County go down tamely after final day collapse
Leicestershire crashed to their first home defeat of the season in the Championship yesterday as they were soundly beaten by Kent.
Set the challenge of scoring 283 to win in a minimum of 68 overs, County subsided tamely, dismissed for 135 with 18.1 overs of the final day remaining to give the promotion-hunting visitors a comfortable 147-run win.
When Leicestershire resumed their first innings on 171-3 at the start of the day, it was not apparent that any agreement had been reached by the sides in an attempt to force a result given the amount of time lost to the weather.
But when Leicestershire declared after just one ball had been bowled, it quickly became evident that there would be a target for them to chase through the final two sessions.
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Subsequently, Kent eased to 103-2 in their second innings before declaring and the scene was set for County to go about chasing down 283 in a bid to complete back-to-back wins.
But by the first over after lunch that had begun to look a forlorn task.
The initial goal for County was to reach the interval without any losses. Unfortunately, both openers Michael Thornely and Will Jones had been removed inside four overs by the Kent new-ball attack of Charlie Shreck and Mark Davies.
Lunch was taken at 12-2 and when that became 13-3 immediately after the break with the removal of Ned Eckersley, Leicestershire's victory hopes were looking slim to say the least.
The target was far from unattainable but, if they were to get there, County needed solid foundations on which to build. They did not lay them with too many early wickets shed. That has been a recurring theme throughout the year and an area Leicestershire need to seriously address before the start of the 2013 campaign.
There were signs of fight from Matthew Boyce and Josh Cobb as they cautiously went about the business of repairing the early damage.
They added 35 in 17 overs before the latter fell lbw to Darren Stevens for 21, the start of a spell in which the former County favourite would wreak havoc on the home batting.
In 14 overs, he dismantled County's middle-order posting figures of 5-35 with his accurate medium pace bowling.
None of County's batsmen could find an answer to Stevens' consistency and, as a result, wickets continued to tumble through the afternoon.
When Boyce was caught at midwicket for a dogged 23 from 80 balls, Leicestershire were just about down and out as they wobbled to tea at 94-7.
Jigar Naik, in his first Championship game of the season, did his best to hold up Kent's victory charge, Matthew Hoggard giving determined support for 13 overs as the ninth-wicket pair added 38 runs.
Naik ultimately fell lbw to Davies for a top score of 33 and, when last man Alex Wyatt fended Shreck to short leg in the 50th over, Leicestershire were out for the count.