Cricket: French cricket inspires Nottinghamshire tail: Leicestershire 219; Notts 280

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The Independent Online
BRUCE FRENCH subscribes to the Corinthian theory that attack is the finest form of defence. His half century, briskly made off 82 balls, cast aside the scratchings-about for runs which had so far dominated this sunlit match with the other noble exception of Tim Robinson.

Laurie Potter's slow left arm held Nottinghamshire back with career- best figures - in a 13-year career that started with Kent - of 5-45 in 32 overs. He twice pulled Leicestershire back into the game by dimissing Robinson and the stubborn Paul Pollard after lunch and later French and Andy Pick.

When Nottinghamshire took tea at 171 for 5, those talking about a long tail were suddenly smacked in the mouth by it. French, himself struck on the shoulder and out hit wicket in the previous match, the most dishevelled dismissal any professional can imagine, had dusted himself down in style.

With the perky, adventurous touch which hallmarks the run-making of many a slightly built modern wicketkeeper, starting with Alan Knott, French cricket ruled. He compensated for the first-ball dismissal of Derek Randall, caught at forward short leg, and for Mark Crawley's longer-winded duck before he bat- padded Alan Mullally in the same direction to the sharp-eyed Phil Robinson.

Mullally bowled a hugely challenging spell, achieving the bounce on a ponderous pitch which only Chris Cairns had managed the previous day. No grass will be found on pitches here this season and this one is slow and low.

Leicestershire need all their spin resources as they are without David Millns, the England A fast bowler, for at least the next six weeks. Hobbling around on crutches after an Achilles tendon operation is still no barrier to his cheerfulness. The 'why me?' syndrome with a Test breakthrough beckoning is just not his style.

Graeme Archer scored 48 from 93 balls and Cairns played the finest stroke of the day, a searing back-foot drive off Gordon Parsons. Archer, Robinson and French promised that the four-day game might be more a case of 'who dares wins' rather than 'who blocks.'

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