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Boyce century aids Leicestershire recovery

Leicestershire CCC

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Matthew Boyce hit an unbeaten 106 as struggling Leicestershire posted 318 for nine on the first day of the LV= County Championship Division Two game against third-placed Yorkshire at Grace Road.

It was the 26-year-old's second century of the season - both versus Yorkshire - as he helped to haul his side out of trouble after they had slumped to 98 for four.

Boyce, who was dropped on 26 and 94, shared half-century stands with Shiv Thakor, Wayne White and Claude Henderson.

Steve Patterson was Yorkshire's most successful bowler with 3-54, but there were mixed fortunes for Steve Harmison in his third game since joining the Tykes on loan from Durham.

The former England fast bowler took 2-69 in 16 overs, but conceded 19 runs in wides and no-balls.

Leicestershire made hard work of things on a slow-paced pitch after winning the toss, losing their first wicket with the score at 20 in the ninth over.

All the runs were scored by Greg Smith, who was then out lbw playing across the line to a delivery from Patterson that kept a touch low.

Matthew Boyce

Number five Matthew Boyce's unbeaten 106 lifted Leicestershire to 318 for nine against visitors Yorkshire by stumps at Grace Road

Smith's opening partner, Michael Thornely, took 31 balls to get off the mark, which he did in style with three consecutive boundaries off Moin Ashraf.

However, Patterson struck again, this time trapping Ned Eckersley lbw with the total at 50.

The introduction of Harmison brought more success for Yorkshire, with the fast bowler shattering Ramnaresh Sarwan's stumps with a fine yorker.

It was, however, an erratic five-over spell by Harmison, who conceded 28 runs, 13 of them with wides and no-balls.

Thornely, having patiently battled his way to 31, lost concentration in the last over before lunch, edging a catch behind off Ashraf to leave Leicestershire wobbling on 98 for four.

Their position could have become even worse had Boyce not been dropped at slip off Patterson when he was on 26.

Boyce made Yorkshire pay by sharing a vital fifth-wicket stand of 68 with the highly-rated Thakor, until the 18-year-old drove a catch to short extra-cover off Ashraf after contributing 35 to the partnership.

Another off-target four-over spell from Harmison added to the extras count before Boyce reached his fifty off 117 balls with six fours.

White hoisted off-spinner Azeem Rafiq over the long-on boundary for six, and a leg-glance to the rope by Boyce brought Leicestershire only their second batting point in the last four games.

The sixth-wicket pair shared another valuable stand of 60 in 22 overs before White was caught at mid-on, mistiming another big hit.

Harmison picked up the wicket of Paul Dixey in a much-improved third spell with the ball, but Henderson added 50 with Boyce for the eighth wicket.

Boyce was dropped again on 94, this time by Jonny Bairstow, and reached his century with a straight driven four off Harmison just before the close, having hit 12 boundaries in a 221-ball innings.

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