Croft boosts Lancs with big knock

Croft - close to a ton
Croft - close to a ton
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Captain Steven Croft was unbeaten on 98 as Lancashire picked up four batting bonus points after being put in to bat by Leicestershire on a green pitch at Grace Road.

It was a fine effort by the Division Two leaders, though Leicestershire did not help their cause by dropping four slip catches.

Opener Karl Brown was on 21 when he edged Clint McKay to wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien, a delivery which held up off the seam, and O’Brien also made no mistake when Alviro Petersen wafted at a Tom Wells delivery that lifted outside off-stump.

But Paul Horton, who battled his way to 36 not out at lunch, was badly missed by Leicestershire captain Mark Cosgrove on 20 before Rob Taylor, who replaced Cosgrove at first slip, twice failed to hold relatively straightforward chances offered by Ashwell Prince on six and 11.

Horton and Prince came into the game as Lancashire’s top-scorers in the championship this season and bowler Ben Raine, who has had numerous chances dropped off his bowling this season, was understandably dismayed.

Horton and Prince took the visitors’ score on to 156 before Horton, on 70, drove loosely at a wide delivery from Wells and edged a catch behind to O’Brien, and two more wickets fell on the same score.

Prince, having survived two leg before shouts on 29, did not survive a third, Charlie Shreck swinging the ball back into the left-hander to win the decision from umpire Martin Bodenham.

Shreck then produced a fine delivery which left Alex Davies, took the edge and was caught by O’Brien.

Jordan Clark joined Croft and despite being hit painfully by a McKay delivery, took the attack back to the Foxes, hitting eight fours in going to tea on 42 not out.

He fell to the second ball after the resumption, though, driving airily at a wide delivery from Wells and giving O’Brien his fifth catch of the innings.

Nathan Buck, who left Leicestershire for Lancashire at the end of last season, gave his captain solid support with 25 - though he too was dropped by Taylor - before the Foxes finally held a catch at first slip, Angus Robson taking the edge off McKay.

With Croft drawing in on three figures, Simon Kerrigan went in the final over, edging Shreck to Ned Eckersley at third slip.