Wasim hands out more of the same

mike carey reports from Leicester Leicestershire 235 & 157-4 Lancashire 303
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The Independent Online
After a day in which two players had been out of action injured, two bowlers were officially warned for following through on to the pitch, and their batsmen were tormented yet again by Wasim Akram, Leicestershire badly needed some evidence that the world was not against them yesterday.

It finally materialised when Vince Wells and Ben Smith, both batting with considerable aplomb and putting the loose ball away with clinical efficiency, made half-centuries which kept their side afloat - just - after Wasim's penetrative new ball spell.

Lancashire's uneven batting performance meant they had to work much harder than they might have expected to grind out a first innings lead of 68. This owed much to Peter Martin and Gary Yates who, joining forces at 225 for 8, added 61 in 11 overs against a somewhat world-weary attack.

It was enough for Wasim. Even on this slow, low pitch he has been too sharp for everyone and he swept Leicestershire's upper order away for the second time; his three victims again included Nigel Briers, whose edge was palmed away by the wicketkeeper, Warren Hegg, but caught by the alert Graham Lloyd at second slip.

When Wasim was out of the attack, it was a different game. Wells and Smith added 103 in 27 overs in largely untroubled style, but Wasim had the last word when Smith became his 10th victim of the game and, worth noting, the ninth batsman to fall lbw.

Earlier, Lancashire's game plan had centred on the highly correct technique of Jason Gallian, who operated as anchorman for some three and a half hours. But wickets tended to fall rather more frequently than expected at the other end, mostly to Alan Mullally, who, operating off a shortened run-up, moved the ball a little either way and eventually had Gallian leg before.

Hansie Cronje contributed an important spell of stock bowling with Gordon Parsons out of the attack because of a damaged finger. The other casualty, James Whitaker, who had a toe broken by Wasim on the first day, will bat this morning with the aid of a runner.