Bragg, Rudolph enjoy record day
Glamorgan 294 for 2 (Bragg 113*, Rudolph 111) v Leicestershire
Glamorgan batsmen Jacques Rudolph and Will Bragg both scored centuries as the Welsh county enjoyed much the best of the first day of their opening Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Coming together after Foxes' left-arm fast bowler Atif Sheik had dismissed opener James Kettleborough, caught behind by wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien for 10, Rudolph and Bragg put together a stand of 227, a Glamorgan second-wicket record against Leicestershire.
The very strong winds and flat pitch made it a good toss for Rudolph to win, and the South African had no hesitation in choosing to bat. Surprisingly, Leicestershire's new head coach Andrew MacDonald, and captain Mark Cosgrove, chose to go into the match without a specialist spinner, and a battery of seamers found it hard to bowl a consistent line and length in the gusting wind.
Sheik, coming down the hill from the Bennett End, was the only bowler to find any lift in the pitch, and should have had Rudolph before he scored, only for Ned Eckersley to fail to hold a difficult chance above his head at third slip. Sheik also saw Rudolph dropped off his bowling by Ben Raine at cover point when the batsman had reached 64, another hard chance diving to his left, and Tom Wells was convinced he had Rudolph leg before wicket on 78, but umpire Martin Saggers turned down the impassioned appeal.
The two batsmen left the previous Glamorgan second-wicket record against Leicestershire - 173 set by Alan Jones and Peter Walker at Ebbw Vale in 1965, and by Dan Cherry and David Hemp at Grace Road in 2006 - well behind by the time Rudolph reached his century, off 164 balls, with 14 fours. He and Bragg batted through the entire afternoon session without being parted, but in the first over after tea, Rudolph fenced at a quick rising delivery from Sheik and edged a catch behind to O'Brien for 111.
Bragg, who scored six championship fifties last season without once reaching three figures, went on to a chanceless century, off 183 balls, also including 14 fours, and was still unbeaten on 113 when bad light and then rain forced the umpires to call play off after 72 overs.
Bragg was a happy man after his unbeaten century helped put Glamorgan in a dominant position at the end of the first day. "It's always in the back of your mind," he said. "I haven't scored the hundreds I should have done, with my ability I should have scored a lot more - I do the hard yards usually, then fall by the wayside in the seventies and eighties. Hopefully now there'll be many more hundreds to come.
"The ball was moving around a bit early on and I tried to play within myself. I didn't really look at the scoreboard, but things went pretty well for myself and Jacques Rudolph and we're in a pretty healthy position now."