Cricket: Parsons prospers

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The Independent Online
Notts 168; Leics 121-4

THERE ARE days when it helps to lose the toss. After putting Kent in and seeing his side beaten by an innings, Leicestershire's Nigel Briers would have batted had he called successfully here yesterday; instead, he had the satisfaction of seeing his three seam bowlers, Winston Benjamin, Alan Mullally and Gordon Parsons, work their way through some unprepossessing Nottinghamshire batting in 62 overs.

Once the sun had clouded over, the ball regularly moved about, sometimes at differing heights, from an unevenly grassed pitch, and Leicestershire enjoyed one of those days when all the nicks and other false strokes not only went to hand but stayed there.

Nottinghamshire, with three youngsters in their side (will we one day speak in hushed tones about Archer, Bramhall and Pennett as we once talked of Hardstaff, Meads and Butler?) looked a shade world-weary. They could have done with four hours of Chris Broad at his most bloody- minded, but he pronounced himself caught behind early on.

That would have convinced most sides it could be their day. The nearest to a slice of luck for Nottinghamshire came when their captain, Tim Robinson, must have been close to leg before to a disbelieving Benjamin at three, but his dismissal to a good ball from Parsons soon afterwards was another crucial episode.

Not often does Parsons enjoy the luxury of the ball while it is still hard and new. Operating mostly to a full length, he moved it as much as anyone and completed a spell of 3 for 5 in 21 deliveries when Mark Crawley became one of Paul Nixon's five victims behind the stumps.

Benjamin, a shade too sharp for some of the younger element, then got his just rewards. Leicestershire found the going no smoother, particularly against David Pennett, who, bowling straight and hitting the pitch hard, picked up the first three wickets in a lengthy spell before Briers became the first batsman to graft his way beyond 30.