Leics v Kent, County Championship, Division Two, Grace Road, 3rd day April 26, 2016

Cosgrove keeps Leicestershire fire burning

ECB Reporters Network

Leicestershire 174 for 2 (Cosgrove 99*, Dexter 57*) trail Kent 264 (McKay 3-66) by 90 runs

Mark Cosgrove raced to 99 before another early finish (file photo) © Getty Images

An unbroken partnership of 159 scored at more than five runs an over between Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove and Neil Dexter was the highlight of another day made frustrating by the weather at Grace Road.

Cosgrove, who had been on just 12 at lunch, raced to 99 off just 106 deliveries, hitting 19 boundaries, before the day's fourth snow shower brought the afternoon session to a premature end. Sleet and further flurries of snow meant the players were unable to get back out at all after tea.

Dexter, playing more steadily but with increasing certainty on his home debut, was unbeaten on 57, his first half-century since joining Leicestershire from Middlesex.

It was an impressive response from the home team, after they had lost both openers before lunch with only 15 runs on the board, having earlier bowled out Kent for 264 - a total that Cosgrove and Dexter's strokeplay made to look increasingly inadequate as their partnership grew.

The icy wind and single-figure temperatures made conditions very difficult for the Kent bowlers, but Cosgrove seized on any delivery that was off line or short of length, mixing power with delicacy as he raced towards three figures.

Snow showers had forced the players to leave the pitch three times before lunch. Resuming on 233 for 8, Kent took their score on to 255 before Mitch Claydon's attempted hook at a Zak Chappell bouncer gave Cosgrove a simple catch at mid-on. Chappell, a promising 19-year-old fast bowler, then uprooted Calum Haggett's middle and off stumps to end the Kent innings.

Leicestershire's reply did not begin well, Angus Robson caught behind by wicketkeeper Adam Rouse off the bowling of Matt Coles for a duck. Dexter, on his home debut for the Foxes, hit his first two balls to the boundary, but Kent struck again when the veteran Darren Stevens produced a perfect outswinger to have Paul Horton caught behind, leaving Leicestershire on 15 for 2.

Cosgrove started well, however, crashing Coles for consecutive boundaries through the off side before the interval - and better was to follow.