Despite a remarkable 90 from Marchant de Lange from just 45 balls with 5 fours and 8 sixes, Glamorgan fell four runs short of chasing a target of 251 on the third day of a truly remarkable Specsavers County Championship match against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
Close of Play Report
Glamorgan were 35/2 , still needing a further 216 runs when play resumed after tea, and their plight did not improve as four overs into the session, Kiran Carlson was caught down the leg-side by wicket-keeper Lewis Hill as he tried to glance Gavin Griffiths. With Aneurin Donald as his new partner, Jack Murphy continued to work the ball around and brought up the 50 with a clip into the leg-side against the spin of Callum Parkinson.
But with the total on 51, Ben Raine returned to the fray and removed Murphy who lost his off-stump shouldering arms to the seamer. Donald responded by drilling the Durham-born bowler through extra-cover for four before square-cutting Parkinson to the boundary boards. Chris Cooke also cover-drove Varun Aaron but the Indian paceman made further inroads into the visitor’s batting as he bowled Donald for 15.
70/5 saw David Lloyd join Cooke who cover-drove Neil Dexter for four before Lloyd drilled Aaron to the boards at long-on. But the bowler made the perfect riposte as two balls later he trapped Lloyd l.b.w. He nearly added the wicket of Cooke as next over Atiq Javid dropped a chance at cover point. Cooke celebrated his good fortune by driving Neil Dexter to the boards at cover point.
Cooke then survived a second chance, albeit more difficult, as Hill – diving low to his right – could not grasp an edge as the Glamorgan keeper attempted to drive Dexter. Andrew Salter also harpooned Gavin Griffiths to deep square-leg before Cooke dispatched Dexter through cover point for another four. But with the total on 107 Griffiths had an l.b.w. appeal upheld against Salter.
De Lange announced his arrival by straight-driving Griffiths for six whilst Cooke pulled Raine for four. De Lange then repeated the stroke against Griffiths before hoisting him over long-on for another maximum as he continued to unfurl a series of lusty blows. De Lange also survived a run out chance but next ball Raine found the edge of Cooke’s bat with Hill atoning for his fumble with the throw from the previous delivery gleefully pouching the ball.
Timm van der Gugten edged Aaron for four before drilling him to long-on for four as the pair continued to play some unorthodox blows. Van der Gugten also pulled Aaron for four before straight-driving him for four. De Lange greeted the left-arm spin of Callum Parkinson by driving him to long-off for four before depositing him onto the pavilion balcony for six. The next delivery was a high full toss, which was called a no ball and swatted over square-leg for six.
He then secured a single to complete a 32-ball fifty but van der Gugten perished l.b.w. to the next delivery as Hogan walked to the middle with 56 still needed. This immediately became 50 as de Lange struck Aaron for six in the direction of Hinckley. Hogan then cover drove Aaron for four before the next ball struck the fielding helmet giving fine penalty runs.
De Lange then struck the next two deliveries from Parkinson for six before smearing Griffiths for four through the covers. The last pair then ran a series of singles before De Lange again struck Griffiths over mid-wicket for six followed by a drive through point for four to reduce the target down to nine as Raine returned to the attack in a bid to stem the haemorhage of runs. After surviving a near run out scampering a single, de Lange struck Raine for another straight four but he then perished attempting to repeat the stroke and holed out to Parkinson at long on as the home side won by 3 runs and complete their first Championship win since September 2016
Leicestershire resumed on 191/7 with Callum Parkinson and Ben Raine looking to eke out a few more runs. Despite his lengthy pre-lunch spell, Michael Hogan resumed the bowling in tandem with Marchant de Lange who, in his second over of the session, removed Parkinson as Cooke completed another fine diving catch. 198/8 then became 205/9 as Gavin Griffiths gave Cooke another catch, this time in regulation fashion as Hogan claimed his fifth wicket.
With Varun Aaron as his new partner, Raine clubbed de Lange for six over long-on en route to a 61-ball fifty, followed by a pair of lusty on-drives against Hogan, plus another hefty swipe to long-off against De Lange. Aaron also late-cut Hogan for four but the innings ended next over with the total on 237 as Raine top-edged a pull against de Lange and holed out to Aneurin Donald running in from deep mid-wicket.
This left Glamorgan with 59 overs, plus all of tomorrow, to chase a target of 251 and Jack Murphy made a pleasing start as he cover-drove Aaron for four. But three overs later, Raine made an initial incision as Selman feathered a catch to wicket-keeper Lewis Hill. Having been joined by Shaun Marsh, Murphy twice cover drove Aaron for a pair of well-timed fours before clipping Raine off his legs to the ropes at square-leg.
But with the total on 24, Gavin Griffiths entered the attack and with his fourth ball, he bowled Marsh with a full length delivery. Murphy responded by steering Raine through point for four
“I don’t like Mondays” was the title of The Boomtown Rats number one hit in 1979, and if Sir Bob Geldof and his colleagues were to compose a ballad about the batsmen’s experiences here at Grace Road on the opening two days of this enthralling contest he would have to call it “I don’t like Mornings” given the fact that five wickets tumbled before lunch on the opening day, followed by seven yesterday as Glamorgan dramatically lost their last ten wickets for 96 runs.
Rain subsequently saw the loss of an hour and a quarter’s play after tea, so when Leicestershire resumed this morning, 132 runs ahead, Glamorgan’s bowlers were hoping that this curious, and largely inexplicable pattern would continue in their favour. Marchant de Lange and Michael Hogan undertook the bowling duties as Mark Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann continued their partnership. Ackermann edged Hogan through the slips for the days first boundary but in the next over he edged Hogan again and was caught at first slip by David Lloyd.
128/3 then became 133/5 as Hogan struck twice within the space of eight balls as firstly Cosgrove feathered a ball into Chris Cooke’s gloves before Atiq Javid departed l.b.w. to the gleeful red ball captain. Lewis Hill was fortunate to edge Hogan through the slip cordon, but two overs later, Neil Dexter was not so lucky as Cooke dived like a salmon to his right to pouch a low edge as Hogan claimed his fourth wicket of the session and reduce Leicestershire to 142/6.
Ben Raine announced his arrival by clubbing van der Gugten for four and six to extra cover and long on respectively, but in his next over, the Dutchman removed Hill as he under-edged a cut with the ball cannoning into his stumps. 158/7 saw Callum Parkinson join Raine who used the long handle to biff Hogan to wide mid-wicket before splicing van der Gugten over the head of gully for four.
He continued his cavalier blows by advancing down the wicket to flat-bat Hogan through the covers for four before top-edging a pull against de Lange which safely bisected the fielders converging at mid-wicket desperate to end his merry spree which had taken his team’s lead close to the 200-mark. Shortly before lunch, Lloyd replaced Hogan at the Pavilion End after a magnificent spell of 13-5-27-4.