Cricket: Exotic offering from Ormond

Warwickshire 306 Leicestershire 353-8 dec Match drawn
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The Independent Online
WITH THE best part of two days lost to the weather, options were somewhat limited here yesterday. In the end, both sides settled for a draw plus bonus points, which at least enabled Leicestershire to clamber back into second place in the Championship table, although their attempt to retain their title seems to be faltering.

For once there was no collusion. Under the circumstances Leicestershire might have felt obliged to chase any target left them, but Warwickshire no doubt reasoned that on such a good batting surface the dice were loaded heavily against the side bowling last.

In any case their attack included a relatively inexperienced bowler in Alan Richardson, a fast-medium bowler reared in Staffordshire and with one first-class appearance for Derbyshire to his name. This was his Championship debut.

On a day when Leicestershire had a tendency to fling the bat at anything pitched in the slot in their ultimately successful pursuit of maximum batting points, Richardson did well, picked up a couple of victims, and, with luck, might have had more.

Initially though, Leicestershire found themselves in a spot of bother of their own making. Darren Stevens had gone after a wide half-volley, bowled by Ed Giddins off a short run the previous day and the same bowler soon had Iain Sutcliffe picked up at slip.

That was 4 for 2. On this pitch it was surely unthinkable that Leicestershire could actually be bowled out and maybe even obliged to follow on; the way that Darren Maddy and Ben Smith put bat firmly to ball soon confirmed it was nothing more than a temporary nightmare.

Helped by Warwickshire's aggressive field placings - four slips and a gully, more often than not - they pinged the bowling around until Smith was well caught by the diving Dominic Ostler at slip, reaching for a ball he might have left well alone on another day in other circumstances.

Maddy met a similar fate, but not before a misunderstanding had led to the running out of Aftab Habib. But Vince Wells, happily reinventing himself as a middle-order batsman, comfortably supervised the rest of the operation with his second successive century, made from 160 deliveries.

Matthew Brimson helped him to add 75 in 11 overs, but the surprise of the day was the array of exotic strokes played with great confidence and wonderful timing by the newly-capped James Ormond, whose maiden half-century occupied only 71 balls.