Kyle Hogg hailed an excellent all round performance with the ball from Lancashire today as Leicestershire were put under the cosh on day two at Grace Road, finishing on 127-7 in reply to 380 all out.
Hogg was one of three Red Rose bowlers to take two wickets, joining Glen Chapple and Simon Kerrigan, while the dangerous Tom Smith added the other wicket after getting arguably more bounce out of the pitch than any of his seam bowling colleagues.
The Foxes were hurt by the loss of three wickets quickly after lunch and two more in the last ten minutes of the day, and they now have a job on to prevent Lancashire from clinching a fourth win from five matches - maybe even inside three days.
Not even the loss of 13 overs due to an hour and a half of heavy rain hampered the Division Two leaders, who had earlier been bowled out for 380 a little over half an hour before lunch.
At 104-0 yesterday and then 303-5 at the start of play, you would have expected Lancashire to push on beyond 400 quite comfortably. But three wickets in four overs for fast bowler Ollie Freckingham meant they only got 380, including four batting bonus points.
Thankfully, it is likely that not getting a few more runs will not cost Lancashire.
“This morning we would have liked to have batted better than we did,” said Hogg, who struck with the late wicket of Tom Wells on the way to figures of 2-20 from 12 overs. “We still got 380 in the end, but we were looking to get around 450.
“It’s still a good wicket, but we bowled well. That’s reflected in the score at the end of the day.”
Lancashire came out and batted with real intent this morning, recovering from the loss of Smith with just the second ball of the day, caught at square-leg off Matthew Hoggard to leave the score at 303-6.
Luke Procter’s fluent 67 helped them reach 350 for a fourth batting point swiftly, but they lost four for 13 to slip from 367-6 as Freckingham finished with 4-85. Gareth Cross and Chapple both drive him to short extra cover.
“We thought if we could put a good score on the board quickly, it gives us more time to bowl at them. There’s maybe a bit of weather around Monday,” said Hogg.
“It’s the first time for a few games where everybody’s bowled well together when they’ve come on, and we’ve built pressure. The scoreboard goes nowhere, and you can pick up two or three wickets quickly.
“We’ve got to take nothing for granted. We’ve got to get three wickets quickly and get them back in and try and bowl well again.”
The start to Leicestershire’s innings was packed with incident. Michael Thornely was dropped twice in two balls in the slips off Chapple and Hogg before the latter had Greg Smith caught at second by Andrea Agathangelou.
Chapple and Smith then bowled 45 consecutive dots at Thornely and Ned Eckersley as the hosts were stuck on 33.
Thornely then edged Smith to Reece at a wide third slip to leave the score at 33-2, the first of three wickets to fall for 13. Eckersley was bowled by Chapple and Matt Boyce caught at short-leg by Agathangelou off Kerrigan in his second over.
Shiv Thakor (34) and Niall O’Brien, who has top-scored so far with 41, then shared 65 for fifth wicket to steady the ship either side of the rain break before O’Brien had a rush of blood and drove expansively at Chapple coming round the wicket. He got an inside edge and saw his timber disturbed.
Thakor, who had played patiently, then edged Kerrigan behind in the 59th over before Wells was trapped lbw by Hogg in the next, the day’s penultimate. Leicester still need 104 to avoid the follow-on.
Picture (c) Simon Pendrigh