Henderson puts Essex in a spin

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Claude Henderson

Claude Henderson, second left, was the pick of Leicestershire's bowlers as Essex were dismissed for a paltry 144 at Southend

Claude Henderson took four wickets as bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire gained the upper hand on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division Two battle against Essex at Southend.

After bowling out their opponents for a modest 144, they responded with 100 for three at the close to complete a rewarding day for James Taylor, who was leading Leicestershire for the first time in a championship match in place of the injured Matthew Hoggard.

And it will be the precocious right-hander who will be looking for a big score tomorrow after he and Jay Cobb were unbeaten on 13 and eight respectively at the close.

Taylor's decision to insert Essex after winning the toss did not look an inspired one as the home side reached lunch on 82 for three.

But afterwards they lost their remaining wickets for just 62 during the course of 30 overs, with left-arm spinner Henderson playing the leading role.

He returned figures of 4-43 in 18 overs with three of his victims - Owais Shah, Jaik Mickleburgh and Ryan ten Doeschate - coming in a 19-ball spell costing just two runs.

Ravi Bopara, also skippering Essex for the first time in a four-day game, was the only batsman to offer prolonged resistance.

He hung around for two-and-a-quarter hours in making 37 from 115 balls before he was trapped lbw by medium-pacer Wayne White with a delivery that kept low.

Shah and Tom Craddock were the only other batsmen to reach 20 as Essex slumped to their second-lowest score of the season.

Nathan Buck and White provided Henderson with his main support with 2-16 and 2-26 respectively.

Will Jefferson and Matt Boyce launched Leicestershire to a sound start with a partnership of 54, the best of the day.

It ended when Jefferson, who had taken three boundaries from Craddock's opening over of leg-spin, was superbly caught for 39 by wicketkeeper Adam Wheater diving to his left.

That provided fast bowler Maurice Chambers with success and he was to strike again in his next over when he had Greg Smith caught on the long-leg boundary.

Soon afterwards, Boyce was strangled down the leg side by left-arm paceman Tymal Mills to provide Wheater with his second catch.

It all added up to a miserable day for batsmen but generally it was a series of poor strokes rather than any devil in the pitch that was responsible for their lack of runs.

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