Skipper Wakely has a chance to stop the rot

Alex Wakely has put Northants in a strong position Getty Images

Northamptomshire 204 (Chappell 6-44) and 165 for 3 (Wakely 51*) lead Leicestershire 217 (Kleinveldt 4-51) by 152 runs

Alex Wakely's first half-century of the season in the Specsavers County Championship put bottom-of-the-table Northamptonshire on top against Leicestershire at Wantage Road, as they took a lead of 152. by the close of the second day with seven second-innings wickets remaining.

Winless after four games, unable to deliver what many predicted would be a promotion-chasing campaign, Northants are reasonably well placed to set up a victory platform on the third day.

With batting not easy on a pitch that yielded 20 wickets in four-and-a-half sessions, Wakely settled well and struck seven fours and a six in reaching the first fifty of the game in 81 balls.

He skipped down the wicket to swing Callum Parkinson's left-arm spin into the Wilson Stand for six before slapping four more through midwicket and twice cutting the same bowler for boundaries.

Wakely shared stands of 51 with Ricardo Vasconcelos for the third wicket and an unbroken alliance of 44 with Adam Rossington that took Northants to the close in a strong position.

Until the evening session, the game had been a nip-and-tuck affair with Leicestershire nudging into a 13-run first-innings lead after making 217.

They resumed 64 for 3 and lost four wickets in the morning session to slip to 146 for 7. Nightwatchman Gavin Griffiths went to the 11th ball of the morning, chipping Rory Kleinveldt to midwicket without adding to his overnight 1. Colin Ackermann and Neil Dexter then settled into a stand of 45 for the fifth wicket before Ben Cotton struck at midday with a ball that moved away from Ackermann's drive to take out middle and off stumps.

Lewis Hill only made 7 before being caught at short-leg pushing forward to Rob Keogh's offspin and when Dexter feathered an edge behind off Ben Sanderson, Leicestershire were behind in the game.

But a response was provided by Zak Chappell who followed up his first-innings 6 for 44 with 40 with the bat to raise a batting point for the visitors and bring Leicestershire on terms.

A limping Rob Newton saw Northants make a solid start to their second-innings. Newton picked up what looked like an injury to his right knee taking a single. He needed a runner but battled through to 30 before being bowled by Mohammad Abbas after Ben Duckett had dragged Ben Raine into his leg stump for 17.

When Vasconcelos fell for 37, hooking at Raine and getting a top-edge into his helmet that looped to short-square leg, Leicestershire hoped for a strong end to the day but Wakely and Rossington ensured Northants took the initiative into the third day.