Lancashire’s bowlers took full advantage of a helpful pitch to leave Leicestershire’s cricketers still fighting to save the follow-on after a rain-shortened second day at Grace Road.
Only skipper Mark Cosgrove, who closed on 65 not out, passed 50 for the Foxes as the ball seamed and swung throughout an extended single session of 48 overs.
When play began at 3.30pm, Lancashire skipper Steven Croft, having resumed on 98 not out from his side’s overnight score of 356 for nine, reached his century with the 13th four of his innings before being caught at deep backward square by Rob Taylor off the bowling of Ben Raine.
Needing 219 to save the follow-on, Leicestershire made the worst possible start when opener Angus Robson was given out caught by Karl Brown at short-leg off the bowling of Kyle Jarvis. The young Australian made his disagreement at the decision uncomfortably apparent.
Ned Eckersley was then bowled by Tom Bailey, the tall young seamer bringing a delivery back into the right-hander and knocking his off-stump out of the ground.
Lewis Hill fought hard before receiving a ball from Jordan Clark which rose viciously from a length to take the edge, but Neil Pinner had less excuse for hanging his bat out at a Nathan Buck out-swinger as he was unfussily held by Croft at second slip.
Niall O’Brien joined Cosgrove in building a partnership of 59 for the Foxes’ fifth wicket. The Ireland international was dropped by both Ashwell Prince at third slip and Alex Davies behind the wicket, the latter a difficult chance diving away down the leg side, before Davies accepted a much simpler chance off Jarvis when O’Brien had reached 22.
At 137 for five Leicestershire were still 231 adrift, needing another 82 to save the follow-on. Cosgrove, having played and missed a number of times early in his innings, was beginning to play more fluently, hitting eight fours in going to his half-century.
Ben Raine gave him valuable support in a partnership of 51 for the sixth wicket, but in the penultimate over of the day the all-rounder chopped a short wide delivery from Buck - a former Leicestershire team-mate - into his stumps.
Seamer Buck said Lancashire were fortunate with their final score but he believes they should have bowled better after reducing their opponents to 195 for six, still 24 runs of saving the follow-on, at the end of the second day.
“We should have done a lot better on that wicket, we’re quite lucky to be where we are,” said Buck, a former Leicestershire player, after the ball seamed and swung throughout an extended single session of 48 overs