Positive Maddy sinks Somerset

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The Independent Online

Somerset 262 and 246 Leicestershire 387 and 124-4 Leics win by six wickets

By Mike Carey at Grace Road

15 May 2000

Leicestershire, indebted to an important all-round contribution from Darren Maddy and some thoughtful leadership by Ben Smith, their acting captain, obtained their first Championship win of the season with some comfort here yesterday.

Once they had overcome the problems of the new ball, which unsurprisingly cost them a couple of wickets, they made the 122 needed to beat Somerset with six of their 36 overs in hand and, importantly for them, Maddy ended the game in better form than he began it.

His footwork was in evidence once more as were several vigorous, well-timed strokes off front and back foot. Although an off-break eventually found a gap between bat and pad, Maddy's positive approach was exactly what his side needed and Smith himself supervised the rest of the proceedings.

There was a believable school of thought in the Somerset camp that this game could be saved if a couple of batsmen could drop anchor first thing; the ball was old and anyone prepared to get resolutely on the front foot could be hard to dislodge.

Alas for them, while Peter Bowler proved this theory by closing up one end for three-and-a-half hours, at the other there was a series of mishaps, starting when Piran Holloway, driving at a wide one, and Michael Burns, attempting to withdraw his bat, got themselves out in successive overs.

When Rob Turner missed a dipping full toss from Anil Kumble, Somerset were only 45 ahead with five wickets down; but, apart from almost offering the newly capped Jonathan Dakin a return chance, Bowler had given the bowlers little hope and Keith Parsons proved an equally stubborn ally.

It was then that Smith, who had switched his bowlers around adroitly, called on Maddy's medium-pace. Bowler, to his dismay, immediately discovered that even a good forward stride was not enough to prevent an lbw decision against Maddy's low trajectory, dipping deliveries on this pitch.

In Maddy's next over Parsons, back when he might have been forward, could not do much about a ball which did not bounce much and bowled him off his pads while Kumble mopped up the tail, as he surely will more often than not.

When Leicestershire batted Graham Rose obtained enough movement to punish Darren Stevens and Trevor Ward for poor footwork; but not too much encouraged the bowlers after that and it was appropriate that Smith and Dakin, whose first innings century had done much to keep his side in the match, were there at the end.

Aftab Habib, the other first innings century maker, had become the 12th lbw victim of the game, testimony in some ways to the pitch's low bounce, but Dakin was full of confidence and rounded the match off with a flurry of three boundaries in one over from Parsons.