DeFreitas exploits conditions to extract movement

Nottinghamshire 90-3 v Leicestershire

The thought that even the weather supports Twenty20 cricket was reinforced somewhat spookily here yesterday as the rain that had hitherto held off throughout the new competition returned to blight the resumption of the four-day game. Spectators who thought they were settling back for a full day of Championship cricket instead had to content themselves with another 40 overs' worth.

Well, 40.5 overs actually. After which the rain that arrived at lunchtime and relented only briefly, forced play to be abandoned soon after five o'clock, with Leicestershire perhaps marginally on top after Nottinghamshire's decision to bat first.

Leicestershire are one of the quartet of counties who will decide the outcome of the Twenty20 Cup in Nottingham next month. The hosts will not, the short form of the game having gone for them the same way as the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy and the National League in what is proving a miserable season. The coach, Mick Newell,admitted the Championship represents the only hope of salvaging some self-respect after a run, in all competitions, of only two wins in 15 matches.

Given that Leicestershire have not yet won a Championship match, this is a contest they would hope to win, although a substantial first-innings score would now seem to rest on the shoulders of Kevin Pietersen and Chris Cairns, poor form having cost Usman Afzaal and Bilal Shafayat their places.

The decision to bat looked the wrong one, initially, Phil DeFreitas exploiting movement off the pitch by having both Jason Gallian and Darren Bicknell caught in the slips in a splendid opening seven-over spell, which yielded two wickets for just five runs and five maidens.

Guy Welton and the former Northamptonshire wicketkeeper Russell Warren, on his first-class debut for his new county, restored order with a partnership of 78 for the third wicket, but in the 2.5 overs possible after lunch, David Masters produced a superb leg-cutter to knock back Welton's off stump.

* The Leicestershire general manager, Kevin Hill, said the county would give their all-rounder Brad Hodge their full support should he take legal action after the Derbyshire captain, Dominic Cork, accused him of cheating during Leicestershire's Twenty20 Cup win over their Midlands rivals on Tuesday.

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