Sarwan shines for Leicestershire

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Ramnaresh Sarwan gave the West Indies selectors a timely reminder of his Test credentials with a second century of the season for Leicestershire on the first day of the LV= County Championship Division Two match against Essex at Grace Road.

The 31-year-old was the star of the show as the hosts fought back after a nightmare start to reach 323 for five by the close.

Sarwan, who shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 216 with Josh Cobb, batted for just over five hours for his 117.

It added up to a fine recovery by Leicestershire, who slumped to 29 for three in the 10th over with Will Jefferson out to the first ball of the day in his maiden game of the season following a back injury.

David Masters found the edge of Jefferson's bat and Tom Westley took the catch at slip.

Ramnaresh Sarwan

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit his second ton of the term as Leicestershire dominated Essex at Grace Road racking up a score of 323 for five

When Matthew Boyce was then bowled by Masters, and Greg Smith had his stumps spreadeagled by Charl Willoughby, it began to look as though the home side had made a big mistake in deciding to bat.

But Sarwan and Cobb turned the game on its head with their magnificent stand spanning 60 overs. It was a record for the fourth wicket for Leicestershire against Essex, beating the previous best of 127 in 1900.

They were helped by some erratic bowling from the Essex attack that saw 48 extras pile up. Tymal Mills, the highly-rated fast bowler who toured Bangladesh with England Lions over the winter, twice bowled no-balls that went to the boundary over the head of wicketkeeper James Foster.

There was also some superb strokeplay from Sarwan and Cobb, who both combined enterprising attack with disciplined defence. 

Sarwan's fifty contained eight boundaries and came off 75 balls while Cobb reached a half-century off 138 deliveries and also hit eight fours.

The impressive Sarwan completed his century just before tea. It came off 154 balls and contained 14 sweetly struck boundaries.

The stand was finally broken by Masters, who lured Cobb into skying a catch to deep midwicket on 80.

Masters, by far the best of the Essex bowlers, then trapped Sarwan lbw with the second new ball to finish the day with figures of 4-57 from 25 overs.

Wayne White was still there at the close on 41 not out to leave Leicestershire in a strong position.

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