Cricket: Simmons and Smith make history

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire 61 Leicestershire 457-5

LEICESTERSHIRE, WHO need to win this match to retain a realistic chance of catching Surrey in the race for the Britannic Assurance title, continued their pummelling of Nottinghamshire despite ructions off the field.

A splendid record-breaking 322-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Phil Simmons (194) and Ben Smith (158 not out) put Leicestershire in a commanding position. The stand is the highest for the fifth wicket in the county's history and their highest for any wicket against Nottinghamshire.

Meanwhile, the club confirmed that the vice-captain Chris Lewis had been dropped, along with his team-mate David Millns, as a result of their late arrival for a pre-match training session on Tuesday.

In a statement issued 24 hours after the chairman, Roger Goadby, had denied any disciplinary action against the England all-rounder Lewis, a club spokesman said the players had arrived "a few minutes late without an acceptable excuse".

Lewis was again missing from the Central Avenue ground yesterday but the club denied that he was absent without permission. None of this seemed to be of any concern to those Leicestershire players who were present, most notably Smith and Simmons, who hit 30 fours and a six before he was leg before wicket giving Matthew Dowman the charge, having batted for four hours and 22 minutes.

The tumble of 11 wickets in 37.3 overs on Wednesday prompted a visit to Worksop by Harry Brind, the England and Wales Cricket Board pitches consultant, but the surface was pronounced satisfactory and Nottinghamshire's dismissal for 61 blamed on atmospheric conditions as well as poor batting.

Yesterday, the surface was more in keeping with the batsmen's paradises of Worksop tradition as Nottinghamshire were made to toil. Vince Wells and the nightwatchman, Matthew Brimson, departed in the first four overs but Iain Sutcliffe consolidated with 60 off 113 balls before he was beaten by Paul Strang's leg spin. Against at times indifferent bowling, Smith and Simmons helped themselves.