Slow going at Swansea
Robert Croft was one away from taking 1,000 first-class wickets for Glamorgan following the first day of their LV= County Championship Division Two match against Leicestershire at Swansea.
The 40-year-old off-spinner went into the game on 997 wickets, needing three more to become the first Glamorgan player to achieve the double of 1,000 wickets and 10,000 runs.
Croft claimed two of those wickets today as Leicestershire finished the day on 225 for five with half-centuries for James Taylor and Jacques du Toit.
After winning the toss the visitors made slow progress in the morning, reaching lunch at 71 for one after 33 overs.
One of the main reasons for Leicestershire’s low scoring rate was an accurate spell with the new ball from James Harris who went for only eight runs from his opening nine overs.
Openers Will Jefferson and Matthew Boyce looked to have weathered the threat of the new ball on a slow pitch until Mark Cosgrove produced a stunning left-handed catch at first slip to remove Jefferson off Jim Allenby.
To resounding applause, Croft came into the attack just before lunch and produced three consecutive maidens. The scoring rate did not rise much above two runs an over in the opening two sessions as the visitors reached 151 for two by tea.
Croft got on the way towards his landmark by taking his 998th victim in his ninth over. Bowling around the wicket he had the left-handed Boyce caught behind from a ball which bounced out of the rough.
Like Harris, the former England off-spinner was impressively economical with his first 15 overs going for only 13 runs. But in his next over he was planted over long-on for six by Taylor.
By tea he and du Toit had put on an unbeaten partnership of 62 in 24 overs with du Toit completing his fifty from 126 balls in the final ball before the interval.
Shortly after tea Taylor also went to his half-century from 124 balls with four fours and a six.
Glamorgan’s tactic of giving Croft the second new ball worked when he struck almost immediately as he dismissed du Toit, who was caught behind attempting to cut the off-spinner.
Harris also struck with the new ball as he had Paul Nixon caught at second slip by Jamie Dalrymple for a duck as Leicestershire were reduced from 201 for two to 206 for four.
And two overs from the close Dean Cosker trapped Taylor leg before to make it Glamorgan’s day.