Monday, 11 July 2016
The art of the red inker
Leicestershire 334 (Dexter 136, McKay 55, Cosgrove 54, Norwell 4-72) drew with Gloucestershire 403 for 2 dec (Dent 165, van Buuren 121*)
In a game against a division rival in good form and where the best part of two days are lost to rain, the trick is to try to secure maximum bonus points. This Gloucestershire achieved comfortably on the 4th day, as the previously tricky pitch flattened out and only 2 wickets fell while 334 runs were scored. Chris Dent scored a fine 165, taking his tally to 805 championship runs at almost 58, with three hundreds to go with his two white ball tons in the Royal London Cup (remember that one?).
Sadly this was not good enough form to get him into the England Lions squad, despite the fact that their game versus Pakistan A takes place during the Cheltenham Festival at a ground Dent knows very well. As we moaned in a recent tweet, could it be evidence of some mild selectorial bias against smaller Division 2 counties?
Another beneficiary of the benign batting conditions on the final day was Graeme 'Jacques' van Buuren, who emulated his illustrious compatriot Mr Kallis with a classic 4th innings 'red inker'. GvB has now struck a healthy 403 runs in just 6 championship innings and is averaging 100. He has also managed to score two unbeaten hundreds in those innings, hence the tasty average reminiscent of the great Jacques. To be more generous to GvB, he looks an attractive strokemaker (from the limited video highlights we've seen). He certainly takes a fierce toll on anything pitched too short and credit must go to the Glos management for identifying him as a potential signing given his recently-issued British passport.
Credit should also be given to the bowling attack, especially Liam Norwell who toiled away manfully in taking 4-72 from 32 over of hard graft against handy players like Neil Dexter and former Aussie (Kolpak?) Mark Cosgrove. Dexter struck 136 in a season which has revived his career after leaving Middlesex last season and along with Mark Pettini and Paul Horton has proved an excellent signing for Leicestershire who have been performing miles better this year than in recent seasons.
To conclude, a job well done in a game curtailed by bad weather which led in nicely to a series of 4 T20 games, 3 of which we've already recapped.
Day 4 highlights
Day 2 highlights
Day 1 highlights