Cricket: Bowlers on top as Leicestershire lead Kent

PUBLISHED: 18:54 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:54 20 August 2018

Kent's Joe Denly hits out (pic John Walton/PA)

Kent's Joe Denly hits out (pic John Walton/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Mohammad Abbas took 6-48, his best return for Leicestershire, as bowlers continued to hold the upper hand on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship match with promotion rivals Kent that ended very much in the balance at Grace Road.

The Pakistan international seamer, who was named man of the series after his country’s two Tests against England earlier this summer, took full advantage of the heavy cloud and used pitch to move the ball both in the air and off the seam, with only Joe Denly standing firm as visitors were bowled out for just 195 in their first innings.

Kent struck back strongly however, with Ivan Thomas taking 4-50 as the Foxes ended the day on 126-5, a lead of 151 with five second innings wickets in hand.

Resuming with Kent on 53-3, Denly and Sam Billings were made to work hard for their runs as the ball continued to swing and nip off the pitch.

Abbas had beaten Billings on numerous occasions before he found the edge of the Kent captain’s bat and Ned Eckersley held a outstanding low catch diving to his right behind the stumps.

Zak Crawley went the same way, feathering a thin edge off Abbas to give Eckersley a more comfortable catch and reduce the visitors to 100-5, but Denly was joined by debutant Ollie Robinson in building a substantial partnership for the sixth wicket, helped by frontline seamers Abbas and Ben Raine coming to the end of their spells.

Denly broke the shackles by hitting four boundaries in one over from Gavin Griffiths, bringing up his half-century with a fine straight drive to the rope off the same bowler, but Raine returned to the attack to pick up three quick wickets before lunch.

Robinson, on the back foot, edged an outswinger to Eckersley, and in the same over Darren Stevens glanced down the leg-side only for Eckersley to pull off another brilliant catch flinging himself to his left.

In the over before the break Denly, having battled his way to 62, missed a full in-swinger from Raine and was plumb leg before wicket.

Abbas returned after the break to bowl Harry Podmore off the inside edge before Grant Stewart was caught at cover driving.

Kent picked up an early wicket of their own when Horton was leg before to a Stewart in-swinger, but Dearden in particular was batting positively, and he and Colin Ackermann added 69 for Leicestershire’s second wicket before Ackermann went leg before to a Thomas delivery that seamed back in.

Mark Cosgrove, going through a bad patch by his high standards, nicked off to Thomas without scoring, and though Dearden passed 50, he lost two further partners, both to Thomas, as Ateeq Javid was caught down the legside by Billings and Eckersley fell leg before before rain and bad light saw play close 13 overs early.

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