Sam Evans' studied hundred gives Leicestershire advantage at Bristol
Second ton of the season for opener as Gloucestershire left to rue decision to insert
Leicestershire 264 for 4 (Evans 102, Hill 77*) vs Gloucestershire
Sam Evans' third first-class century helped Leicestershire dominate the opening day against Gloucestershire at Bristol as they made 264 for 4 having been sent in. Evans, 23, born in Leicester and a Loughborough University graduate, followed up his 138 at The Oval in round two with 102 here. He and Lewis Hill, with 77 not out, steered Leicestershire from 129 for 3 into a strong position as Gloucestershire were left to rue their decision at the toss.
Bowling first can often be an advantage on pitches at Bristol that get increasingly benign but there was little to encourage the hosts' seamers as they endured a hard first day in the field for a second week running.
Evans was their chief adversary as he further grew his reputation with a century in 251 balls with 13 boundaries to continue to press the case of university cricket. The demise of universities' first-class status and the uncertain future of the centres of excellence begs the question of whether those like Evans who choose to read for a degree will have a route into professional cricket in the future.
He lost his opening partner Hassan Azad to the second ball of the day as Dan Worrall claimed his 200th first-class wicket, but led his side calmly through the morning session to reach 92 for 1 at lunch.
He drove Ryan Higgins for four through cover and Worrall straight down the ground. A flick to fine leg brought him within sight of a half-century before he drove keenly at Josh Shaw and edged at catchable height perfectly between the wicketkeeper and first slip who was standing quite wide. James Bracey dived right, Kraigg Brathwaite dived left and the ball whistled to the fence to give Evans fifty in 126 balls.
After lunch, he lost Marcus Harris, driving at Worrall and caught behind for 62 - the Australian's first half-century in county cricket - and Rishi Patel bowled for just 2, shouldering arms at Worrall.
The second new ball was taken with Evans 17 shy of a hundred and he inside-edged Higgins past his stumps for four and leaned out to drive the same bowler through cover before a flick to fine leg raised a century to be toasted in common-rooms around the country. But he couldn't see out the day, lifting Worrall to short square-leg.