Ward throws bat to rescue Leicestershire

Northamptonshire 159 Leicestershire 185

Leicestershire did a pretty good job of squandering the advantage Northamptonshire's inadequate batting performance had given them yesterday by managing only to limp into a first-innings lead of 26 here on a day in which 20 wickets fell with no blame attaching to the pitch.

Leicestershire did a pretty good job of squandering the advantage Northamptonshire's inadequate batting performance had given them yesterday by managing only to limp into a first-innings lead of 26 here on a day in which 20 wickets fell with no blame attaching to the pitch.

A straw-coloured surface and some pleasant morning sunshine made batting first seem the logical option when David Ripley won the toss, but, with the air humid, Leicestershire bowled accurately enough to employ swing to significant effect, reducing their opponents to 57 for 6 and then 79 for 7.

At that moment it seemed reasonable to assume that Northamptonshire, without a Championship win so far, would be hard pressed to break their duck in this match, despite retrieving modest respectability through the fast bowler Lesroy Weekes' unbeaten debut 44. But when Leicestershire later revealed they too could mount a spectacular collapse, all forecasts had to be deferred.

The home side's reply began well enough, the early loss of Iain Sutcliffe overcome by Trevor Ward and Ben Smith, who took the total into the nineties before another wicket fell, Ward collecting seven fours and pulling Darren Cousins for six over the short Milligan Road boundary in an 81-ball half-century.

But any thoughts of a substantial lead disappeared after Ward was brilliantly caught by Russell Warren at mid-wicket. Nine wickets tumbled for 93 runs, the collapse developing as a cool, overcast afternoon gave way to a sunny, sultry evening and the ball began to deviate in the air as it had in the morning.

Devon Malcolm, still effective even at 38, ended with four wickets against his former colleagues, but the more telling damage was done by Phil DeFreitas and Darren Maddy, the former hardly a spring chicken at 35. Having suffered a shoulder injury in April, DeFreitas was making his first Championship outing but needed only four deliveries to strike the first blow as Mal Loye fashioned a drive that went straight to gully.

The looseness of that stroke was duplicated more than once until Weekes, a 29-year-old who played two first-class matches for Yorkshire last season, stopped the procession. But in the end Leicestershire's competence against the moving ball was no more impressive as Weekes, Cousins and Kevin Innes claimed three scalps each, aided by some fine catching, notably by Graeme Swann, whose one-handed effort at third slip to remove Carl Crowe was from the top drawer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence