Gloucestershire v Northants, Specsavers Championship Div 2, Bristol, 3rd day May 24, 2016

Prasanna takes five but Klinger ton retains control

ECB Reporters Network

Northamptonshire 176 and 120 for 3 (Newton 58*) trail Gloucestershire 418 (Klinger 140, Dent 93, Prasanna 5-97) by 122 runs

Michael Klinger built a commanding lead for Gloucestershire © Getty Images

Michael Klinger marked his return to Gloucestershire's four-day side with 140 as his team set up a winning position on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Northamptonshire at Bristol.

Klinger, recently back from a six-week break from cricket after the season Down Under, hit 14 fours and two sixes in a 286-ball innings that helped the hosts post 418 all out in reply to their opponents' meagre 176.

Legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna finished with 5 for 97 on his Championship debut, but there was precious little else for Northants to cheer as they closed on 120 for 3, still trailing by 122, Rob Newton unbeaten on 58.

Klinger began the day on 62, with Gloucestershire 240 for 4. He quickly lost partner George Hankins, bowled for 2 by Ben Sanderson as he played forward defensively.

But Kieran Noema-Barnett then helped Klinger add 58 for the sixth wicket before a series of poor shots presented the visitors with three wickets as lunch approached.

Noema-Barnett, on 23, top-edged a slog-sweep of Prasanna to be caught behind by wicketkeeper Ben Duckett, deputising for Adam Rossington, who was nursing a damaged finger.

Jack Taylor hit a breezy 24 before also being taken by Duckett, attempting to cut Prasanna, and the replacement keeper took a third catch when Craig Miles fenced at a wide ball from Richard Gleeson and got a thin edge.

Klinger was unbeaten on 99 at lunch and clearly frustrated by the flurry of wickets with so much time left in the game.

He found a more reliable partner in David Payne after lunch and the pair added 76 for the ninth-wicket, Klinger moving to his ninth first class century for Gloucestershire and the 28th of his career with a six over long-on off Prasanna. He had faced 225 balls.

Payne played well for his 32 before giving his wicket away by charging down the track to Prasanna and being stumped yards out of his ground. Klinger was last man out, the fifth victim for Prasanna, who bowled him as he attempted a late cut.

Northants began poorly with Duckett miscuing Miles to substitute fielder Callum Gregory at mid-on and skipper Alex Wakely trapped lbw for 14 by the third ball of Noema-Barnett's first over, having already survived a tough chance to wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick off Josh Shaw.

At 28 for 2, the visitors trailed by 214, but Newton and Rob Keogh then began to show some resistance. They had added 71 when Keogh, on 30, aimed to hit offspinner Taylor through the leg side and only succeeded in guiding the ball straight at short-leg Hankins, who looked as surprised as anyone to take an involuntary catch off the face of the bat.

Newton went on to an impressive half-century off 99 balls, with nine fours, and will shoulder major responsibility tomorrow for helping his side save the game.