Gloucestershire 159 and 179 for 8 (Scriven 3-43) lead Leicestershire 204 (Patel 73, Akhter 4-46) by 134 runs
Leicestershire held, lost and then regained the upper hand over Gloucestershire on an eventful second day of their fast-moving LV=Insurance County Championship match, which ended with the home side eyeing up a win inside three days as they seek to strengthen their promotion challenge.
Leicestershire’s collapse, from 56 behind overnight with eight wickets in hand, was all the more surprising after they had achieved the day’s first objective by negotiating the first hour without too many alarms.
It all changed following a stunning catch by second slip Ollie Price. His one-handed grab as a loose Colin Ackermann drive flew hard off the outside edge precipitated the loss of three Leicestershire wickets for no runs in 11 balls.
Rishi Patel, top scorer with 73, became Luke Charlesworth’s maiden first-class victim, hanging his bat out at one that swung away, the 20-year-old right-armer’s older brother, Ben, taking the catch at first slip. Umar Amin’s debut lasted four balls, ending with an expansive drive edged to second slip.
Louis Kimber was the fourth casualty of the morning, beaten past the outside of the bat by Dom Goodman two overs before lunch, before another cluster of wickets soon after the interval – four in 14 balls – completed Leicestershire’s spiral from 150 for two to 204 all out.
Charlesworth capped a memorable debut by dismissing Leicestershire debutant Ben Cox leg before and then had Matt Salisbury caught behind, either side of two wickets in two balls from Zaman – another of the rookies in this Gloucestershire side – who will be on a hat-trick when he bowls in the second innings, after Wiaan Mulder was caught on the hook and Chris Wright bowled first ball.
Although to a degree Leicestershire had been the architects of their own demise, what had been prepared as a result pitch continued to aid those deliveries that landed in the right place, as Gloucestershire discovered as they set about overhauling the home side’s modest 45-run advantage, quickly losing their first two second innings wickets.
Wright, whose six-over burst with the new ball conceded just one run, struck first as Chris Dent got an inside edge on to his stumps. Mulder appealed for caught behind off a thin edge against Ollie Price before realising he’d actually dislodged the off bail.
A period of relative prosperity for the visitors followed, Ben Charlesworth and Hammond dominant for a while in adding 70 in 13 overs for the third wicket, with change bowlers Scriven and Salisbury somewhat easier to get away than they had been on day one.
It was the introduction of Ackermann to bowl the first spin of the match that checked their progress as Charlesworth, attempting to repeat a previous boundary hit over the top, skewed the ball to backward point.
At 95 for three at tea, 50 in front, there was still potential for Gloucestershire to establish a lead that might set a test for Leicestershire in the fourth innings but the return of Wright and Mulder after tea made that less likely.
Mulder squeezed one between a defensive bat and pad to trap Hammond in front before Wright did for Tector with one that kept a shade low, after which Salisbury and Scriven delivered simultaneous spells of outstanding accuracy that saw just nine runs added in 10 overs, the rewards for pressure going to Scriven, who had James Bracey and Shaw caught behind and Zafar Gohar taken at slip.