Hants struggle at lowly Leicestershire

SEAN ERVINE

SEAN ERVINE

First published in Sport

HAMPSHIRE’S promotion credentials were put to the test as bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire continued to turn the form book upside down at Grace Road.

Leicestershire captain Matthew Hoggard (4-27), Alex Wyatt (3-35) and Wayne White (3-45) bowled Hampshire out for just 181 - a first-innings deficit of 175 runs.

By the close of day two, Leicestershire had increased their lead to 243, reaching 68-2 in their second innings.

Sean Ervine top scored for Hampshire with an unbeaten 58, while David Balcombe hit 31 in a ninth-wicket stand of 50 - the biggest of the innings.

It had taken Hampshire just over five overs to wrap up Leicestershire’s first innings, with James Tomlinson taking both wickets to finish with 5-69 – his best figures for two years.

Tomlinson yorked Hoggard and had Wyatt caught behind as the home side finished on 356, with teenager Shiv Thakor left unbeaten on a Championship-best 85.

Leicestershire took full advantage of a helpful pitch as Hampshire were all out in 57 overs.

It was only Ervine's gritty effort and his partnership with Balcombe that prevented a complete rout.

Hampshire lost their first five wickets for 99 runs in 34 overs, with Katich going for a duck courtesy of a stunning catch at cover by Thakor.

Hoggard had Michael Carberry lbw offering no shot and uprooted Jimmy Adams’ middle stump with a fine inswinger.

After Dawson departed, White claimed 3-14 in 25 balls. Michael Bates and Chris Wood both went without scoring before Kabir Ali was bowled off an inside edge.

But Balcombe and Ervine restored some pride before former England international Hoggard (4-27) snapped up the last two wickets following a rain interruption.

Instead of enforcing the follow on, Leicestershire extended their already sizeable lead.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ned Eckersley responded positively to an early wicket apiece for Tomlinson and Balcombe by adding 45 before the close

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