25 wickets fall in a day

Leicestershire 159 & 80-5 Gloucestershire 71
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The Independent Online
After the first 15 wickets had fallen on the opening day of the festival this pitch would be reported automatically, yet few batsmen could say that their dismissal had anything to do with the state of the square.

Indeed, for much of the morning, when Darren Maddy and Ben Smith were adding 71 for the second Leicestershire wicket, the forecast was for another huge total. The bounce was even but the pace may have quickened under a hot sun and cloudless sky. What can be said is that the catching of both sides was high class - Phil Simmons, at slip, was dazzling - and the bowling was hostile, accurate and sustained.

Ben Smith was the only batsman to take any credit . He batted for almost four hours for his 68, hit nine fours and never lost his composure.

Gloucestershire's principal destroyer was Mike Smith, whose subtle left- arm swing was aided, until tea, by a gentle cross wind. The high-scoring Vince Wellsis was the first victim, misled by late swing; Leicestershire then went along comfortably until, just before lunch, Courtney Walsh recalled Smith, for a second morning spell, in what seemed like a desperate stroke.

Walsh was immediately rewarded with two more leg-before decisions, to the second and fifth balls of the over. Smith, Walsh and then Jon Lewis reduced the innings from 83 for 3 to 159 all out in another 24 overs.

So Gloucestershire, whose grim season has been lifted by two recent one- day wins, were batting before 4pm and their trepidation was obvious. After nine overs they had lost their first three wickets.

David Millns was fast, Alan Mullally pacy. Monte Lynch, and later Mark Alleyne, made some runs by chancing their arms. Jack Russell was somehow caught off bat, pad and ankle while Martyn Ball managed to get himself run out by Aftab Habib's smart throw from cover. Batting again at 6.20, Leicestershire made no effort to confirm the view of the umpires that the pitch was blameless, losing five second-innings wickets before the close.

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