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Cricket: Skipper's loss takes shine off a good day for Leicestershire CCC against Kent

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Leicestershire's County Championship clash with Kent at Grace Road was finely poised as it reached the halfway stage.

County were on the verge of claiming second-day honours yesterday with a robust response to Kent's first-innings score of 406.

However, the fall of skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan in the final over of the day evened up matters.

The loss of Sarwan will have been a huge disappointment for the home camp.

He and Matthew Boyce had added 95 runs for the fifth-wicket, securing a second bonus point and moving their side to within seven runs of avoiding the follow-on.

The West Indian had played with great responsibility to reach 54, only for his resistance to end when Darren Stevens, armed with the new ball for the last six balls of a rain-affected day, had Sarwan caught behind by Geraint Jones.

That left Boyce unbeaten at the other end on 53, the left-hander having provided great support to Sarwan after the pair came together with Leicestershire on 155-4 and a whiff of trouble in the air.

Up to that point, County had largely controlled the day's play.

Openers Niall O'Brien and Michael Thornely got the innings off to a solid start – and how often has that been the case in the recent past?

They showed great patience – it was not until the fifth over of the day that the first run went on the board – and put on 53 for the opening stand before Thornely drove Callum Haggett straight to cover.

That brought Ned Eckersley to the crease and an enterprising stand of 80 followed as he and O'Brien played positively against the Kent seamers.

Eckersley, who had finished unbeaten on 99 in County's draw with Hampshire last week, found the boundary ropes on 10 occasions before he edged Haggett into Jones' gloves.

O'Brien had long since passed 50 at that point, again punishing anything loose that came along as the bowlers struggled in the windy conditions.

However, the Irishman fell for 63, just five runs after Eckersley's departure, and when Josh Cobb was bowled by Mark Davies for eight – beaten by a ball which kept horribly low on him – Leicestershire were suddenly faced with the task of rebuilding their innings either side of tea.

Sarwan and Boyce did exactly that and, by the interval, County had progressed to 197 without any further losses.

A sharp shower saw 10 more overs lost – five having been shed immediately after lunch – but the fifth-wicket pair still knew that they had 23 overs of batting to face if they were to consolidate their side's position.

It would have been easy for Sarwan and Boyce to go into their shells and for the innings to stall.

They avoided that with some excellent shot selection, the boundaries flowing as they had on the opening day.

But just when it appeared their evening's work had been done, former County favourite Stevens stepped in with the final word on another absorbing day's play.

Cricket: Skipper's loss takes shine off a good day for Leicestershire CCC against Kent


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