A forthright 101 by Richard Levi saw Northamptonshire to 310 and a first innings lead of 103 on the second day of their rain-affected Specsavers County Championship match against Glamorgan at The SSE SWALEC. In reply the Welsh county ended the day on 63/1
Resuming after tea on 248/4 and a lead of 41 runs, Northants were looking to further improve their position but Glamorgan surged back into the game. The clatter of wickets began in the second over of the session, as de Lange removed Keogh as the umpire upheld the l.b.w. appeal with Alex Wakely making a belated appearance in the middle. But it proved to be very brief as 250/5 became 251/6 as Michael Hogan bowled his opposite number.
Rory Kleinveldt duly joined Cobb but nine runs later Hogan struck again as Cobb drove in the air to mid-on where Meschede completed the catch as the Glamorgan captain moved even closer to his goal of 500 first-class wickets. It then became 275/8 as Simon Kerrigan was spectacularly caught down the leg-side by Chris Cooke as he fended off a rising delivery from de Lange.
Kleinveldt then nurdled de Lange for four before biffing his fellow Protea through mid-off for another boundary. But de Lange had the last laugh as next over, and with the total on 292, Kleinveldt chipped a ball to cover where Kiran Carlson completed the catch. Mohammed Azharullah and Richard Gleeson saw Northants to their third batting point before the latter was bowled by Craig Meschede as the visitors ended on 310 and a lead of 103.
This left Jacques Rudolph and Nick Selman fifteen overs to negotiate before the close and the latter duly clipped the third ball of the innings from Kleinveldt to fine-leg for four. Rudolph also began with a boundary as he drilled Gleeson through mid-off but the bowler made the perfect riposte next over as he clean bowled Selman with Glamorgan on 21/1.
Jack Murphy began with a firm on-drive and a pair of pulls for four against Gleeson, whilst Rudolph cover drove both Kleinveldt and Gleeson as Glamorgan reached the 50-mark in the tenth over .Having entered the attack at the River End, Kerrigan switched ends to bowl in tandem with Rob Keogh for the final quarter of an hour, with the left armer being twice driven for four by Rudolph to mid-off as the second wicket pair batted through to the close.
If there were any doubts about Northants’ position overnight, the promotion-seeking side took the upper hand this morning as they enjoyed the better of the morning session, adding 78 runs in 14.2 overs with Richard Levi plundering 47 from 45 balls as his side reached lunch just 70 runs in arrears. The burly Springbok duly completed his fifty in the second over of the session as the home bowlers again had to contend with the blustery conditions.
Shortly afterwards, Levi also clipped Hogan for a single to mid-wicket as the third-wicket pair completed a century stand. But with the total on 153, their partnership was ended as Hogan trapped Newton l.b.w. for 67. With Alex Wakely still nursing a damaged digit, Rob Keogh was the next man to take guard as Hogan and de Lange put a brake on the visitor’s progress as Levi accumulated solely in singles.
After three-quarters of an hour, the first boundary came as Levi on-drove de Lange before Andrew Salter had a spell at the River End. Salter nearly claimed a wicket in his opening over as Keogh pulled a full toss high to long-on where Meschede held a stunning one-handed catch running backwards but his elation, like that of his colleagues, was swiftly doused by the signal of no-ball from the umpire.
Keogh celebrated his good fortune by straight-driving Salter for four whilst Levi also nurdled the off-spinner for four.. The fifty stand duly came up as Keogh laconically clipped Meschede through mid-wicket for four as the scores were levelled after 50 overs. Levi took his side into the ascendancy as he unleashed a coruscating cover drive for four in Salter’s next over before Keogh deftly leg-glanced Lukas Carey for four.
Levi also lofted Carey to the mid-wicket ropes before swatting the next delivery through point for another firmly struck boundary. Levi then on-drove Meschede for four en route to his century from 95 balls as he cover drove the all-rounder later in the over . But one run later his innings ended as he edged a drive against Carey into Cooke’s gloves, and the young seamer nearly had a third scalp next over as Josh Cobb almost drilled a ball to Rudolph at cover.
It was difficult to gauge who had the better of the first day’s play with Glamorgan dismissed for 207 after opting to bat first and then Northants already having lost two wickets by the close and with two key players sustaining injuries, with captain Alex Wakely nursing a finger injury sustained whilst fielding in the slips and all-rounder Rory Kleinveldt a leg strain which saw him abruptly pull up in his delivery stride.
With Northamptonshire still in the promotion hunt, more than a few glances were made this morning in the direction of the visiting medics as well as to the local weather forecasts, after the elements had played a role yesterday in forcing the players off with an hour still to go because of bad light and then rain. The precipitation continued overnight with a series of blustery showers preventing a prompt start at 10.30am, but play did get underway at 12noon with a further 24 overs lost from the day’s allocation.
Northants began on 59/2, still 148 runs in arrears with Richard Levi cover-driving Michael Hogan for four to register the day’s first boundary. Rob Newton edged Craig Meschede’s fourth ball just wide of a diving second slip before Levi clipped Hogan to mid-wicket. The South African batsman then turned his attention to Lukas Carey as he straight drove the 20 year-old seamer, with Newton also clipping Hogan to the ropes at mid-wicket.
Levi then pulled Carey to mid-wicket where Carlson parried the ball in a brave attempt to catch the ball whilst Newton found the ropes again as he steered Hogan through backward point. Levi then swatted Carey over deep square-leg for six but he continued to live dangerously as he top-edged an ambitious drive over the slip cordon.
Newton clipped Carey to fine-leg to bring up the 100, before Levi again despatched him through the covers before hoisting the next ball to mid-wicket. The South African then square-cut his fellow countryman Marchant de Lange when the paceman replaced Carey shortly before lunch with Newton also completing a 95-ball fifty with a pair of firm drives against Meschede..