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May 11, 2011
Northamptonshire 381 for 6 v Gloucestershire
Niall O'Brien's 10th first-class century dug Northamptonshire out of a hole on the opening day of the County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
The visitors had been reduced to 125 for 5 after winning the toss when O'Brien and Andrew Hall (90) came together for a sixth-wicket stand of 182. O'Brien ended the day unbeaten on 123 in a Northamptonshire total of 381 for six, achieved against a home attack featuring 16-year-old Craig Miles - the fourth youngest player to have made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire.
Swindon-born Miles took 1 for 51 from 13 overs with his seamers, his maiden Championship wicket coming when Alex Wakely drove a catch to cover.
Northamptonshire looked to be in for a tough day when, with the total on 18, opener Stephen Peters edged a defensive shot off Jon Lewis to Alex Gidman at first slip. Without addition to the score, Gidman pouched another catch in the same position to dismiss Mal Loye, with left-armer David Payne this time the successful bowler.
Rob White was dropped on 25 by Kane Williamson in the slips off Ian Saxelby and survived to be 48 not out at lunch, which was taken at 97 for 2. But, in the over after the interval, White fell leg before wicket trying to work a ball from Will Gidman through the leg side.
It was 115 for four when Wakely (32) was caught low down by Chris Taylor and 125 for five when David Sales drove a return catch to Saxelby, having made only 10. Gloucestershire were on top, but began to concede too many boundaries as O'Brien and Hall counter-attacked. Hall hit eight fours in reaching his half-century first off 75 balls.
The tea score was 228 for 5 and the sixth-wicket partnership continued to flourish at the start of the final session, left-hander O'Brien posting his fifty off 68 deliveries, with eight fours.
Hall looked set for a ton when the second new ball was taken with the total 292 for five. But in the second over with it he got a leading edge to Saxelby and lobbed a simple catch to Taylor at cover. The South African had faced 128 balls and extended his boundary tally to a dozen.
O'Brien continued his chanceless knock and reached three figures against the county his younger brother Kevin will join later this week for the remainder of the season. He had faced 124 balls and hit 14 fours in an innings full of meaty drives and cuts.
But nothing could spoil a memorable day for Miles, whose debut came at the age of 16 years 295 days. WWF Pullen holds the record as the youngest ever Gloucestershire player to appear in a first-class match. He was 15 years and 346 days when he played against Middlesex at Lord's in 1882.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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