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County Championship: Joe Burns stands firm for Leicestershire

Joe Burns: Leicestershire batsman led the way with unbeaten half-century

James Middlebrook: Northants spinner trapped Ned Eckersley lbw

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An unbeaten 67 by Joe Burns and a torrential afternoon downpour checked Northamptonshire's bid for victory on day three of their County Championship clash with Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Leicestershire closed on 142-3, still needing another 276 runs to avoid the follow-on in their reply to Northants 567-7 declared.

The heavy rain that arrived shortly after lunch left the ground saturated and, following a 5pm inspection, umpires Martin Bodenham and Steve O'Shaughnessy had little option but to abandon play for the day.

Leicestershire began the third day at 47-2, with Burns on 15 and Ned Eckersley 19, and both batsmen rode their luck in the early overs with Andrew Hall causing all manner of problems with his accurate medium-paced cutters.

But showing plenty of resilience, the third-wicket pair survived, with Burns particularly impressive.

The 23-year-old Australian has struggled for form since arriving a month ago to replace Ramnaresh Sarwan, away with the West Indies in the Champions Trophy, as Leicestershire's overseas player.

In his previous six innings in the Championship and Yorkshire Bank 40, Burns had a top score of only 21. That was on his debut against Glamorgan last month.

But he gradually grew in confidence as his innings progressed and a glorious straight six off James Middlebrook put him in sight of his first half-century for the county. It eventually came off 81 balls with six fours plus the six.

Eckersley also looked solid, but having reached 43 he was trapped lbw on the back foot by Middlebrook to end a stand of 99 in 34 overs.

Leicestershire went into lunch on 133-3 but only three more overs were possible after the break before the rain swept in, with Burns on 67 and Matt Boyce on six.

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