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July 20, 2012
Leicestershire 162 and 142 for 5 (Sarwan 30*) lead Gloucestershire 229 (Fuller 57) by 75 runs
James Fuller's maiden Championship half-century helped Gloucestershire into a promising position on the third day against Leicestershire at Cheltenham. The home side were in disarray at 137 for 7 in reply to 162 before a stand of 95 between Fuller and Ed Young guided them to 229 all out and a lead of 67.
In Leicestershire's second innings, openers Greg Smith and Michael Thornely wiped out all but one run of the deficit before both fell, and when Ned Eckersley was bowled by left-arm spinner Young it was 89 for 3. Ramnaresh Sarwan and captain Josh Cobb added 42 to give Leicestershire hope before Fuller had Cobb caught behind for 15. Leicestershire closed on 142 for 5, 75 runs in front.
Young, who had Robbie Joseph caught off bat and pad in the penultimate over, extracted some turn from a sporting pitch, which has kept the bowlers interested throughout and Gloucestershire will not want to chase more than 200.
The hosts began the day on 40 for 2 and, having progressed to 67, were plunged into trouble by Wayne White, who took three for 11 in the space of 21 balls from the Chapel End, removing nightwatchman David Payne, Alex Gidman and Jon Batty. All three fell to balls that nipped back off the seam, Payne being bowled and the other two falling lbw.
Hamish Marshall looked in good form and Ian Cockbain helped add 38 before he was caught at second slip by Greg Smith to give Joseph a wicket. But Gloucestershire were still 30 runs behind when Marshall played a loose shot against Nathan Buck and was picked up in the slips by Cobb.
That brought in Fuller to join Young and together they lifted home supporters with some positive shot-making, Fuller passing his previous best first-class score of 24, made for Otago in 2009. His maiden fifty came off 58 balls, with seven fours. Young fell to a slip catch off Thornely, who then held a good low return catch to dismiss Ian Saxelby first ball.
Forced to hit out, South Africa-born Fuller, who was brought up in New Zealand and has a British passport, was caught at deep square of Buck, but not before helping his side to a handy first-innings advantage.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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