Reeve resists it all

Cricket: Warwickshire 164 Leicestershire 289-6

Phil Simmons marked the tentative arrival of summer in the Midlands yesterday with an often-sunny display of batting. He confirmed that Leicestershire are in good heart and that all-conquering Warwickshire have problems to solve if the remarkable achievements of the last three seasons are not to be placed in the past tense. Last week Hampshire caused only their third home Championship defeat in that time, and yesterday they seemed short of ideas.

Even with the help of the Brumbrella, the first two days of this important fixture between the early-season Championship leaders and the title-holders could offer only 55 overs of murky activity. Visiting skipper James Whitaker, eyeing a greenish track under sullen cloud, asked Warwickshire to bat and saw them stumble towards 138 for six by Friday night. Captaincy gambles, a steady rattle of wickets or dominant batting were needed to refresh the contest.

Dermott Reeve might well have considered thumping down the gauntlet by declaring overnight, but if so he resisted. On a bright morning, with a multi-cultural cocktail of music billowing in on the breeze from the adjacent Lord Mayor's Festival, his side could add only 26 uncertain runs against Alan Mullally's very brisk left arm and the reliable seam trundling of Gordon Parsons. The rewards were Mullally's, burnishing his figures as he swept up the tail. Four wickets crumpled in six overs, with Mullally taking three for 8 in 19 balls, and Warwickshire had gained little.

With Nigel Briers nursing a knee injury that could threaten his entire 25th season, Tim Boon no longer around, Gregor MacMillan out of favour and Iain Sutcliffe studying at Oxford, the Leicester top order has a makeshift look about it. Yesterday Vinnie Wells and Darren Maddy were auditioned for opening positions, but neither player could grasp the opportunity. Maddy, who batted longer, had two reprieves, one a top-edged skied shot straight into the sun that had Dougie Brown making white-stick excuses long before he spilled it. At this point in the eighth over of the innings, Maddy had yet to score. The unlucky bowler was the veteran Gladstone Small, restored to health and wheeling in as crisply as ever, though the news of injured Tim Munton is gloomy - maybe another month out.

With Wells and Maddy gone, Ben Smith was motoring steadily and an early- afternoon crowd increased as the weather held. Simmons swaggered to the crease and by the time Smith mis-hooked Small to wicketkeeper Keith Piper, their scores were almost on parity. Simmons mixed quick-eyed improvisations with booming drives and hooks - one huge extra-cover six clattered the seats below the scoreboard - and with the in-form Whitaker, two Championships centuries already to his name this season, at the other end, Leicester seemed to be pressing home their advantage.

But the medium pace of Graeme Welch kept clipping away wickets, and having scored nine fours and a six in his first 50, Simmons was now being contained, feeling his way, rather than bludgeoning, towards a deserved century. Leicester were clearly right to bat on, hoping that tomorrow afternoon they can cut down the champions once again, but a big match like this deserves four sunny days.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border