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May 21, 2011
Leicestershire 323 and 245 for 5 drew with Gloucestershire 504 for 9 dec
Paul Dixey scored the first County Championship half-century of his career to help Leicestershire salvage a draw against Gloucestershire at Grace Road. The 23-year-old wicketkeeper, released by Kent at the end of last season, made an unbeaten 72 in sharing an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 111 with Jigar Naik to deny Gloucestershire victory on a tense final day in the Division Two clash.
Following on 181 runs behind, Leicestershire were deep in trouble when they slumped to 134 for 5 with seamer Will Gidman claiming three of the wickets. But Dixey and Naik stayed together for 31 overs, and the teams shook hands on a draw at the start of the final hour, with Leicestershire at 245 for 5, leading by 64 runs.
Although Dixey has a first-class century to his name for Durham University against Lancashire, he never played a championship game for Kent, and has been taken on trial by Leicestershire this season. He is currently standing in for the injured Tom New, and this valuable innings will have done his chances of securing a contract at Grace Road no harm at all.
Dixey faced 112 balls and struck 10 fours and a six, while Naik provided excellent support with an unbeaten 32 off 106 balls. The sixth-wicket pair changed the course of a game that looked to be in Gloucestershire's grasp from the moment Ian Saxelby bowled last man Nadeem Malik in the third over of the morning. That left Leicestershire, all out for 323, still needing another 181 runs to avoid an innings defeat.
They were soon on the back foot with Gidman having opener Matt Boyce caught low down at mid-wicket in the 11th over. Will Jefferson followed a few minutes before lunch, trapped lbw as he tried to work offspinner Kane Williamson away on the leg side.
Three more wickets fell in the afternoon session, with Saxelby finding the edge against Kadeer Ali, and Gidman claiming the wickets off Josh Cobb and Andrew McDonald. Cobb was out lbw, and McDonald taken by wicketkeeper Jon Batty as he tried to drive on the off side.
At that stage Gloucestershire looked firm favourites to clinch victory, but Dixey and Naik pulled things round with some sensible and solid batting. Dixey reached his maiden half-century by sweeping Vikram Banerjee to the boundary, and then illustrated his growing confidence with a superb six off Williamson that brought up the century partnership.
The draw earned Leicestershire seven points, while Gloucestershire collected 11.
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