Kent v Leicestershire, Specsavers Championship Div 2, Canterbury, 1st day May 29, 2016

Cosgrove and Pettini led Leicestershire revival

ECB Reporters Network

Leicestershire 340 for 8 (Cosgrove 119, Pettini 97) v Kent

Mark Cosgrove's hundred rebuilt Leicestershire's innings © Getty Images

Mark Cosgrove led a Leicestershire fightback against Kent that saw the visitors rally from 19 for 3 to go in at stumps on day one sitting pretty on 340 for 8.

Cosgrove, the free-scoring 31-year-old South Australian, hit his third century in successive Specsavers Championship games against Kent and featured in a record fourth-wicket stand in matches between the two counties with Mark Pettini.

Despite losing the toss, it was Kent who enjoyed the opening exchanges as Leicestershire lost both openers within 20 minutes of the start. Paul Horton, the ex-Lancashire stalwart, pushed at a Darren Stevens leg-cutter to edge behind and give Sam Billings - fresh from his IPL stint - a first catch of the season.

Four balls later Angus Robson drove loosely at a wide one from Matt Coles only to pick out Daniel Bell-Drummond at cover point who snaffled a catch diving forward and slightly to his right.

Ten runs on, visiting skipper Neil Dexter went lbw for a single. Prodding half-forward in defence, he was deceived by a slower off-cutter from Stevens that thudded into the former Kent allrounder's front pad.

The visitors broke the shackles thereafter as experienced fourth-wicket pairing Cosgrove and Pettini counter-attacked to post Leicestershire's 100 by the 28th over. Cosgrove drove nicely but also picked up numerous easy runs with steers to the vacant third man area. His 55-ball 50 came up just before lunch and included eight fours.

Shortly after lunch, Pettini also reached a half-century from 84 balls and with eight fours as the pair posted a record fourth-wicket stand for Leicestershire matches against Kent moving past the previous best of 162, set by Albert Lord and John King at the Aylestone Road Ground, Leicester in 1923.

Cosgrove marched on to reach his century from 127 balls and with 15 fours having scored 122 in the reverse fixture in Leicester back in April.

Pettini also looked set to reach three figures but, three runs short of the milestone, he nicked the second ball of the day from occasional legspinner Joe Denly into the gloves of Billings. The dismissal ended a stand worth 218 with Cosgrove, who went in at tea unbeaten on 111.

Cosgrove's fun came to a surprising end shortly after the resumption and following an extraordinary piece of glovework by Kent's Billings that sent him packing for 119. After aiming yet another glide down to third man, Cosgrove set off looking for a single only to be sent back by Niall O'Brien at the non-striker's end. Cosgrove slipped when turning and was stranded two yards out of his ground when Sean Dickson's poor throw was deflected onto the stumps. Stood three yards away and with his back to the wickets, Billings used one glove to back-flick the ball onto the timbers and complete the dismissal.

Kent entrusted Matt Hunn with the second new ball down the Nackington Road slope, a move that paid dividends with his third delivery when the 22-year-old snared Niall O'Brien leg before.

Stevens returned for a third spell at the Pavilion End and had Ned Eckersley caught behind. The right-hander was drawn into an ill-advised push drive by an away-swinger that feathered the outside edge.

At the start of the day Kent made four changes to the side that beat Derbyshire on Wednesday. Tom Latham, Billings, Hunn and Stevens were all welcomed back in place of Alex Blake, Adam Rouse, Adam Ball and Mitch Claydon.

The visitors made only two changes with Aadil Ali and Tom Wells making way for Eckersley and James Sykes.