Kent v Leicestershire, LV= Championship, Division Two, Canterbury, 3rd day May 5, 2015

McKay puts Leics in sight of long-awaited win

Leicestershire 386 and 189 for 8 (McKay 43, Thomas 3-43) lead Kent 268 (Denly 87, Northeast 84, McKay 6-54) by 307 runs
Scorecard

Clint McKay took six wickets and then helped shore up Leicestershire's position with the bat (file photo) © Getty Images

Leicestershire's Clint McKay starred with bat and ball in blustery Canterbury, where 15 wickets fell in a day to leave the visitors with a real chance of ending a Championship winless run that dates back to September 2012.

Having conceded a first-innings deficit of 118, Division Two bottom side Kent appeared to have Leicestershire on the run at 86 for 7 in their second innings, until McKay waltzed to a quickfire 43 from 36 balls and wrestled the initiative back Leicestershire's way. The visitors will go into the final day of a fascinating tussle on 189 for 8 and a lead of 307 over a Kent side who are defending a 10-year unbeaten record against the east Midlands county.

After a 15-minute delay to mop up overnight rain, Kent appeared set for a fair first-innings lead at the start of day three as fourth-wicket partners Joe Denly and Sam Northeast extended their stand to 139 - Kent's best of the summer to date.

However, Denly's demise leg-before for a stoic 84, coupled with the arrival of the second new ball, sparked a dramatic collapse that saw Kent lose their last seven wickets for 53 runs.

Northeast, who battled to his third half-century of the campaign, also missed out on a century when he fell lbw to Charlie Shreck for 84 then McKay ran through the tail to finish with 6 for 54 - the best bowling figures by a Leicestershire bowler since Robbie Joseph bagged 6 for 47 against Glamorgan in the opening match of 2012.

Batting again soon after lunch, Leicestershire struggled initially against Kent's rookie paceman Ivan Thomas, who found his range for the first time in the match to send both Matt Boyce and Ned Eckersley packing.

The visitors lost three more wickets for as many runs in the run-up to the tea interval when Mitch Claydon trapped fellow Australian Mark Cosgrove lbw, leaving Darren Stevens to dislodge Angus Robson and Neil Pinner with naggingly accurate away swingers.

Only 199 runs ahead on 81 for 5 at the interval, the visitors were in danger of throwing away their healthy position when Kent won two further lbw appeals soon after the restart, but McKay was having none of it. The willowy Australian clattered seven fours and a six in his cameo knock and featured in a crucial stand of 62 inside 13 overs with Rob Taylor before Stevens made him his eighth victim of the game by plucking out off stump with a shooting leg-cutter.

Taylor remained unbeaten on 33 at the close, together with Jigar Naik, to restore Leicestershire's ascendancy and take their side into the final day as favourites to secure a first four-day win since an edgy two-wicket victory over Gloucestershire at Grace Road in September 2012.

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  • Mark on May 6, 2015, 14:53 GMT

    I think that it's fair to say that Kent have politely ignored the target. This may happen a bit this season: sides not wishing to "be the first" when Leicestershire have a sniff of victory.

  • Mark on May 6, 2015, 9:43 GMT

    I have a great affection for Kent having lived there for years and grown-up watching the great Kent sides of the '70s on TV, but thousands of fans around the country will be hoping that Leicestershire get it right this time around. It looked as if Leics might be throwing it away yesterday afternoon, but some tail-end grit and a lead now over 300 is beginning to look like a real winning chance at long last.

  • Simon on May 5, 2015, 18:34 GMT

    After 2 and a half years I can almost taste it. Cmon the Foxes, get that first win under the belt and the sky's the limit!!. Love Aussies me :-)

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