Defiant Mark Cosgrove hundred seals draw for Leicestershire
Left-hander hits unbeaten ton as Durham fail to force win
Leicestershire 236 (Azad 53, Horton 52, Carse 6-63) and 363 for 8 (Azad 57, Cosgrove 107*, Ackermann 56) trail Durham 544 for 9 dec (Lees 181, Burnham 86, Eckersley 71*) by 155 runs
A defiant century from Mark Cosgrove salvaged a draw for Leicestershire on the final day of their game against Durham at Emirates Riverside.
The Australian began the day unbeaten on 21, with his team still 155 runs behind the home side. He battled throughout to keep the Durham bowlers at bay, even using his head on one occasion. Cosgrove held his composure, scoring his first century of the campaign to save his team from defeat before bad light ended the contest.
Durham were frustrated in their attempts to claim the victory, although the pitch at the Riverside for once was not helpful to seam bowling. James Franklin's men remain in contention for promotion, extending their unbeaten run in the Championship to seven games, but they will need raise their game in their remaining matches to beat out their rivals.
Leicestershire began the day with Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann at the crease still trailing the home side by a significant margin. The two batsmen were able to see out the first hour with relative ease as the Durham bowlers were unable find life from the pitch. Cosgrove did provide one moment of bemusement in his otherwise untroubled morning, opting to leave a Ben Raine delivery that struck him straight on the helmet. Ackermann found his range to dispatch Liam Trevaskis for back-to-back boundaries before pulling Carse to the fence to bring up the fifty partnership from 139 deliveries. They fended off the threat in the morning session, reaching the interval unscathed, although still with work ahead to erase the deficit.
After the interval, Cosgrove continued his impressive stand by moving to his half-century, drilling the ball through the covers to the fence from a short Carse delivery. Ackermann joined his team-mate by hitting two boundaries from the same over, reaching his sixth fifty of the campaign. The duo carried on their resistance, working their way past their century stand, but Ackermann eventually fell to Trevaskis by edging the ball to first slip.
The home side attempted to put the clamps on Leicestershire, although Cosgrove remained a thorn in their side. Raine was able to dismiss Harry Dearden, who played down the wrong line and lost his off stump.
Nathan Rimmington's introduction into the attack from the Lumley End produced the wicket of Harry Swindells to give Durham hope of forcing a result at the tea break. Cosgrove and Gavin Griffiths held firm amid pressure from both seamers and spinners in the evening session. Durham captain Ned Eckersley tried to force the issue with time against his team after the visitors had edged into a slender lead.
Trevaskis and Cameron Steel struck to remove Griffiths and Chris Wright to put the pressure on. Cosgrove upped the ante to notch his century from 261 deliveries, saving the game for Leicestershire as bad light brought a premature end to the game.