All-round Gidman stars again
Will Gidman again proved a thorn in Leicestershire’s side as Gloucestershire moved into a dominant position on the second day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match at Bristol.
Having returned career-best bowling figures of 6-15 on the opening day, the in-form all-rounder posted his highest score of 143 to propel Gloucestershire to 516 for nine declared and an imposing first-innings lead of 399.
Leicestershire reached the close on 60 for the loss of Greg Smith in their second innings and are still 339 runs behind, staring down the barrel of an innings defeat.
Gidman will no doubt have his sights set on taking 10 wickets in the match to add to his superb hundred when play resumes with Gloucestershire seeking only their third championship win of the summer.
Continuing on 210 for four, the hosts’ aim was to bat as long as possible and wear down the pitch as well as their opponents.
The fifth-wicket pair of Marshall and Benny Howell commenced in positive fashion, feeding off a series of short deliveries as boundaries flowed.
They had already banked a second batting bonus point and were looking increasingly secure when their partnership of 69 ended as Howell hit Ben Raine to mid-off for 34.
Not content to act as the junior partner, new batsman Gidman immediately matched Marshall blow for blow despite the pitch becoming slower.
Veteran New Zealander Marshall was first to 50, raising that landmark with a square cut four off Shiv Thakor.
Having started the match on 856 first-class runs for the season, Marshall had three figures firmly in his sights when he was pinned lbw by Raine for 81.
Maximum batting points and a lead of 300 represented a minimum requirement for Gloucestershire and the in-form Gidman ensured both boxes were ticked.
His fifty came from 105 balls and the all-rounder required a further 45 deliveries to realise three figures.
He faced 183 balls in all and accrued 16 fours and two sixes to comfortably surpassed his previous career-best score of 116 not out, made in a losing cause against Northamptonshire in Bristol in 2011.
On loan from Middlesex and eager to earn a contract offer, off-spinner Tom Smith did his prospects no harm by posting his first half-century for Gloucestershire, more than holding his own in a progressive partnership of 131 in 35 overs with Gidman for the seventh wicket.
Required to negotiate 15 overs at the end of the day, Leicestershire were further undermined when Smith departed for nine, trapped lbw by David Payne's left-arm swing.