Maddy makes mark with ball

Northants 159 and 257 Leicestershire 185 and 5-0
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Darren Maddy, the erstwhile England opener, is batting at No 5 for Leicestershire this season, which suggests a man in search of new direction after a couple of lean years. In a way, he found it yesterday, although possibly not in the manner he had in mind.

By taking five Northamptonshire wickets here and helping Leicestershire establish a position from which they should win with a day to spare, Maddy, scorer of 13 first-class centuries, carved a career milestone which might see him claiming all-rounder status.

The right-hander's bowling talents as a seamer are not entirely unknown particularly in one-day cricket, but his employment in first-class matches tends to be less frequent. However, having watched him swing the ball to good effect on Wednesday, taking three wickets in eight overs, his captain, Vince Wells, trusted him with a longer stint yesterday and was well rewarded.

After 20 wickets fell on Wednesday, Northamptonshire improved on their first-innings performance by almost one hundred runs but still struggled against any bowler able to make the ball curve through the air and Maddy's maiden five-wicket haul demonstrated he had mastered the knack.

Having made the first breakthrough by defeating Mal Loye's front-foot defence in the 27th over of the morning, Maddy struck again before lunch by finding an edge as Mike Hussey attacked. He then tempted Graeme Swann to play at an outswinger.

Phil DeFreitas then took the wickets of Russell Warren, who had batted patiently to reach 55, and David Ripley, before Maddy returned to account for Kevin Innes and Lesroy Weekes to finish with figures of 5 for 67. Devon Malcolm dismissed Jason Brown, leaving Leicestershire with a target of 232 to win, which they had trimmed by five runs when bad light ended play 25 minutes early.

Tony Brown blamed poor batting for the well-worn trail to the dressing room on Wednesday. If Maddy can avoid that path today he will have had a good match, although adding to the three caps won after his Test call-up in 1999 may be some way off.

* Surrey were faced with an uphill fight to stave off defeat after being forced to endure a day of frustration against Essex in their First Division match at Ilford. They go into the third day on 93 for 3 in their second innings, still requiring a further five runs to clear the arrears after Essex had carried their overnight total to 296.

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