Leicestershire v Essex, Grace Road, 3rd day June 23, 2013

Foster hundred turns tide for Essex

Leicestershire 302 and 91 for 4 (ten Doeschate 2-15) lead Essex 365 (Foster 143, Hoggard 6-66) by 37 runs

James Foster struck his first century of the season to put Essex in control on a rain-affected third day at Grace Road. The Essex captain and wicketkeeper hit a masterful 143 to lead his side to a total of 356 and a first-innings lead of 54.

And, despite the loss of 35 overs in the day, Essex were looking in an even better position at the close, with Leicestershire on 91 for 4 in their second innings, leading by only 37 runs.

Niall O'Brien was the first to go, edging a catch to Foster as he fenced at a delivery from David Masters. That was in the seventh over, and in the next Reece Topley had Greg Smith lbw leaving Leicestershire 27 for 2.

Joe Burns and Ned Eckersley staged a brief recovery putting on 46, until Ryan ten Doeschate turned things round again by dismissing both batsmen in the space of six overs. He had Eckersley lbw attempting a pull shot and then bowled Burns, when the Australian, trying to cut, chopped the ball back into the stumps.

Shiv Thakor and Matt Boyce added five more runs before bad light brought an end to play with eight overs still to go.

Earlier Foster had hit his fourth century in five years against Leicestershire and his chanceless innings contained 21 fours and a six and came off 190 balls. In the end he became Matthew Hoggard's sixth victim when he skied a catch to mid on after taking Essex past the 350 mark to earn them a fourth batting bonus point.

Foster set the tone in the first over of the day when he took 12 runs off Ollie Freckingham to race from his overnight 45 to 57. He continued in the same fashion and was quick to punish some wayward bowling from the home attack. Foster posted his century with a neat late cut to third man earning him his 14th four in addition to the six off Jigan Naik.

His seventh-wicket partner, Graham Napier, was no slouch either, reaching 52 off 80 balls with seven fours, before falling lbw to Freckingham to end a stand of 114. But Foster skilfully marshalled the tail through another 11 overs until he was ninth man out at 355.

Hoggard, in his first game since April, finished with impressive figures of six for 66 in 29 overs and Alex Wyatt took three for 80.