53 overs. Convinced that the Tiflex ball would swing beneath low cloud cover, Gloucestershire's captain saw his seam bowlers rip through the Welsh top order during the morning session.
Openers Gareth Rees and Mark Cosgrove added 35 in eight overs, only for New Zealand Test allrounder Franklin to make in-roads, claiming two victims in as many overs from the College Lawn end. Rees aimed a loose drive at a ball which pitched outside off stump and was held by Gidman at first slip, while Tom Maynard was pinned lbw, hit on the back pad by an in-swinging delivery.
Typically forthright in his approach, Australian Cosgrove advanced to 41 with no apparent problems before surrendering his wicket cheaply, driving Gemaal Hussain straight to Jon Lewis at mid-off. His demise sparked a spectacular collapse, four batsmen succumbing inside nine calamitous overs as the visitors lurched from 74 for 2 to 89 for 6 in the face of a swinging ball.
Experienced campaigner Lewis got in on the act, trapping Ben Wright on the front foot for 17, while England A paceman Steve Kirby took two wickets in as many overs shortly before lunch to further undermine Welsh ambition.
Jim Allenby played on, having scored just three, skipper Jamie Dalrymple walked in front of a delivery which came back into him and, when James Harris edged Hussain to slip in the first over after lunch, the visitors were 104 for 7 and deep in trouble.
That was the cue for Wallace and Croft to launch a spirited recovery, the eighth wicket pair adding 105 in 19 overs to save face. Wallace, in particular, carried the fight to Gloucestershire's bowlers, twice hoisting Kirby over square leg for six on his way to an enterprising 72 from 83 balls. He struck eight fours and four maximums in all before edging a delivery of full length from Hussain to second slip, having successfully doubled his team's score.
Croft made 44 from 63 balls and departed soon afterwards, held at first slip to give the impressive Hussain figures of 4 for 57. Jon Batty and Will Porterfield lent the reply solid foundations in an opening stand of 55 in 14 overs, but both departed in quick succession, the former trapped lbw by Allenby and the other caught at the wicket off Harris.
Allenby then accounted for Gidman, pinned on the front foot and Gloucestershire's earlier authority was in doubt when Hamish Marshall, having scored 34, pulled a Dean Cosker long-hop to deep midwicket and Chris Taylor lost his off stump to a Huw Waters leg cutter.