Hoggard shines at Lord's
Leicestershire 105 for 2 v Middlesex 219
A dozen wickets fell on the opening day at a bright and breezy Lord's where Leicestershire's captain and principal bowler Matthew Hoggard revelled on centre stage with a first-class exhibition of good old-fashioned swing bowling. After electing to bat first, Middlesex played an array of poor strokes to be shot out inside two sessions for 219, after which Leicestershire recovered from a sticky start to reach 105 for 2 in the 30 overs through to stumps - a deficit of 114 going into the second day.
Fresh from taking his career wickets tally past 700 against Derbyshire at Grace Road last week, 33-year-old Hoggard excelled to claim three more wickets before lunch. The former Yorkshire and England star switched to the Pavilion End after the interval to complete his season's best return of 6 for 63 in 20 overs as Middlesex were hurried out by tea.
Bowling full and straight, Hoggard made the most of late movement through the air and some profligate batting by a Middlesex top-order who seem to have forgotten the art of allowing seemingly innocuous deliveries to go by. Hoggard's rout started as early as the fifth over when Scott Newman felt for one outside off stump to be caught behind to make it 14 for 1.
Eight runs later and Hoggard bagged two more in as many deliveries as Owais Shah went leg before then, to the next delivery, Dawid Malan hung the bat out to a near wide and steered it to gully where Greg Smith took a tumbling catch.
Nadeem Malik also got the ball to swing and enticed John Simpson to follow one and edge to Tom New then Toby Roland-Jones obligingly spooned an in-ducker straight into the hands of the man at square leg.
Home skipper Neil Dexter, who was dropped at slip on 42, steadied his ship by contributing 47 to a fifth-wicket stand of 98 with Gareth Berg, which ended when Dexter's prod against Hoggard was snaffled by Jacques du Toit at slip. Having just posted his 83-ball half-century, Berg (53) played outside the line of a Claude Henderson arm-ball to be pinned lbw, then Shaun Udal's airy drive ballooned to point to give Hoggard his fifth victim.
Josh Davey was caught at third slip leaving 10th-wicket partners Tim Murtagh and Pedro Collins to see the home side past 200 for their sole batting bonus point with an entertaining stand of 58 in 10 overs. They achieved the milestone in no little style, by clubbing 22 in one over from Malik, but Collins was bowled through the gate by Jigar Naik, leaving Murtagh unbeaten on a breezy 41-ball 50 that included four fours and three sixes.
Leicestershire started their reply at 4.15pm and were soon in trouble themselves as Matthew Boyce went leg before to a Collins yorker. Collins then dipped one back in to Du Toit who played late and across his left pad to become another leg before victim.
Collins bowled too short thereafter and, having seen off the new ball, Leicestershire fought back with a third-wicket stand between Smith and James Taylor that took them through to the close without further alarm. Smith crafted the most convincing innings of the day to reach 64 while Taylor played second fiddle with an equally composed 32.