• Specsavers County Championship 3m

    Tavare and Van Buuren score big in Bristol

    Will Tavare and Graeme van Buuren both hit fifties as Gloucestershire reach 236-4 against Leicestershire.

    Will Tavare and Graeme van Buuren registered half centuries as Gloucestershire reached the close on 236-4 on the opening day against Leicestershire at the Brightside Ground, Bristol.


    The third wicket pair batted throughout the afternoon session, adding 127 after Gloucestershire had been put in by opponents who failed to make best use of the new ball.

    But the Foxes fought back during the final session, removing South African all-rounder van Buuren and George Hankins in quick succession and restricting the run rate thereafter to put themselves back in contention before bad light brought a premature conclusion at the end of the 88th over.

    Highlights: Gloucestershire v Leicestershire - Day 1

    Will Tavare and Graeme van Buuren both hit fifties as Gloucestershire reach 236-4 against Leicestershire.

    Determined to make amends after being shot out for 61 in their second innings and crashing to a heavy defeat in their Second Division opener at Kent last week, Gloucestershire summoned a gutsy response in their first home game of the season.

    No-one demonstrated powers of recovery more admirably than Tavare, whose stubborn innings of 73 not out, chiseled from 213 balls and spanning just under four hours, characterised Gloucestershire's approach. 

    While van Buuren and Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft, who dominated an opening stand of 52 with Chris Dent, were prepared to play their shots and entertain a sparse Bank Holiday crowd, Tavare dropped anchor to provide the innings with the kind of gravitas that had been missing at Canterbury last time out.

    Mustering concentration and defiance in equal measure, the Bristolian ensured Gloucestershire were able to bank their first batting bonus points of the season and assume the upper hand against a Leicestershire side following their mauling at the hands of Nottinghamshire.

    Having helped shore up the innings in conditions conducive to swing following the departure of Bancroft and Dent prior to lunch, Tavare happily played second fiddle to the dashing van Buuren as the third wicket pair held sway during what turned out to be an afternoon of toil for Leicestershire's miss-firing seam attack.

    Promoted up the order in the absence of the unwell Gareth Roderick, the Titans all-rounder survived a searching examination from Ben Raine to stamp his authority and change the complexion of the game, carving 50 from 65 balls as the home side seized the initiative.

    Within sight of what would have been his third first class hundred for the county, the 26-year-old Pretorian edged a length ball from Raine behind for 79, cutting short an enterprising innings that comprised 128 balls and included 12 fours.

    When Hankins chased a ball outside his off stump and was held at first slip off the bowling of Gavin Griffiths soon afterwards, Gloucestershire were 204-4 and in need of reassurance. 

    It was provided by the dependable Tavare and veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Phil Mustard, who kept Leicestershire at bay until bad light hastened the end of proceedings. Tavare is 27 runs short of registering his second hundred of the campaign and, in this mood, will clearly take some shifting when play resumes.

    Leicestershire elected to bowl first and wasted the new ball as their front-line seamers struggled to muster line and length on a consistent basis.

    Griffiths claimed his maiden Championship wicket when bowling Bancroft for 32 with a superb in-swinging yorker, while Richard Jones bowled Dent via an inside edge for 20. But Gloucestershire's openers had done enough to take the shine off the ball.

    No doubt piqued at seeing four catches go down, Foxes captain Mark Cosgrove made a point when coming into the attack ahead of schedule in the 45th over. By that time, Gloucestershire had assumed a crucial foothold and van Buuren and Tavare were up and running.

    Gloucestershire batsman Graeme van Buuren said: "We didn't dwell on what happened against Kent and instead trusted in our preparation and the hard work we had done in pre-season. I got a couple of easy balls to get a start and then let my bat do the talking. But Leicestershire put the ball in good areas and we couldn't have done it without Will Tavare. We needed somebody to dig in and provide a base and he did that brilliantly.

    Seam bowler Gavin Griffiths thought his Leicestershire side were unlucky: "We had a lot of near misses and didn't get the luck we deserved. I felt we put the ball in the right areas quite often, but Gloucestershire showed you can score runs if you apply yourself. The fact we put down four catches is frustrating, but we fought back well in the last session and are still in the game. There is still a bit in the pitch and we have to make the new ball work for us in the morning." 


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