Lancashire close in on follow-on
Leicestershire 127 for 7 (O'Brien 41) trail Lancashire 380 (Reece 85, Procter 67, Katich 62, Horton 59, Freckingham 4-85) by 253 runs
Lancashire's bowlers strengthened their grip on this contest during a day of injudicious batting. A loss of three top order wickets for only 13 runs in four and a half overs during the early afternoon and two more just before close hurt Leicestershire, who now have a job on to save this match should the weather not intervene over the next two days.
The second day at Grace Road started with Lancashire losing lower order wickets at some rate to put the kibosh on their chances of reaching 400, something which seemed certain for the vast majority of their innings. In the grand scheme of things, it may not be an issue for them, but seamer Ollie Freckingham added the wickets of Gareth Cross, Glen Chapple and Simon Kerrigan to finish with 4 for 85.
They actually lost their last four wickets for 13 to slip from 367 for 6 after a positive start to the day, led by Luke Procter's fluent 67, had seen them pick up a fourth batting bonus point with some positive stroke play.
Even though they lost Tom Smith to the second ball of the day from Matthew Hoggard, they picked up the 47 runs they needed to get to 350 within 10 overs.
Cross and Chapple then both fell caught at short extra cover off Freckingham as the innings was wrapped up to leave Leicestershire with a tricky 25 minutes of batting before lunch, which they reached at 20 for 1 from seven overs. Greg Smith fell to Kyle Hogg after Michael Thornely had been dropped twice in two balls in the slips off Hogg and Chapple.
Further drama came early in the afternoon session. Chapple and Smith, who extracted extra bounce from the Pavilion End, bowled 45 consecutive dots balls - including six maidens - from the second ball of the eleventh over as Thornely and Ned Eckersley were stuck on 33 for 1 and then 33 for 2 when the former edged Smith to Luis Reece at wide third slip.
Eckersley thought he had broken the shackles by pulling Chapple over midwicket for four, but he and captain Matt Boyce were soon on their way to left-arm spinner Kerrigan in only his second over and his first of the session to leave the score at 46 for 4.
The loss of Shiv Thakor, who justified his elevation up to No.4 with a determined 34 off 130 balls, was a huge blow as the score slipped to 127 for 6 in the last 10 minutes of play. He had shared a secure partnership of 65 inside 26 overs for the fifth wicket with Niall O'Brien, who posted 41 off 79 either side of an hour and a half's break for rain.
O'Brien will be furious with the manner of his dismissal - bowled off the inside edge as he aimed an expansive drive at Chapple from round the wicket - to leave the score at 111 for 5. There was only one slip of concentration from highly-rated Thakor, but it proved to be crucial.
He was not distracted by the introduction of a leg slip by Chapple when he had the ball in his hand, and was only once tempted out of his shell when he edged Kerrigan to Ashwell Prince at slip. Hogg then added his second wicket, the seventh in all, by trapping Tom Wells lbw in the penultimate over of the day. Leicestershire, 253 behind, still need 104 to avoid the follow-on. It looks a long way away.