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April 18, 2013
Leicestershire 250 for 5 (O'Brien 63, Sarwan 54, Boyce 53*) trail Kent 406 by 156 runs
Leicestershire launched a spirited fightback in their County Championship clash with Kent on another boundary-laden day at Grace Road. But they were dealt a late body blow when Ramnaresh Sarwan was out for 54 to the last ball of the day, leaving Leicestershire on 250 for five, still 156 runs behind.
Darren Stevens snapped up the vital wicket to end a stand of 95 between Sarwan and Matt Boyce, who was unbeaten on 53 at the close. Niall O'Brien made 63 as Leicestershire hit 42 fours in response to Kent's first-day total of 51 fours and two sixes. Kent seamer, Callum Haggett, had figures of 3 for 57 on his Championship debut
The first objective for Leicestershire was to avoid the follow-on, something they failed to do a week ago against Hampshire. This time however, they were given a solid start by O'Brien and Michael Thornely, who gradually moved through the gears after taking nearly five overs to put the first run on the board.
O'Brien was dropped by Robert Key at slip off Haggett on 22, and celebrated his escape hitting Matthew Coles for successive boundaries to bring up the 50 partnership. But three runs later Thornely popped up a simple catch to cover to give Haggett his first wicket.
O'Brien moved to his half century off 90 balls with seven boundaries, as his partnership with Ned Eckersley began to prosper. Eckersley, who was left marooned on 99 not out against Hampshire when rain washed out the final day, took the total to 100 with a straight drive to the boundary off the first ball after lunch, the shot also raising the second 50 stand of the innings.
He continued to play aggressively until edging behind off Haggett, having made an eye-catching 46 with 10 fours in a stand of 80. O'Brien followed five runs later, caught at slip as he went after a wide delivery from Haggett. His 63 came off 116 balls and contained nine fours.
Josh Cobb went cheaply but Sarwan and Boyce steadied things with another important partnership for the fifth wicket. A rain delay after tea did not affect their concentration, and a boundary by Boyce off Coles on the re-start earned Leicestershire their first batting point of the season.
Sarwan's ninth four brought up his 50 off 91 balls and Boyce reached his soon afterwards off 104 balls also with nine fours. But Stevens struck with the new ball in the last over of the day having Sarwan caught behind by Geraint Jones.
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