Northants v Leicestershire, Northampton, 4th day May 18, 2013

Duckett debut fifty shows promise

Leicestershire 234 (Thakor 64*, Copeland 7-63) and 168 for 3 (O'Brien 59*) drew with Northamptonshire 355 (Hall 113, Freckingham 6-125) and 215 for 8 dec. (Duckett 53*)
Scorecard

Northamptonshire delayed their declaration until after lunch against Leicestershire to allow Ben Duckett, their 18-year-old wicketkeeper, to make a fifty on first-class debut.

Duckett making an unbeaten 53 off 65 balls to give Leicestershire an unlikely target of 337 but the contest fizzled out as Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien struck a half-century against his old club.

Northants were denied a fourth successive victory as Leicestershire unsurprisingly opted to settle for the draw, which they comfortably achieved as the two captains shook hands with the score 168 for 3 - O'Brien making 59 off 118 balls.

Northamptonshire began the day on 94 for 5, 215 runs ahead of their opponents, but the loss of three wickets late on the third day inhibited their approach and matters got worse as Rob Keogh and Andrew Hall fell cheaply.

Keogh was only able to make 10 before he was superbly caught by Leicestershire captain Ramnaresh Sarwan at slip off the bowling of Robbie Williams.

Another terrific catch then did for Hall when Greg Smith snared him while diving to his left in Williams' next over to leave the hosts on 112 for 7.

Duckett rallied matters as Northamptonshire reached lunch on 190 for 8 but, to the surprise of many, they did not declare despite their advantage being 311.

Duckett went past 50 off 64 balls in the second over of the afternoon, which finally prompted the hosts to declare leaving Steven Crook on 34 not out as part of a partnership of 82.

With 63 overs to survive, Leicestershire's openers started confidently although Smith fell one run short of his second half-century of the match when he was taken at first slip by Hall off Crook.

That broke an opening stand of 80 with O'Brien, but the setback did not seem to unnerve the visitors, who went in at tea on 100 for 1.

Ned Eckersley was then run out by Willey from short third man after a bright 42off 39 deliveries after O'Brien sent him back from running a quick single off James Middlebrook.

O'Brien hung around to complete a patient half-century off 114 balls but he perished when he edged Australia international Trent Copeland to Duckett.

Only one more over, bowled by Willey, was possible before the players called it a day just after five o'clock.

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