Leicestershire v Derbyshire, LV= County Championship Div 2, Grace Rd, 4th day August 10, 2015

Leicestershire end three-year Grace Road drought


Leicestershire 314 (Cosgrove 102, O'Brien 60) and 273 for 7 (O'Brien 87, Palladino 3-32) beat Derbyshire 345 (Madsen 172*, Shreck 4-84) and 241 (Godleman 101, McKay 4-39, Raine 3-53) by three wickets

Niall O'Brien secured a rare Leicestershire Championship win © Getty Images

A fine 87 from Niall O'Brien, and a four-hour feat of concentration from 20-year-old batsman Aadil Ali, helped Leicestershire complete their first county championship victory at Grace Road since 2012.

After going into the season without a win for more than two years, they have now pulled off two this season although they remain rooted to the foot of the Second Division.

Needing an unlikely 217 more runs to win at the start of the day, with just six wickets remaining, O'Brien and Ali batted through the entire morning session without being parted.

Ali, playing just his third first-class match, and the more experienced O'Brien, quickly found the pitch, on which several deliveries had kept markedly low the previous evening, was now playing well, and with time very much on their side, they applied themselves admirably against an attack led by Mark Footitt.

Ali did have one escape, when Footitt, generating sharp pace down the hill from the Bennett End, did get one delivery to rise sharply and take the glove. The ball flew high to the right of Harvey Hosein behind the stumps, but the reaching wicketkeeper could only deflect the ball down to the third man boundary.

O'Brien, scoring more freely, also had a moment of fortune, slicing a drive at Ben Cotton over gully in the course of going to his second half-century of the match, but he did not give a chance in going to 65 at the break.

After taking the partnership on to 118, however, O'Brien was pinned leg before by Footitt, the delivery keeping slightly low. Andrea Agathangelou maintained the momentum before becoming the sixth leg before victim, this time to Tony Palladino, and when Ali's mammoth effort was ended by Ben Cotton on 42, a well-pitched up delivery clipping the off-stump, with the Foxes still needing 35 to win, nerves around Grace Road were jangling.

They were quickly soothed, however, as Ben Raine and Clint McKay saw the Foxes home in some style. There was one piece of nonsense, when the umpires, having delayed tea for the regulation 15 minutes, then took the players off for the break with just five runs needed to win, but Raine hit the first ball after tea for four - albeit through the hands of Cotton at gully - and completed the victory off the next.

Leicestershire head coach Andrew MacDonald said he was proud of his players. "They showed great belief, which is something we spoke of throughout the game," he said.

"It's amazing when you get a couple of partneships how quickly things can change. Niall O'Brien batted outstandingly well, and to have a youngster apply himself in the way Aadil Ali did for 198 deliveries was something he will only grow from. We never lost back to back wickets, and we came away with the points."

Derbyshire director of cricket Graeme Welch, facing up to a jolting loss as a supposed promotion campaign has long turned sour, said Derbyshire were "3 or 4% short" of where they should be.