Westley wicket tips balance
Essex 239 for 5 (Westley 81) trail Leicestershire 372 (Sarwan 117, Cobb 80, Masters 6-82) by 133 runs
Late wickets by Nathan Buck and Wayne White put Leicestershire in the driving seat at the end of the second day of their Division Two clash with Essex at Grace Road. Buck had Adam Wheater caught behind and White trapped Tom Westley lbw for 81 with the last ball of the day, to leave Essex on 239 for 5 - still 133 behind the home side's first innings total of 372.
Westley and Mark Pettini (57) looked to have given Essex the edge with a third-wicket stand of 133 until the two late dismissals turned things in Leicestershire's favour again. David Masters completed a six-wicket haul at the start of the day as Leicestershire suffered a late order collapse. The hosts would have been disappointed to miss out on maximum batting points having resumed on 323 for 5, losing their last five wickets for 21 runs in eight overs.
Masters, who left Leicestershire to join Essex five years ago, finished with 6 for 82, the fifth time in 11 games against Leicestershire he has taken five wickets - last season he claimed a career best eight for 10 against them at Southend.
The 34-year-old seamer, who had picked up four of the five wickets to fall on the first day, collected two more as Leicestershire's innings folded rapidly following a 20-minute stoppage for a rain shower. White, having reached 50 off 104 balls, edged Charl Willoughby to slip before Masters dismissed Ned Eckersley with a catch behind, then bowled Matthew Hoggard to bring the innings to an end.
On the slow-paced pitch, Billy Godleman and Alviro Petersen gave Essex their best start so far this season. They put on 54 in 17 overs until Hoggard struck twice in successive overs, trapping both openers leg before wicket.
Westley and Pettini put the brake on Leicestershire's progress with a gritty partnership, although both survived difficult chances. Will Jefferson just got his fingertips to an edge from Pettini and Westley was put down by Ramnaresh Sarwan at slip on 31.
White finally broke through Pettini's defence to flatten his off-stump and end a stand of 135 in 42 overs, then Buck had Adam Wheater caught behind, before White snapped up the vital wicket of Westley - who hit 12 fours in his 172-ball innings.