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Late fightback denies Leicestershire

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Jacques du Toit

Jacques du Toit's 122 took Leicestershire agonisingly close to the winning post of 361 before Surrey launched a fightback

Leicestershire came within 23 runs of snatching an unlikely victory against Surrey on a thrilling final day of the rain-hit LV= County Championship Division Two clash at Grace Road.

Set a target of 361 in 76 overs, Leicestershire finished on 338 for eight after centuries from Jacques du Toit and Paul Nixon put them within sight of their sixth win of the season.

But then they lost five wickets for 42 runs in 11 overs as Surrey's bowlers struck back to set up a nail-biting finish and the two sides had to settle for a draw.

Nixon and du Toit shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 183 in 36 overs and when the South African was out for 122 Leicestershire required 69 runs off 12 overs for victory.

Excellent bowling from Chris Tremlett, Gareth Batty and Jade Dernbach pegged them back and Surrey needed two wickets in the final over to clinch victory.

Nadeem Malik and Nathan Buck survived to ensure the game and ended in a draw.

After the complete washout on the third day both captains agreed to set up the chance of a positive result with Leicestershire declaring their first innings on 123 without loss after scoring 91 in 18.2 overs off some ‘declaration’ bowling from Surrey.

The visitors then forfeited their second innings, leaving the home side to tackle what looked a demanding run chase.

They lost their first wicket in the ninth over with 38 on the board when Greg Smith was lbw to Steven Cheetham but Matt Boyce and du Toit steadied things with a solid second-wicket stand.

Although the batsman rarely looked in trouble the pace was steady rather than spectacular and the departure of Boyce, who was bowled sweeping at Batty, was immediately followed when James Taylor was trapped lbw next ball.

That left Leicestershire 109 for three and opened the way for du Toit and veteran Nixon to launch the counter attack that produced a thrilling afternoon of cricket.

Both began carefully but accelerated as the game moved on with du Toit first to 50 off 96 balls, followed by Nixon who reached his half-century off 71 balls.

The century stand came off 24 overs and then both players stepped up the rate with du Toit hitting a superb straight six off Batty.

He reached his hundred with another boundary, having hit seven fours and a six with his second 50 taking only 46 balls.

But having made 122 du Toit clipped a catch to midwicket off Cheetham and from there Leicestershire's victory bid slowed.

Nixon completed his well deserved first century of the season off 140 balls with nine boundaries before being deceived and bowled by a slower delivery from Dernbach.

That ended the home side’s hopes of the win that would have kept them in the promotion chase. Surrey's attack bowled some tight final overs, with Tremlett finishing on 2-87 and Batty 3-78.