Northamptonshire v Leicestershire, Northampton, 1st day May 24, 2011

McDonald ton holds Leicestershire together

Northamptonshire 32 for 0 v Leicestershire 313

Andrew McDonald smashed an enthralling century for Leicestershire on the first day of their County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

The visitors were teetering on 15 for 3 when Australia international McDonald came to the crease but he hammered 164 off just 140 balls with his sensational knock including 26 fours and two sixes.

Paceman Jack Brooks took the first five-wicket haul of his career, with figures of five for 80 as Leicestershire were bowled out for 313 before Northants survived 12 overs to close on 32 without loss. Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat but they lost Will Jefferson for just a single in the fourth over when he was trapped lbw by Brooks, who was to wreak havoc from the Lynn Wilson End.

Veteran Paul Nixon then made only three before chopping Brooks' delivery onto his leg stump and things were to soon get worse. England Lion James Taylor edged to Northants wicketkeeper David Murphy to give Brooks his third wicket, but McDonald led the recovery by crashing a half-century off 51 balls.

However, Brooks was to have the last word before lunch by forcing Matthew Boyce, who was on 26, to edge to Northants captain Andrew Hall at first slip. McDonald went on to complete an explosive century off 98 balls with a four behind square leg off Hall.

Wayne White was to fall just short of a half-century on 47 when he smashed James Middlebrook to Stephen Peters at mid-wicket to end a fifth-wicket stand of 118. McDonald then reached 150 off 130 balls with a straight six off Brooks as the visitors piled on 174 runs in the afternoon session to reach tea on 264 for 5.

But he walked after the first ball of the evening when he nudged David Lucas to Murphy to end a breathtaking innings. Wicketkeeper Paul Dixey then faced 16 balls without scoring before being pinned lbw by Middlebrook after missing his attempted sweep.

Leicestershire were now struggling again and they soon lost Jigar Naik for 27 when he wildly slashed Lucas to Middlebrook at gully. Their captain Matthew Hoggard went for a duck when he was caught by Murphy off Lucas before Brooks sealed his five-for when Claude Henderson (23) launched him to Alex Wakely at mid-on to end the innings.

The Northants openers, Peters and Ben Howgego, then batted through to the close of play and will resume tomorrow on 26 and 6 respectively.