Leicestershire make light of gulf
Worcestershire 237 and 76 for 1 lead Leicestershire 278 (Cobb 63, Morris 4-76) by 35 runs
The top-against-bottom Division Two clash between Leicestershire and Worcestershire is well poised after the latter ended with a 35-run lead at the end of day two.
A 104-run partnership between Josh Cobb and Ramnaresh Sarwan and a last-wicket stand of 38 in five overs took Leicestershire to a total of 278 and a lead of 41 runs after both had batted once.
They looked on course for something much better than that when Cobb and Sarwan were together but both were out in the space of two overs, Cobb for 63 and Sarwan for 46 as Leicestershire slipped to 162 for 5.
But some lusty hitting by Nathan Buck and Charlie Shreck added some valuable runs and frustrated the Worcestershire attack, for whom Charlie Morris took 4 for 76 and Jack Shantry 3 for 66.
Top-of-the-table Worcestershire then faced 27 overs and reached stumps on 76 for 1 to lead by 35 runs. Buck had Matt Pardoe caught at slip in the eighth over but Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell shared a stand of 58 to put Worcestershire right back in the game.
For Leicestershire, though, it was an odd sort of day, one on which it was difficult to decide whether their glass was half full or half empty. Starting their overnight 58 for 2, Greg Smith was trapped lbw by Shantry in the second over of the day without addition to the total.
But Sarwan and Cobb kept the Worcestershire attack at bay for the rest of the session scoring 98 runs off 29 overs in largely untroubled fashion. Cobb, with some powerful driving through the cover area, reached 50 with an even better shot - a straight six off Saeed Ajmal, and at lunch the home side looked in good shape at 156 for 3.
Cobb smacked the second ball after the interval to the cover boundary to raise the century stand before the game was turned on it's head in the space of five deliveries. Cobb, attempting to run a ball from Shantry to the third man boundary only succeeded in providing a catch to third slip and was out for 63 off 108 balls having hit nine fours and a six.
In the next over Sarwan top edged a hook shot against Morris and skied a catch to deep fine leg having made 46 off 122 balls.
It meant Leicestershire had let slip an opportunity to take a firm grip on the game and Worcestershire came back strongly. Joe Leach bagged the wickets of Niall O'Brien and Dan Redfern, making his Leicestershire debut, and the hosts slumped to 240 for 9.
But Buck hit an unbeaten 25 and Shreck scored 19 to give Leicestershire a second batting point and a 41 run lead before Worcestershire finished the day 35 runs ahead with one down in their second innings, with Mitchell (44 not out) standing firm alongside Fell (24 no).