McKay takes five as bowlers dominate at Cheltenham
Leicestershire 56 for 3 trail Gloucestershire 218 (Roderick 61, McKay 5-59) by 162 runs
Clint McKay claimed five wickets for Leicestershire as seam bowlers dominated the opening day at Cheltenham. The Australian took 5 for 59 from 21.2 overs to help dismiss the hosts for 218 after Leicestershire had won the toss and elected to field in overcast conditions. Charlie Shreck returned 3 for 58, while Gareth Roderick top scored with 61.
Batting remained difficult throughout the day and James Fuller replied with two early wickets before the visitors closed on 56 for 3. An overcast morning and a pitch with traces of dampness offered a real test for Gloucestershire's top order. Chris Dent had made only 5 when lbw to McKay in the third over. Will Tavare, on 15, edged McKay to wicketkeeper Lewis Hill and Michael Klinger was made to scrap for each of his 24 runs before being squared up by Shreck and offering another catch behind.
Roderick often batted well in advance of his crease in a bid to take lbw out of the equation as the ball continued to swing and seam around. He was unbeaten on 26 at lunch, with Gloucestershire 85 for 3.
The afternoon session brought the quick departures of Ian Cockbain and Benny Howell, while Roderick was dropped on 35, a leg-side chance to wicketkeeper Hill off Ben Raine. Kieran Noema-Barnett was a leg-before victim in Mark Cosgrove's first over before Roderick reached a stubborn and valuable half-century off 117 balls, with 4 fours. He eventually fell to a low caught and bowled chance accepted by Shreck with the total on 159 and it took some counter-attacking blows from James Fuller, who hit 41 off 49 balls, to earn Gloucestershire a batting point.
McKay and Shreck had maintained an exemplary line and length to make maximum use of the conditions, but 218 still looked a fair total. Despite the sun coming out in the final session, Leicestershire were soon 19 for 2 in reply as Fuller removed Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley cheaply in a spell of two for eight from the Chapel End. Skipper Cosgrove set out to be positive from the start and looked in less trouble than most batsmen, but a smart bowling change accounted for Matthew Boyce, lbw for 18 in Benny Howell's first over with the total on 49.
At that point Leicestershire sent in Jigar Naik as nightwatchman. He did the required job while Cosgrove reached the close at 26 not out.