Smith strengthens Leicestershire's hand

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Greg Smith (Leicestershire)

Greg Smith hit an unbeaten half-century as Leicestershire built on a first-innings advantage worth 136. They led by 283 at the close

Leicestershire excelled with bat and ball as they dominated the second day of the LV= County Championship game against Gloucestershire at Grace Road.

After dismissing Gloucestershire for 159, Leicestershire moved into a commanding position by reaching 147 for one at stumps to lead by 283.

Greg Smith was still there at the close on 70, having shared stands of 69 with Matt Boyce and 78 with Jacques Du Toit to complete an impressive day for the home side.

It was a feeble batting performance from Gloucestershire, who still harbour hopes of snatching the second promotion place in Division Two.

After the start was delayed for 45 minutes because of early-morning mist and damp conditions, Gloucestershire lost their last eight wickets for 105 runs in 45 overs.

It would have been an even lower total but for a determined 61 from Hamish Marshall. The next highest contribution came from opener Jon Batty, who made 29.

Batty began the day on 24 with Gloucestershire 54 for two - trailing by 241. But he had added just five to his score before he was caught behind off Matthew Hoggard to end a third-wicket stand of 71 with Marshall.

It proved to be the last partnership of any substance as the Gloucestershire innings subsided in the face of some accurate bowling from Leicestershire’s seamers and spinners.

Nathan Buck picked up his third wicket of the innings when he squared up Alex Gidman to find the edge and provide wicketkeeper Tom New with another comfortable catch.

Marshall remained defiant, reaching 50 off 72 balls with eight fours, but the turning point came when Nadeem Malik dismissed the Kiwi and Chris Taylor in the last over before lunch to reduce Gloucestershire to 117 for six.

It was turgid fare after the break as Gloucestershire scored 38 runs in 21 overs before spinners Claude Henderson and Jigar Naik both took two wickets in an over.

Henderson had James Franklin caught and bowled for 23 and trapped Jon Lewis lbw, while Naik brought the innings to a close by having Ed Young taken at slip and Anthony Ireland caught at mid-on.

Naik finished with 2-9 off 3.5 overs and Henderson conceded only 17 runs in 18 overs for his two wickets. Buck claimed 3-47 and two wickets fell in an over on four occasions.

Leicestershire tightened the screw as Smith and Boyce shared a confident opening partnership of 69 that ended when Boyce mistimed a pull off Franklin to be caught at midwicket.

But there were no more alarms as Smith went to his fifty off 89 balls and, along with Du Toit, steered Leicestershire to the close and into a match-winning position.

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