Hosts fail to build on bowlers' good work
THE pitch inspector was a notable spectator at a gloomy St Helen's yesterday, as the wickets tumbled in the County Championship Division Two clash between Glamorgan and Leicestershire.
Led by Michael Hogan's five-wicket haul, the Welsh county had produced a fine bowling display to dismiss the visitors for 203 on the opening day in Swansea.
But Glamorgan were pegged back after tea, with the loss of three wickets reducing them to 36-3 at the close of play.
With 13 wickets falling on the first day, it will now be left to pitch inspector Tony Piggott to decide whether the hosts will be docked points for the St Helen's pitch.
It did not seem to be in bad nick when Leicestershire made a strident start to their innings after winning the toss.
They raced to 67-0 but Hogan and Dean Cosker took a wicket each in successive overs before Andrew Salter struck with his first ball in County Championship cricket.
After lunch, Hogan snaffled two wickets in three balls and then claimed his fourth scalp to reduce the away side to 137-6.
It was then left to Graham Wagg, Cosker, Salter and Hogan to share the remaining wickets and dismiss the visitors for a total which seemed well in reach for Glamorgan.
With the Swansea pitch traditionally one which wears and turns on the third and fourth day, Leicestershire chose to bat after winning the toss.
Glamorgan will have drawn some comfort, however, from the grey clouds looming menacingly overhead.
The overcast conditions seemed ideally suited to the hosts' seamers, with the likes of Hogan, Wagg and Jim Allenby swinging the ball threateningly.
The away side began strongly, scoring at more than four runs an over as they reached 67 without loss.
But then Hogan made the breakthrough, the Australian fast bowler trapping Greg Smith leg before for 40.
Glamorgan claimed a second wicket in the next over, with Niall O'Brien tamely chipping a Cosker delivery to Hogan at point for 29.
Then came Salter's memorable moment. The Ammanford off-spinner coaxed Shiv Thakor into an outside edge which was smartly caught by wicketkeeper and captain Mark Wallace, leaving Leicestershire 113-3 at lunch.
Hogan struck for the second time – and the 50th this season – when Ned Eckersley was out leg before after leaving a ball which jagged back in dramatically.
The Australian followed that up with a throat-high bouncer for Tom Wells's first ball, before trapping him leg before for a two-ball duck.
It was a fearsome spell from Hogan, and he picked off his fourth victim when he had Josh Cobb caught by Allenby at slip.
Wagg got in on the act for the seventh Leicestershire wicket, clean bowling Matthew Boyce as the hosts reached 181-7 at tea.
The visitors were scoring rather slowly at this point, owing much to Glamorgan's disciplined bowling, and Hogan deservedly claimed his five-for with the wicket of Ollie Freckingham.
It was then left to Salter and Cosker to claim the final two wickets, and the home seemed content as they trotted over to the pavilion with Leicestershire all out for 203.
After a short rain delay, Glamorgan emerged for their first innings and their glowing sense of positivity was soon tempered by an early breakthrough for the visitors.
Gareth Rees was the first to go, playing hesitantly at Freckingham, trying to pull out of a shot but faintly edging the ball to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien for six.
His fellow opener Will Bragg could only score one run more, and he was trapped leg before by Alex Wyatt to leave Glamorgan 21-2.
The third wicket was the worst of all for the hosts, Ben Wright wafting a flat bat at a wide Freckingham delivery and edging the ball to Smith at second slip for one.
That left Murray Goodwin and Chris Cooke together at the crease and, although the pair guided Glamorgan to 36-3 at the close, it was difficult to shake the feeling that the upper hand had been surrendered.