Thakor: the batsman England U19s missed?
Leicestershire 334 for 8 (Cobb 82, Thakor 71*, Tomlinson 3-59)v Hampshire
Shiv Thakor, surprisingly omitted from England's squad for the U19 World Cup in Australia, hit his third half-century in six innings as Leicestershire reached 334 for 8 on the first day of the LV= County Championship Division Two game against Hampshire at Grace Road.
Thakor made a Championship-best 71 not out off 114 balls, to help Leicestershire fight back after slumping to 43 for three. They were the sort of qualities that England's U19 side, which played Somerset's two Overton brothers, all-rounders both, as specialist batsmen, might have valued as they crashed out of the tournament against South Africa at the quarter-final stage.
Josh Cobb and Wayne White also scored half-centuries as the hosts middle-order batsmen battled hard to put a dent in Hampshire's promotion ambitions.
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams put Leicestershire into bat on a green-looking pitch after winning the toss. With cloudy conditions as well, it looked a perfect morning for seam bowlers, and Kabir Ali quickly cashed in with a wicket in his second over, trapping Michael Thornley lbw as he tried to work the ball away through the leg side.
As the ball continued to seam and swing, batting was hard work and Ned Eckersley decided on an aggressive approach, hitting three boundaries in an over off James Tomlinson before Ali struck again, having Eckersley caught at first slip. Will Jones, who had battled his way to 23, soon followed, caught behind off a fine delivery from David Balcombe that swung and lifted.
That left Leicestershire wobbling at 43 for three, but resourceful batting by the middle-order slowly pulled them out of trouble. Cobb led the way with an excellent knock of 82, sharing stands of 75 with Ramnaresh Sarwan and 76 with Matt Boyce.
Sarwan, who hit five fours in his 36, looked in fine form until he was undone by an inswinging delivery from Tomlinson and was out lbw.
Cobb, joined by Boyce, reached his 50 off 87 balls and struck five more fours before his 139-ball innings came to end when he was bowled by Sean Ervine, and Boyce was caught at slip for 32 off the same bowler five runs later with the total on 199.
But 18-year-old Thakor and all-rounder White shared a seventh-wicket stand of 109 in 27 overs to take the hosts past the 300 mark. White hit a half-century off 77 balls with eight fours and Thakor was still there at the close having struck 10 fours - four in one over off Balcombe - in another eye-catching innings.