Northants take control at Grace Road
Leicestershire 168 and 27 for 2 v Northamptonshire 371 for 9 dec
Stephen Peters just missed out on a century while David Lucas and Lee Daggett both hit career-best scores as Northamptonshire took a stranglehold on their County Championship game against Leicestershire at Grace Road. The Second Division leaders secured a first-innings advantage of 203 before declaring on 371 for 9 and then snapped up two late wickets to leave Leicestershire in trouble on 27 for 2 at the close.
Lucas followed up his batting exploits by dismissing nightwatchman Jigar Naik and fellow seamer Jack Brooks grabbed the vital wicket of opener Will Jefferson to leave Leicestershire still needing another 176 runs to avoid an innings defeat. It was another hugely impressive day for Northamptonshire with the only surprise the fact that Peters missed out when he looked well set for his third championship century of the season.
He fell lbw to Andrew McDonald on 96 but Lucas, sent in as nightwatchman at the end of the first day, continued to defy the Leicestershire attack until after lunch when he was out for a career-best 60. With Alex Wakely also posting a half-century Northamptonshire relentlessly moved into a commanding position against their bottom-of-the-table hosts.
Northamptonshire began the day at 136 for 2, still 32 runs behind, and made steady progress as Peters and Lucas took their partnership to 66 before Leicestershire made the breakthrough. Surprisingly Peters was the man to go, rapped on the pads as he tried to work the ball away on the leg side. His 96 contained 14 boundaries and came off 188 balls.
Another half-century stand developed between Lucas and Wakely, who announced his arrival with a straight six off left-arm spinner Claude Henderson. A cover drive to the ropes off Nadeem Malik brought up Lucas' 50 and another boundary off Naik took him past his previous best score of 55.
But Naik gained some compensation when he had Lucas caught at deep midwicket for his 60 that included nine fours and came off 132 balls. The second new ball brought Leicestershire some reward with Malik dismissing Niall O'Brien first ball and Matthew Hoggard removing Andrew Hall and James Middlebrook in the same over.
But the home side were still unable to bring a quick conclusion to the innings with tail-ender Daggett also posting a maiden half-century off 87 balls with six boundaries before the declaration came. Leicestershire's disappointing day was completed with the loss of the two late wickets and they now face an uphill battle to save the game.