Wakely holds Northants together
Alex Wakely came within a whisker of a century on the second day of Northamptonshire’s finely-poised LV= County Championship Division Two match against Leicestershire at Wantage Road.
After the league leaders slumped to 70 for five, Wakely made 98 off 165 balls as his side were bowled out for 312 - one short of their opponents’ first-innings total.
Wayne White and Australia international Andrew McDonald took 3-92 and 3-51 respectively before Leicestershire closed on 52 for no wicket with the match very much in the balance.
Northants began the day on 32 for none, 281 behind their opponents, with openers Stephen Peters and Ben Howgego resuming on 26 and six respectively.
But Peters was to last just two balls before he was well caught at third slip by Matt Boyce off Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard.
Howgego then edged White to wicketkeeper Paul Dixey and Rob White soon followed when he nudged Nadeem Malik to the same player.
McDonald removed David Sales for 15 in his first over of the day when the batsman was slashed to Will Jefferson at second slip.
Northants captain Andrew Hall went cheaply by nudging McDonald’s wide delivery to Dixey to leave the hosts reeling.
James Middlebrook survived a scare when he was dropped at mid-off by Malik off White, but went two balls later after cracking 42 off 48 balls by edging the same bowler to Dixey.
But Wakely stuck around to complete his half-century off 92 balls as he and Chaminda Vaas stabilised the innings with a seventh-wicket stand of 96.
Wakely was to agonisingly fall two short of three figures when McDonald’s delivery went through his defences and took out his leg stump three overs before tea.
Hoggard took the second new ball as soon as it became available and, with the second delivery, he forced David Murphy to edge to Jefferson at second slip for 22.
Vaas departed on 46 in the next over when he launched White to Hoggard at midwicket before Malik ended the innings by taking out David Lucas’ off stump on 24.
Leicestershire managed to get off to a better start in their second innings than they did with their first, when they were reduced to 15 for three.
Their openers, Jefferson and Boyce, comfortably survived 18 overs and will resume tomorrow on 15 and 36 respectively.