County Championship: Essex hit Leicestershire late on
Last Updated: 22/06/13 11:02am
Two late wickets saw Essex reduce Leicestershire to 268-7 at the close on day one of their County Championship Division Two match.
After their all-time low score of 20 in their previous game against Lancashire a week ago, the visitors must have been relieved not to have been put into bat when bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire won the toss at Grace Road.
There was plenty of cloud cover to encourage the bowlers and all the Essex seamers troubled the batsmen, even though Niall O'Brien and Greg Smith shared an opening partnership of 58. They both rode their luck at times but also produced some excellent attacking shots when given the opportunity.
O'Brien hit Graham Napier for three successive fours but Smith was trapped lbw by Ryan ten Doeschate for 27.
Ned Eckersley looked in good touch until edging behind off David Masters to depart for 21 before O'Brien, having reached 50 off 143 balls with 10 fours, became Napier's first victim, given lbw playing across the line for 67 - his championship best for Leicestershire.
Joe Burns was next to go for 26 after he was caught at slip off Napier and Matt Boyce was out lbw to the same bowler, leaving Leicestershire rocking on 189-5.
But Shiv Thakor and Michael Thornely (37no) steadied the ship and at 253-5, they appeared set to at least reach the 300 mark and pick up three welcome bonus batting points.
But the hosts were hit by the loss of two late wickets. First, with four overs remaining, Thakor was run out for 54 by Jaik Mickleburgh's throw from cover to end a stand of 64 with Thornely.
Then in the next over, Jigar Naik was caught and bowled for a duck by Napier, who was the pick of Essex's bowling attack and finished with 4-78 in 25 hostile overs.