Cricket: Gie hits out for partial recovery

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IN DECENT weather, Leicestershire might have expected to have been close to victory over their underachieving neighbours by 4pm on the third day. Instead, they spent the whole of that time time waiting for Grace Road to dry out, or at least meet the definition of "fit for play".

There has been some substantial rainfall here in the last few days but yesterday, save for the odd passing shower, was one of sun and wind. This made the extended delay seem rather farcical, more so given that the pitch, the square and the bowlers' run-ups - in other words, the main action areas - had been protected throughout. Effectively, the players had been in the dressing-rooms because of a squelchy outfield, which they do not use much anyway.

Once let out of the traps, Leicestershire made rapid progress, putting Nottinghamshire in and reducing them to 55 for 4 within 21 overs. Naturally, the champions were encouraged to see their opponents' top order tumble so willingly, although it was probably in the better interests of the truncated contest that Nottinghamshire made at least a partial recovery. They will need something to work with if they are to offer Leicestershire a target today.

Michael Kasprowicz drew first blood, pinning Usman Afzaal leg before and the Australian struck again, with another delivery of fairly full length, when Paul Johnson squirted a catch to second slip. The ball left the bat at a fair lick and Darren Maddy needed two attempts to clutch it to his chest.

In between, Vince Wells had held a similarly sharp chance at second slip to enable Chris Lewis to dismiss Tim Robinson. Then Wells ended Jason Gallian's quest to steady the ship, the Nottinghamshire captain having spent an hour making nine runs.

At least Noel Gie and Chris Read did make Gallian's work count for something by adding 59 for the fifth wicket. It was a shame Read should then blot his copybook with a costly swat at a Lewis long hop, getting himself caught down the leg side.