Foster and Masters hang about to earn draw for Essex

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The Independent Online

Leicestershire were 4 for 4 on the first morning of their Championship match with Essex at Chelmsford so the prospect of the hosts clinging on for a nerve-jangling draw come Saturday evening could aptly have been described as remote.

But clinging on they were as Leicestershire needed just one more wicket to clinch the win in the Second Division match but could not get past James Foster, the former England wicketkeeper making an unbeaten 88 from 212 balls. He was given support by David Masters whose five runs from 87 balls must have made Michael Vaughan's knock at Old Trafford look positively kamikaze by comparison. Masters eventually keeled over but Foster was joined by Danish Kaneria (Test average 6.84) for the last half hour and the Pakistan spinner saw out 12 balls. Earlier Ravi Bopara had done his England chances no harm with a fluent 87.

The highly-regarded opener Joe Denly hit a career-best 149 but Kent could have done with just 20 more as they fell short of the target of 271 set by Somerset in the top division. Somerset's first win of the season was set up largely by Steffan Jones who took four wickets in 10 balls at Tunbridge Wells. Geraint Jones, another former England keeper, started the slide, edging to slip for 26.

Usman Afzaal hit a ton for Surrey against Yorkshire at The Oval before they called it a day and settled for a draw. Northants crushed Glamorgan by an innings and 99 runs and Middlesex and Warwickshire settled for a draw at Edgbaston after Shaun Udal hit 66 to steer the visitors away from danger.

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