Thakor fifty helps turn day around
Gloucestershire 31 for 2 trail Leicestershire 250 (Thakor 75, Howell 5-57) by 219 runs
A stand of 125 between Shiv Thakor and Matt Boyce put Leicestershire in the ascendency on day one at Grace Road. The pair made half-centuries to stage a recovery from 52 for 5 before two late wickets as Gloucestershire came out to bat for nine overs made it Leicestershire's day.
Gloucestershire looked like taking control and Benny Howell claimed career-best figures of 5 for 57 as Leicestershire were dismissed for 250. But from where they were in the morning session, Gloucestershire will feel they let an opportunity slip.
Thakor and Matt Boyce sparked comeback to claim two batting points. Thakor top scored with 75 and Boyce also made a half-century before veteran Claude Henderson thumped 33 off 30 balls.
But it was 24-year-old allrounder Howell made the biggest impact of the day. Before this match Howell, in his second season with Gloucestershire, had taken only nine first-class wickets with a best return of 2 for 37 against Northamptonshire last season. He had bettered that by lunch, picking up 3 for 17 runs in a superb eight-over spell.
The home side were already in difficulties when Howell came on as first change. Michael Thornely was bowled by Will Gidman with the second ball of the day and Niall O'Brien soon followed after edging behind off David Payne.
Howell, finding some away swing with his medium pace bowling, then had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at gully, trapped Ned Eckersley lbw offering no shot to a ball that straightened before bowling Josh Cobb off an inside edge.
With half the side out in the space of 22 overs, Leicestershire were staring down the barrel. But for the second Championship game in succession, Thakor and Boyce dug in to bring some respectability to the batting. They stayed together for 44 overs, Thakor reaching his 50 off 110 balls with seven fours plus an all run five. Boyce went to his half-century off 120 balls with four boundaries.
But both fell quickly after tea. Howell had Boyce caught at slip and Thakor was also caught low down by Hamish Marshall cutting at a ball from offspinner Jack Taylor.
Howell then picked up his fifth wicket when Jigar Naik edged to slip but Henderson's quick-fire 33 brought some valuable late runs.
And the day ended well for Leicestershire, with Robbie Williams trapping Chris Dent lbw and Ollie Freckingham having Dan Housego caught behind as Gloucestershire closed 219 runs behind.