Kent v Leicestershire, Canterbury, 2nd day April 21, 2014

Ireland lifts Leicestershire with maiden fifty

Press Association

Leicestershire 333 for 9 (Boyce 68, Ireland 52, Stevens 3-46) v Kent

Anthony Ireland, who had a batting average of 6.19 coming into this match, hit the first half-century of his career as Leicestershire finished on a very competitive 333 for 9 against Kent.

Kent looked in control of the contest when they had the visitors 198 for 7 thanks in part to some excellent bowling from Darren Stevens, who ended the day on 3 for 46. However, an 85-run partnership between Ireland and Jigar Naik, who finished on 41 not out, pulled Leicestershire back into the match.

Kent won the toss and decided to field on the first day but there was no action as the rain saw play abandoned. Leicestershire began their innings positively as opener Matthew Boyce led the way with 68 alongside Greg Smith and then Ned Eckersley.

However, Eckersley's dismissal off the bowling of Mitchell Claydon sparked a flurry of wickets. Leicestershire lost 4 for 45, with two of them - Angus Robson and Ben Raine - falling to spinner Adam Riley, who ended the day with figures of 3 for 52 having replaced James Tredwell.

Niall O'Brien made a useful 32 before being caught lbw by Doug Bollinger but the Australia conceded nearly five runs an over. Rob Taylor steadied the ship for Leicestershire with a useful 20 before Naik's 41, which included five fours, began the visitors' revival.

Ireland then took centre stage on his way to a half-century before eventually being caught by Ben Harmison off Riley. Kent's frustrations continued until the end as Charlie Shreck put on another 18 before the umpires called stumps after 96 overs.

This was Leicestershire's first Championship match of the season after their opening game against Derbyshire was postponed following following the car accident which injured Tom Poynton and claimed the life of his father.