Gloom curtails Eagles hunt
Poor light sees Grace Road clash end in tame draw
Last Updated: 19/05/12 5:24pm
The weather ruined any chance of a result in Leicestershire's LV= County Championship Division Two game against Essex.
The visitors were set a victory target of 270 in 60 overs at Grace Road, but in gloomy conditions, umpires Peter Willey and Jeremy Lloyds finally abandoned the game at 3.45pm, with Essex on 30-2 from 12.2 overs.
The draw earned Essex 10 points and Leicestershire nine.
A steady drizzle throughout the morning prevented any play before lunch, and Leicestershire resumed their second innings on 148-3 with 26 overs having been lost because of the stoppage.
But, in an attempt to fashion a positive result, Leicestershire were fed a diet of declaration bowling, and thrashed 158 runs off 7.3 overs before calling a halt to the carnage on 306-5, with top-scorer Ramnaresh Sarwan going from his overnight 61 to 98 in a matter of minutes before skying a catch to mid-wicket.
But the Eagles' run chase never materialised and the poor light caused the umpires to abandon the game after an early tea.
Essex teenager Ben Foakes narrowly missed out on a century on his debut as their match with Leicestershire ended day three delicately poised.
The 19-year-old made 93 as the visitors took their overnight score of 239-5 to 409 all out at Grace Road, before Leicestershire moved on to 148-3 in their second innings - a lead of 111.
Essex enjoyed a productive first session, adding 121 runs in 32 overs for the loss of James Foster, edging a beauty from Matthew Hoggard for 26.
It ended a partnership of 87 with England U19 player Foakes, who looked untroubled and cover-drove Wayne White to the boundary twice in one over.
He went into lunch on 93 but failed to add to his score after the break, edging a fine delivery from White to wicketkeeper Ned Eckersley in the third over of the afternoon.
Matt Boyce and Greg Smith went cheaply when Leicestershire batted again, but first innings centurion Ramnaresh Sarwan and Will Jefferson steered the home side back into the game with a third-wicket stand of 97, halted when Jefferson was out for 49 just before the close as bad light and rain brought an early end with 6.2 overs remaining.
Tom Westley fell for 81 to the final ball of the day as Essex closed on 239-5 in reply to Leicestershire's first-innings total of 372 at Grace Road.
Westley received support from Mark Pettini during a third-wicket stand of 135 after Foxes skipper Matthew Hoggard had removed both openers, Alviro Petersen (13) and Billy Godleman (28), lbw with the new ball.
Pettini (57) was bowled by seamer Wayne White (2-40) shortly after reaching his third half-century of the season.
But Westley appeared on track for three figures until White made his second intervention, winning an lbw verdict with the last act of day two.
Earlier, White went foor 53 as Leicestershire's last five wickets added only 49 runs to their overnight 323-5.
Essex's seamers carved up the wickets, David Masters leading the way with 6-82.
Ramnaresh Sarwan gave the West Indies selectors a timely reminder of his Test credentials with a second century of the season for Leicestershire against Essex.
The 31-year-old dominated day one as Leicestershire fought back after a nightmare start to reach 323-5 by the close.
Sarwan, who shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 216 with Josh Cobb (80), batted for just over five hours for his 117.
It added up to a fine recovery by Leicestershire, who slumped to 29-3 in the 10th over with Will Jefferson out to the first ball of the day in his first game of the season following a back injury.
David Masters found the edge of Jefferson's bat with his first delivery and Tom Westley took the catch at slip.
When Matthew Boyce was then bowled by Masters, and Greg Smith had his stumps spread-eagled by Charl Willoughby, it began to look as though the home side had made a big mistake deciding to bat after winning the toss.
But Sarwan and Cobb turned the game on its head with their magnificent stand spread across 60 overs. It was a record for the fourth wicket for Leicestershire against Essex, beating the previous best of 127 back in 1900.