Cricket: Gloucester unbuckled: Stephen Fay reports from Leicester

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 245 and 220-4; Leicestershire 454

THE voices of experience at Grace Road were sure of two things by lunch. They thought their former all-rounder, Chris Lewis, pictured on page three of yesterday's Sun wearing nothing but a jockstrap, looked daft and was not missed. They also thought that the wicket, which had grown very easy-paced, would take spin at the Bennett End.

Since Lewis's departure, Leicestershire are a team entirely without stars, but today it hardly mattered at all. By midday they had scored 454 runs, their highest for more than two years. The lead over Gloucestershire was 209, and one of the recurrent features of a Saturday afternoon in England this summer was about to be played out: this involves Gloucestershire, already secure at the bottom of the Championship, trying to avoid an innings defeat.

So far this season Gloucester have buckled on Saturday in games against Worcester and Kent, before conceding an innings defeat early on Monday. This time Gloucestershire's chance of avoiding defeat does not look much better than usual, but they have dodged another innings drubbing.

The reason for this unusual escape was two long stands: 91 for the first wicket between Chris Broad (out for 56) and Dean Hodgson, and 85 for the third wicket between Hodgson (out for 89) and Tim Hancock.

Leicestershire were made to bat again by Jack Russell, whose wide, square stance is now so eccentric that it might even discombobulate the Australian spinners.

The Gloucestershire wickets did indeed fall to the spinners, three of them to Adrian Pierson, bowling off-spin into the rough at the Bennett End. One up to the voice of experience.

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