Leicestershire seize the initiative

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Wayne White

Wayne White dismissed Tom Westley with the final ball of the second day to give Leicestershire the upper hand against Essex at Grace Road

Late wickets from Nathan Buck and Wayne White put Leicestershire on top against Essex on the second day of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash at Grace Road.

Buck had Adam Wheater caught behind and White trapped Tom Westley lbw for 81 with the last ball of the day to leave Essex on 239 for five - still 133 runs in arrears.

Westley and Mark Pettini, who contributed 57, looked to have given Essex the edge with a third-wicket stand of 133 until the two late dismissals turned things in Leicestershire's favour again.

David Masters completed a six-wicket haul at the start of the day as Leicestershire suffered a late-order collapse.

The hosts will have been disappointed to miss out on maximum batting points having resumed on 323 for five, losing their last five wickets for 21 runs in eight overs.

Masters, who left Leicestershire to join Essex five years ago, finished with 6-82. This was the fifth time in 11 games against Leicestershire that he has taken at least five wickets; last season he claimed a career best 8-10 at Southend.

The 34-year-old seamer, who had picked up four of the five wickets to fall on the first day, collected two more as Leicestershire's innings folded rapidly following a 20-minute stoppage for a rain shower.

White, having reached 50 off 104 balls with seven fours, edged Charl Willoughby to slip before Masters dismissed Ned Eckersley with a catch behind, then bowled Matthew Hoggard to bring the innings to an end.

On a slow-paced pitch, Billy Godleman and Alviro Petersen gave Essex their best start so far this season. They put on 54 in 17 overs until Hoggard struck twice in successive overs, trapping both openers leg before.

Westley and Pettini put the brake on Leicestershire's progress with a gritty partnership, although both survived difficult chances.

Will Jefferson just got his fingertips to an edge from Pettini and Westley was put down by Ramnaresh Sarwan at slip on 31.

He went on to reach his 50 off 103 balls with nine boundaries, and Pettini completed his half-century off 117 balls with five fours.

White finally broke through Pettini's defence to flatten his off stump and end a stand of 135 in 42 overs.

Buck then had Adam Wheater caught behind before White snapped up the vital wicket of Westley - who hit 12 fours in his 172-ball innings.

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