Maunders launches Leicestershire revival

Warwickshire 253; Leicestershire 215-3
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The Independent Online

Once the rain stopped, it took until 4.20pm for Grace Road to dry out enough for this second day's play to resume, but in the case of one participant, the wait was worth enduring.

John Maunders made his Second XI debut for Middlesex while he was still studying for his GCSEs, but the bright future that must have seemed to beckon then has been a long-time coming. Yesterday, six years on, the 22-year-old right-hander made his maiden first-class half-century in only his fifth match - and for a different county.

Despite being good enough for England's Under-19s, Maunders could not make the step up at Lord's, which is why the lifeline Leicestershire offered him last autumn was eagerly grasped. The Midlands county, their playing ranks depleted in the face of unbalanced books over the last few seasons, is now the kind of place where players such as Maunders can find a second chance.

Growing in confidence yesterday, with Darren Maddy initially playing second fiddle, each new clean hit saw Maunders take further advantage of moderate bowling to help establish a solid foundation to Leicestershire's interrupted first innings.

No shot will have boosted his self-esteem more than the hook for six off Waqar Younis that took him to 49 and his partnership with Maddy into three figures. He passed 50 by sweeping four against off-spinner Neil Smith, who had been struck for three consecutive boundaries by Maddy in his previous over.

Maunders fell for 69, ending the partnership at 156, when Melvyn Betts slanted one across him, but Maddy stayed solid, ending a day reduced to 35 overs having totted up a dozen boundaries in his unbeaten 88, although there was a disappointing finish for Leicestershire when Ian Bell entered the attack and had Brad Hodge lbw to a yorker with his first ball.