Wells draws strength

Cricket: Nottinghamshire 324 Leicestershire 341-5
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The Independent Online
Although, numerically speaking, Leicestershire had much the better of the second day here, they were not able to run away with the match as they would have wanted. Yet, with two days left, they have every chance of taking the maximum 24 points.

They owed most to Vince Wells and their captain, James Whitaker, who both made their fourth first-class hundreds of the season. In a stand of 167 for the second wicket in 42 overs, it looked as if Leicestershire would end the day with a sizeable lead.

Determined, no doubt, to make their neighbours and Championship contenders fight every inch of the way, the Nottinghamshire bowling was steady, and as far as Mark Bowen with his fast-medium seamers was concerned, rather more so. Richard Bates, the 24-year-old off-spinner, also bowled well.

Nottinghamshire were let down by their catching though, for Wells, at 10, should have been caught and bowled by Bowen when he came firmly forward to one which stopped on pitching. Whitaker should also have been caught and bowled driving at Andy Afford's left-arm spin when on 34.

Wells and Darren Maddy gave Leicestershire a sensible start, putting on 61 in 23 overs before Maddy drove Bates low to short mid-wicket. Wells drove beautifully and, when he was joined by Whitaker, runs began to come at a pleasant speed.

Whitaker began with two cover drives off Bates, whom he then drove far over mid-on. A cover drive off Kevin Evans brought Wells to his 50 with his ninth four and when Whitaker reached his, driving Bates over mid-off, it was also his ninth four.

Wells now turned his attention to Bates and then Bowen and, after 209 minutes at the crease, cover-drove Bowen for four to reach his hundred. At 228, he then drove Mathew Dowman low to cover having faced 183 balls and hit 19 fours.

Ben Smith played a few good strokes before being caught and bowled driving at Dowman and, two overs later, Phil Simmons chopped Bowen on to his stumps. Whitaker then reached his hundred with a single to midwicket off Afford and was helped in a stand of 60 by Greg MacMillan, which ended when MacMillan was bowled pushing defensively at Afford.

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