Leicestershire batsmen find their feet
Leicestershire produced a spirited fightback in their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Kent on another boundary-laden day at Grace Road.
Replying to Kent’s impressive 406, the hosts ended a rain-affected day on 250 for five from 80.4 overs, Niall O’Brien, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Matthew Boyce passing 50 and Ned Eckersley falling just four runs short.
That they lost Sarwan in the last over of the day somewhat took the gloss off a decent effort that featured 42 fours, yet they could still press into a lead tomorrow.
The first objective for Leicestershire was to avoid the follow-on - something they failed to do a week ago against Hampshire.
This time, however, the hosts were given a solid start by O'Brien and Michael Thornely, who gradually moved through the gears after taking nearly five overs to put the first run on the board.
O'Brien was dropped by Rob Key at slip off the impressive Calum Haggett on 22, and celebrated his escape by hitting Matt Coles for successive boundaries to bring up the fifty partnership.
However, Thornely popped up a simple catch to cover soon after, giving Haggett his first wicket.
O'Brien moved to a half-century off 90 balls, featuring seven boundaries, as his partnership with Eckersley began to prosper.
Eckersley, who was left marooned on 99 not out against Hampshire when rain washed out the final day, took the total to 100 with a straight-driven boundary off the first ball after lunch, the shot also raising the second half-century stand of the innings.
He continued to play aggressively until edging behind off Haggett having made an eye-catching 46 with 10 fours in a stand of 80.
O'Brien followed not long after, caught at slip as he went after a wide delivery from Haggett; his 63 came off 116 balls and contained nine fours.
Josh Cobb departed cheaply but Sarwan and Boyce steadied the ship with another important partnership for the fifth wicket.
A rain delay after tea did not hinder their concentration, and a Boyce boundary off Coles on the restart earned Leicestershire their first batting bonus point of the season.
Sarwan's ninth four brought up his fifty off 91 balls and Boyce also reached the landmark soon afterwards.
But Darren Stevens snapped up the vital wicket to end a stand of 95 between Sarwan and Boyce, who was unbeaten on 53 at the close, when having the West Indies batsman caught behind.